The next venue in Blog Preston’s series of reviews of eateries offering al fresco dining is The Mill Cafe in Lostock Hall, situated in the beautiful grounds of St Catherine’s Hospice.Advertisement
My friend Pauline and I had booked a table in advance, which was a wise move as most of the tables inside and out were occupied, and we were welcomed and seated swiftly.
The diverse menu offered enough choices to please every taste so after a little pondering Pauline ordered the Watermelon, Tomato and Feta Salad which arrived in good time.
The big chunks of fruit were a perfect choice for warm weather, with the Feta and a balsamic dressing complementing them wonderfully. Tomato fans would be in their elements as there was every different kind and colour on the plate, though personally I would have liked fewer tomatoes and the amount of melon and feta to be greater. It was a starter portion or could have been a light lunch with the addition of some couscous or a roll.
Pauline was happy with the portion, although she let slip later that she’d had a scone before we came out, in blatant disregard of the rule of dinner before pudding.
I ordered a Coronation Chicken Sandwich which came with a small side salad, crisps and a scoop of coleslaw. I also added a side order of Cajun Wedges and pretended that I intended to share them with Pauline.
A dish of chicken in a mild curried mayonnaise was served to Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation so it seemed appropriate as the platinum anniversary of her reign is almost upon us. Google says it was invented by Constance Spry, an English food writer and flower arranger. It’s surprising that someone with a name like that would be encouraging anyone to eat creamy mayonnaise instead of making them run ten miles around a wintery field in gym knickers, but there you go.
Fortunately for the UK, the mayonnaise in the dish proved a great way to Trojan Horse some curry spices into a traditional English diet of grey stuff and sadness without startling us, and 50 years on we as a nation love all things spicy. Good old Constance Spry!
It was an excellent sandwich with a good amount of filling, and I was happy to see that the chef wasn’t one of those loose cannons who indiscriminately shove a generic salad on to every sandwich without considering whether the components go well with what’s inside.
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I picked out the onions and cucumber from the side salad and left the rest of the fruit and vegetables to slowly realize they’re unpopular, like in an 80s PE class. Evil Parallel Universe Constance would have approved.
The Cajun Wedges went perfectly with my sandwich, and they were such whoppers that I didn’t even have to pretend I was okay sharing them.
After our mains, Pauline found a loophole that negated the dinner before pudding rule by ordering a Banoffee Tart and a coffee. She’d never had Banoffee Tart before but is now a firm convert.
I chose a Jaffa Cake gateaux which tasted exactly as described. I love Jaffa Cakes and they’re only 46 calories, so it was nice to think to myself ‘you’ve only had one slice of cake’ rather than, ‘you’ve just eaten an entire packet of Jaffa cakes, again. You didn’t even want the last three, you just couldn’t be bothered putting them back in the cupboard and you didn’t want the dog to get a taste for them’.
The Mill at St Catherine’s Hospice is a lovely place to sit inside or outside and have a meal or a coffee. It’s closed in the evenings apart from the occasional special theme night and private functions, but anyone wanting a restaurant quality lunch with excellent service, friendly staff, an interesting menu, seasonal and local food and a relaxing environment should give The Mill a try.
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Do you still resent your PE teacher for making you do “cross-country?” Have a good rant about them in the comments