Eat My Words: We review Milly’s Bistro at William Cecil Hotel in Stamford
Who doesn’t love a Sunday roast?
I certainly do, so when I was invited to try the roast at Milly’s Bistro at the William Cecil Hotel in Stamford I absolutely snatched their hand off.
Even better than the invite alone was that it landed on a Sunday my in-laws were due to visit, so me and my husband Richard could call off the search for somewhere suitable to take them, and my husband was given a free pass out of a morning spent slaving over the oven (I am no whizz in the kitchen!).
Milly’s Bistro has recently launched Sunday jazz sessions, with the Jonny Kerry Trio booked to perform every Sunday until the end of February.
Upon entering the warm and cosy dining room, we spotted the trio in the window as we were shown to our table at the far end.
Although beautifully performed, at first the music did seem a bit too loud for an intimate dining room with a maximum of 10 tables but we soon adjusted our chatter as we perused the menu.
Our drinks were quickly delivered and the waitress brought a bottle of water.
Eyeing up the size of the portions as roasts were delivered to neighbouring tables, we opted against a starter – although Richard was tempted by one of the small plates.
The roast, when it was delivered, felt like an occasion. There was a pile of roast potatoes, Yorkshire puddings and meat delivered on a platter to divide up among ourselves, with sauces, a big helping of cauliflower cheese and crushed carrot and swede following in copper tins. One small suggestion would be that serving spoons should accompany this platter but, having not had a starter, we had four spare forks.
I had opted for the slow roast shoulder of Abbe Kettleby lamb but when I saw the beautifully rare beef my mother and father-in-law had ordered, I have to confess to being a bit sad I’d not ordered that myself. It was so rare that it might not have been to everyone’s taste but they polished their meat off.
My lamb, though, was beautiful despite being ever so slightly overcooked.
An unexpected delight of the meal was the addition of a pig in blanket – this was not the mini variety and was beautifully herby. It wasn’t mentioned on the menu so consider this a spoiler alert. The cauliflower cheese was also spectacular and, if I had to guess, I would say there was more than one variety of cheese inside.
The highlight of the meal for me was the Yorkshire pudding, which was stuffed with braised beef. I know Yorkshire puddings can be controversial – some believe it should only be served with beef but, to me, it can go with anything. I am horrified if I get a roast with no Yorkshire pudding and I will often ask for more than one if it’s the Aunt Bessie variety – ie a bit on the small side. But this Yorkshire pudding was next level – huge and absolutely stuffed with beautifully cooked beef. I’ve never had one quite like it. The gravy to top the entire dish was also amazing.
The platter was more than enough for the four of us and a bit of cabbage, a spoonful of the crushed carrot and swede and a couple of roasties regrettably headed back to the kitchen.
Much like the Yorkshire pudding, I was stuffed but having already looked at the dessert menu and been tempted by all the desserts on offer (I don’t so much have a sweet tooth but a mouth full of sweet teeth), I was determined to squeeze one in. I selected the classic apple tarte tatin with vanilla ice cream. The menu warned to allow 20 minutes, which was the perfect amount of time to enjoy a latte and let my roast settle. Both my husband and his dad selected cheese – to me, this is not a dessert but something that follows – and my mother-in-law just couldn’t squeeze a pudding in (although she did look longingly at mine!)
Well this apple tarte tatin was perfectly sized and perfectly formed, with delicious caramel adding to the soft pastry and warming fruit. My husband’s cheese was a generous size with crackers, chutney, celery and grapes, and even a little Eccles cake. While I can guarantee to have my head turned by a dessert, Richard’s downfall is cheese and I could tell how much he was enjoying it when I asked for a taste of the Baron Bigod – a type of brie – and was a piece smaller than my little fingernail!
As we left at the end of the meal, a friend on a neighbouring table declared this Sunday roast the best they had ever had. Well, my apple tarte tatin was definitely the best I’ve had and the roast was up there. The next time we’ve got a lazy Sunday planned, we’ll definitely be heading to Milly’s Bistro – if only so I can sample the beef for myself.
Out of five:
Food: Absolutely beautiful with a Yorkshire pudding to die for. No complaints *****
Drink: I stuck to Elderflower tonic, followed by a latte (with a biscotti) but both the red and rose wines went down a treat, and the menu was extensive. I quite fancy a candy floss royale cocktail next time ****
Decor: An intimate dining room that was tastefully decorated and the jazz music added to the atmosphere. The car park could be slightly bigger as we struggled to find a space at first ****
Staff: All the staff were polite and helpful, although as the restaurant got busier, it took a little while for our plates to be cleared and our dessert order taken ***
Price: As we were invited, our meal was complimentary but two courses cost £27 or the price is £31 for three courses – with a £5 supplement if you order the cheese for dessert. This was fantastic value for the quality of food and I’d have happily paid it ****
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