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Restaurant The Mill at Rode


DERI ROBINS finds there’s no trouble at ‘Mill; just good, well-priced food served with flair and charm


U


nlike many places with ‘mill’ in their name, the Mill at Rode really is as mill-like as you’d hope. There’s a mill stream, and a mill race – which passes


directly under the restaurant – as well as all the cogs, wheels, pulleys and pinions that kept the whole thing turning. If you like a soupçon of industrial history served with your soup, The Mill is definitely the place for you. Inside the old stone building we found


a comfy, simply furnished restaurant, and a bar in which the locals were sorting out the problems of the world over pints of Butcombe. Outside, on the substantial terrace, a few hardy couples were braving the elements for the sake of the view across the gardens and meadows; the wooden playground is a big bonus for parents during summer lunchtimes, as fidgety small diners can be dispatched to play here in full view. Seen, but mercifully not heard. We ended up enjoying a twin-centre


meal. We took our starters al fresco, tilting our faces up in worshipful fashion towards the dying rays of evening light, but an early- evening drizzle eventually drove us indoors – most reluctantly, as the patio heaters had kept us beautifully toasty, and we were


I’d decided on the gnocchi for mains.


This dish, in mediocre hands, can become relentlessly samey after a few mouthfuls; the Mill served theirs with a mix of fresh and sunblush tomatoes, spinach, roast garlic and mixed beans, so it held the interest. Personally I prefer my gnocchi to have a roasted, almost chewy texture, and the offering of freshly grated parmesan at the table might have made it even better, but it was still a flavoursome dish. Ice-cream always seems a relatively light


option for pudding, and you can’t go wrong with a trio of Marshfield scoops and two spoons. There was little to choose between the chocolate fudge brownie, honeycomb and the raspberry Pavlova, though if I was forced at gunpoint to select just one to eat for the rest of my life, I’d major on the honeycomb. As we left, the public bar was still going


costs a mere £11. Your Man began his meal with a simple


“The food at the Mill is pleasingly in sync with the surroundings”


enjoying the birdsong and the antics of the rooks. The food at the Mill is pleasingly in


sync with the surroundings. The cuisine could best be described as rustic, mixing standards – fish and chips, steaks – with those involving a more innovative spin. It’s all well-priced; a pork, cider and fennel short crust pastry pie with veg, for example,


54 Bath Life www.mediaclash.co.uk


plate of bread and olives. Frankly, that’s a pre-starter in my book. But the olives were fat and Greek and came from Kalamata, the dunking offering was Fussels oil and sticky balsamic, and the bread was from local food heroes Hobbs House. Rode: where Somerset meets the Med. I still maintain that I fared


better. Chef and manager Mark Warrener cooks a standout, magnificently herby baked camembert, and serves it with cranberry jam and a little pile of roasted nut crumbs on the side.


Surely this is the grown-up sister to boiled egg and soldiers, I reflected, dunking my grilled Hobbs House fig and walnut bread into the pleasingly molten, gooey interior. Your Man’s main course saw generous


fillets of well-cooked salmon and hake served in a capery butter that offered just enough piquancy for enlivenment without swamping the delicate flavour of the fish.


strong; sadly, the problems of the world had still not been solved. Despite this, myself and Your Man were considerably mellowed and cheered by our evening at The Mill, and while being unable to offer any specific solutions to the pressing issues of the day, left feeling better about life in general. BL


Visiting details


Opening hours: Monday - Saturday 11am - 11pm; Sunday: 12.00pm - 10.30pm We went: Wednesday evening Atmosphere: A nice mixture between pub and bistro Service: friendly, informal Prices: starters from £6; main courses £10-£12; desserts £3-£6 Vegetarian choice: very good; out of the seven main courses, three are vegetarian Drinks: A wide choice, very reasonably priced, ranging from a dry Italian Parini Trebbiano del Rubicone for £15.95, to a Château des Bardes, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru for £32.50 Are children welcome: Yes, there are dedicated play areas and play rooms specially for the kids


The Mill, Rode, Frome, Somerset, BA11 6AG; 01373 831100; www.mill.butcombe.com


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