Found in the picturesque Rutland village of Oakham is newly opened Mill Street Pub & Kitchen. With a rustic exterior, fitting of Oakham's charm, the inside has been tastefully refurbished with contemporary finishes. Old meets new with grand chandeliers, countryside checks, oak furniture and plush quilted seating. The bar and restaurant has been take over by the EPIC group, to serve up seasonal menus, classy cocktails, local cask ales and Sunday lunch. They have seven newly decorated rooms upstairs too, making Mill Street the ideal location for dining, drinking and staying in the centre of Rutland.
We stayed in room 7, which was decorated in a monochrome theme with wood and metal finishes. Quirky and contemporary table lamps and mirrors were met with airy plants and crisp white linen. The room rates start at £90 a night on week days and £130 on weekends, based on two people sharing and including breakfast. Dogs are welcome too, with a £10 supplement on the room rate.
The bedroom was spotless and instantly felt comfy and welcoming. Little touches such as USB power sockets, a coffee machine and heated towel rail made the stay that extra bit special. I particularly loved the white tiled bathroom; complete with Elemis products and extra fluffy towels.
The restaurant continued the old meets new vibe, with white brick walls, solid wood tables and fresh flowers in jars. The main restaurant has a glass roof which, by daylight, lets the sun stream through and create a light and airy atmosphere. On the other hand, it was lovely to enjoy a post-meal gin in the snug surrounded by low candles.
And so onto the food. For starters we went for Gin Cured Rutland Water Trout (£6.50) and Salt & Pink Peppercorn Cornish Squid (£8.25). The squid was satisfyingly crispy and well balanced against the oyster mayonnaise and sea herbs. A good example of calamari executed well.
My finely sliced gin cured fish came with beetroot remoulade and horseradish mousse, always winning flavours alongside the likes of salmon and trout. It had an inviting Scandinavian quality and whet my appetite for my seafood main. I especially liked that the water trout hailed from Rutland, keeping the menu as locally sourced as possible.
For second course, we opted for Pan Fried Scottish Hake (£16.75) and the 8oz Dry Aged Peak District Sirloin Steak (£22). Again locally sourced, the steak came with vine tomatoes, sea salt chips, crispy shallots, watercress and a choice of either Stilton butter or peppercorn sauce. The hake on the other hand came on a chorizo and borlotti bean stew before being adorned with samphire and mussels.
The steak, ordered medium-rare, had been beautifully chargrilled and well rested. It was just the right shade of pink without any blood hitting the plate, and the peppercorn sauce was a deliciously creamy addition. My hake has been pan fried until flaky with an appetising crispy skin. There were some great textures going on, with a slightly smokiness from the stew meeting the salty samphire. A really good dish which I would devour again.
With lots of vegetarian and gluten free options, Pumpkin & Parmesan Gnocchi, Whipped Melton Mowbray Stilton and Grilled Whole Brixham Plaice were also on the menu. Whilst specials on the day included Duck Breast with Sweet Potato Fondant, Shepherd's Pie Croquettes and Monkfish Tail with Rhubarb, Mussels and Smoked Bacon Crisps.
To finish we opted for Dark Chocolate Mousse (£6.50) and Piña Colada Trifle (£6). Not really a fan of fruity desserts, I found it hard to pick on this one. My dark chocolate mousse came with a white chocolate foam and blood orange sorbet.
The mousse itself was delicious and admittedly the flavours married so well; a rich and slightly bitter chocolate with a sweet foam and tang of orange. Sadly though I found myself delving into the chocolate and not finishing the orange part. The trifle, which came with coconut shortbread, went down really well. An excellent twist on a classic. Although tasty, there was probably a little too much shortbread here for the dish.
We then went off to explore the charming country pubs of Oakham; with The Lord Nelson, The Admiral Hornblower and Wheatsheaf at the top of my recommendations. The Wetherspoons, Captain Noel Newton, has been really nicely done out too, and of course serves up my favourite Hendricks with cucumber. The bar at Mill Street is also definitely worth a visit, with an extensive gin menu and local beers.
For breakfast we sat in the same spot, with lots of light coming through from the ceiling. (A food blogger's dream). There's lots of choose from on the menu, with your usual English breakfast right through to Belgian waffles with bacon and maple syrup and avocado on toast. (Another food blogger's dream).
We went for the Eggs Royale (£7) and the Full Monty (£9), which comes with a choice of eggs. If you're staying for B&B though, these prices are obviously not added on.
As you can see, the full breakfast comes with crispy bacon, sausages and black pudding with mushrooms, beans, tomato and toast. I'm not sure there was anything missed out? My dining partner went with scrambled eggs, which were really creamy and fresh. I predictably went for the classic trio of oak smoked salmon, poached eggs and hollandaise sauce. The eggs were pleasingly running and I loved the lemony flavour of the homemade hollandaise. A top breakfast all round!
6 Mill Street
We dined and stayed as guests of Mill Street. All words, photography and opinions my own.