Mildreds restaurant review - hitting the pudding wall

Last week I paid my second visit ever to Mildreds. My first visit was with a friend and was marked by an expertly balanced Asian broth dish, a vegan cheesecake marred by unmasked whiff of too much inexpertly handled raw tofu and too much wine. (Although by the time I finished the latter, I'd long since forgiven and forgotten the cheesecake.)

Now, a couple of years have passed, and it was time for a return visit.

The early signs weren't promising – the initial waitress in charge of finding us a table approached us with all the grim determination you'd expect she'd muster up if being confronted with the prospect of an anal exam. Still, it did pick up from there – the succession of five waiters (five?!) that took our orders were nothing if not friendly and swift.

We decided to forgo starters and get straight down to mains – mushroom and ale pie for me, burrito for my other half.

We didn't however forgo wine, opting for a nicely dry and vegan Domaine St Paul sauvignon.

I'd been looking forward to my pie with glee – I am a sucker for stick to your ribs English cooking. Despite childhood dining marked with all too regular offal and mince dishes, I still have affection for pies, puddings and hearty artery-clogging Brit food: a mushroom and ale pie with chips and mushy peas was just what the doctor ordered.

Alas, the doctor didn't quite get his timings right – the chips were fresh from the fryer, the pie and mushy peas were lukewarm.

The pie was also not what I'd think of as a pie – more a slice of puff pastry cut in half with some (vaguely warm) sauce in the middle.

Had both the pie and the peas spent a bit more time making the acquaintance of an oven, all would have been well – peas were lifted by a tang of mint and the mushroom filling was dark and rich. But not warm. Dammit, they weren't warm.

(On the other hand, my other half was very keen on his burrito and praised it highly, though a single burrito with some undressed green salad looked a big stingy. Still, what do I know?)

Having consumed a massive, stodgy dinner, what I decided I needed was a massive stodgy pudding to fill any empty micron of space in my stomach.

I opted for the chocolate and raspberry truffle. The waiter, naturally, bought two spoons as my dining companion hadn't ordered anything.

That was a mistake. The truffle was that good, there was no way I was sharing that bad boy.

Rich, heavy, intense – a slice of thick chocolate mousse neighboured by some sharp raspberries and soya cream. The truffle was fabulous, but there was about twice as much as any reasonable human needed to be sated.

I needed half, but I wasn't feeling reasonable. I ate the whole lot. About two thirds of the way through, I hit pudding zero – the cake wall - the point at which no more dessert can be consumed.

Nevertheless, I couldn't stop eating it. I finished the whole lot and if I thought I could have got away with it, I would have licked the bowl too.

Because of that truffle, I waddled out with a chocolately grin, happy to forgive Mildreds its heat-shy, sub-pub-grub main course.

I'll be back to Mildreds. Only next time, I’ll have a pudding for starter, main and afters.


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