The Millstone

I first went to the The Millstone about four or five years ago and for some reason have never managed to get back even though the meal I had there that day was very enjoyable. We booked our table for 8.00pm and when we arrived the restaurant was almost completely full; the waiter showed us to our table which was quite near the pass so we could see all the food going out and it looked impressive.

On first browsing the menu I was a little underwhelmed because all I could see was steaks, pizzas and fairly uninspired staples like lasagne; thankfully, when I reached the last page I saw their traditional Irish menu (it also functioned as the early bird) and it had some much better choices so we both decided to go with this.

For starters, I chose the steamed mussels: it was generously portioned and accompanied by a wonderfully fragrant tomato and tarragon sauce and piece of crusty bread to mop it all up when you were finished extracting the mussels. My wife ordered the sautéed mushrooms with Cooleeney cheese and truffle oil which was also very good, the cheese had melted to a lovely gooey consistency and the sweetness of some roasted garlic was a nice counterpoint to the earthier flavours on the plate.

I decided on the slow roasted lamb belly for my main course the minute I saw it on the menu as I think it’s a really under-rated cut of meat: it didn’t disappoint with a good ratio of meat to fat (sometimes a problem with lamb belly) and an intense, rich sauce made from the braising liquid. My wife’s choice was the panfried Saddleback pork loin stuffed with Tournafulla black pudding and also featured two sauces for some reason: a cider jus and a strong horseradish cream that I thought overpowered the rest of the dish and could easily have been dropped as everything worked together well without it.

The choice of desserts unfortunately was pretty uninspring so we didn’t bother getting anything to finish. For drinks I had a glass of Barton & Guestie Fleur De Vigne, Ugni Blanc/Colombard to accompany the shellfish, a nice fresh white with good acidity to cope with the saltiness of the mussels. I moved onto the Hillstowe Old Well Shiraz for the lamb which was a typical big New World red that could stand up to large flavours of the meat and its sauce. Service was efficient and unobtrusive and as the set menu only cost €17.95 each the bill came to under under €50.

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