Friday, 21 January 2022

Theatre welcomes new executive chef

Theatre welcomes new executive chef

IT was while driving along on a cold late Monday evening that I heard Heart FM presenter Luke Smith raving about the Mill at Sonning.

Having just been named the UK’s most welcoming theatre for the third year running, where better to enjoy a spot of lunch than the Mill at Sonning, I thought.

The Mill is known by locals as a dinner theatre, but what many people may not know is that they also boast a delicious daytime lunch menu.

There’s no need to book in advance — simply turn up between noon and 4pm, Tuesday to Sunday. It really couldn’t be any more simple.

Situated in a beautiful and unique location in Sonning Eye, the venue has undergone an enormous refurbishment in the past two years — with apparently many exciting changes still to come.

As part of this, managing director Sally Hughes has employed a new executive chef, Kieron Daniels. He has already transformed both the show menus (enjoyed as part of the dinner theatre ticket experience) and also the daytime Waterwheel Bar menu.

The Mill has changed from serving up hot bar food snacks such as sausage rolls and samosas in the day, to a truly mouth-watering range of hot meals, including fish and chips (popular with the legendary Brian Blessed) and steak sandwich with smoked cheddar and roast red onions, available in both a small and large size. I had these and they were unbelievably delicious and filling.

If you’re still dithering as to whether to visit, you might like to know that Kieron has a wealth of culinary experience at both national and local levels, having worked with chefs Paul Gayler, Raymond Blanc and Ian Donald. His vision is to make the Mill’s Waterwheel Bar a destination place for lunch, afternoon teas and private events.

But that’s not all. Kieron has even launched a new catering service called “Mill at Home”. So now you can enjoy the new, upgraded dining experience from your bar or restaurant table at The Mill — or you can get Kieron and his team of chefs to cook you dinner party meals to indulge in at home. Now there’s an idea!

Back to the food. Two of the Mill’s most famous dishes — steak and ale pie and bread and butter pudding — can be ordered by calling the very lovely Vanessa and Amy on 0118 969 6039. You can wow your dinner party guests with dishes such as beef Wellington, venison casserole, salmon en croute, lamb tagine, Kerala fish curry with saffron rice, red pepper and butternut tagine, a selection of Lebanese-style salads and, for Christmas, a whole honey roast gammon. For those with a sweet tooth, he can also make possets, brownies, chocolate tart, sticky toffee pudding and baked vanilla cheesecake. Quite a selection!

All at the Mill have really worked hard to upgrade the dining experience — and if it’s good enough for Brian Blessed then it’s good enough for us! The fish and chips (Cornish haddock, beer batter, chips and pea tartare) have quite simply gone down a storm, I am told, but there are also dishes to tuck into such as a creamy butternut, ginger and coconut soup (served with warm crusty bread) which is perfect for vegetarians.

Not to mention a cauliflower cheese risotto, pickled walnuts, parsley pesto and salmon nicoise salad with a smoked anchovy dressing.

Fantastic food in the most beautiful setting... what more could you ask for?

Amanda Stewart

Wine and Dine

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