The Mileburne Restaurant, Melbourne, Derbyshire Restaurant Review
Our restaurant critic dines at a bijou establishment with big ideas
Melbourne, in the south of the county, is one of the nicest towns you could wish for. On the corner of an interestingly narrow street off the main Derby"Road, the glint of glassware and the gleam of cutlery can be glimpsed through softly glowing windows. This is the Mileburne Restaurant, where I’d been invited to dine with my daughter.
We pushed open the door, not entirely certain we hadn’t mistakenly walked into someone’s hallway. But almost immediately we were greeted by the welcoming smile of Rebecca Dann, who showed us into a cosy dining room with the warmth from a neat stove melting away any remnants of the miserable February evening outside.
THE RESTAURANTThe room was certainly intimate, with just five tables immaculately dressed with white linen and sparkling tableware. A dark wooden floor contrasted beautifully with soft green walls, and there were opulently draped curtains at the windows, giving the feel of an Edwardian parlour – the perfect setting for an indulgent meal. Two other tables were occupied, not bad for mid-week at the worst time of the year. Rebecca brought us drinks and menus and with a happy sigh we sat back to ponder.
THE MENUFittingly, the menu was also small – a set menu is offered on Mondays to Thursdays (at �17 for three courses), with an � la carte choice on Fridays and Saturdays – which came as quite a relief, as too much choice is sometimes rather daunting. There were four dishes offered for each course: starters were roast tomato soup; Gressingham duck liver p�t�, with plum chutney and toast; baked goat’s cheese on crumpet, served with poached pear and walnut salad; and Aylesbury smoked eel, celeriac slaw, baby beetroot and crispy quail’s eggs – a nice range of fish, meat and vegetarian dishes. Main courses were equally varied, starting with braised ox cheek from Field Farm, Worthington, with leek mash and ox tongue, ranging through pan roast Cornish pollack fillet, with cauliflower risotto, chorizo and Riesling butter sauce; Jerusalem artichoke and potato r�sti with roast mushroom salad and truffle oil, to local wild rabbit and ham hock pie, this time served with crushed green peas and sea salt roast potatoes. Desserts listed a classic spotted Dick and custard, white chocolate Cambridge burnt cream (the original version was hijacked by the French to become cr�me brul�e) with raspberry oat cakes, and a warm treacle tart with raspberry and cherry comp�te and Jersey milk ice cream. There was also an English cheese board with quince jelly and wafers. During the inevitable indecision we each enjoyed a glass of fine house wine, a Chilean sauvignon blanc for my daughter and a vanilla-infused merlot from the same vineyard for me, from a wine list that visited each corner of the world.
THE FOODStarters arrived promptly with the efficient Rebecca. My daughter’s duck liver p�t� came as a neat pink cube, the tangy ruby coloured chutney spiking the creamy meat, and with two evenly-browned slices of crustless toast. I had the smoked eel, a tender and delicate piece of fish sitting on a little pile of celeriac slaw and surrounded by baby beetroots and quail’s eggs, thinly crisp on the outside and just cooked within.
I could tell my braised ox cheek was on the way before it appeared. The aroma wafting from the dark, rich meat arrived before the dish, full of body and the anticipation of satisfaction. Leek and potato mash, tiled with a little slice of ox tongue, was the perfect vehicle for the gravy, while Riesling butter sauce, dotted with salty chorizo was the ideal counterpoint to my daughter’s pan roast pollack. The cauliflower risotto on which it sat had bite – and more flavour than you’d expect for such delicate ingredients and also helped mop up the delicious sauce. The dishes were served with ‘a handful of vegetables’, produced just up the road by local grower, Richard Jackson.
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Satisfaction levels high, it was time for pud. I’d chosen the warm treacle tart. Served with a juicy gloop of cherries and raspberries to complement the treacly sweetness, it was cooled with a scoop of Jersey milk ice cream. My daughter’s white chocolate burnt cream was topped with a golden crust of the perfect cracking texture and served with crumbly and tangy raspberry oat cakes.
THE CHEFWhile enjoying our coffee, Rebecca and owner/chef and partner Andrew came to chat. The passion that drives Andrew was immediately obvious: the pursuit of freshness, flavour and texture, combined with a love of the nostalgic tastes of childhood and a commendable desire to use every part of every ingredient possible – and to source it all as locally as possible. Rebecca, who has a day job of her own, supports Andrew’s philosophy wholeheartedly and adds charm and energy to the mix.
The Mileburne Restaurant2 Blanch Croft, Melbourne DE73 8GGTel: 01332 01332 864170