Restaurant review - No 17, Milnthorpe
PUBLISHED: 00:08 28 March 2014 | UPDATED: 15:15 31 August 2018
The food police are constantly telling us we should eat more venison. Bambi is gradually taking over and it's our duty to munch our way through as many of the critters as we can, writes Roger Borrell.
If they really are reaching plague proportions, I struggle to understand why it remains so expensive but, nevertheless, the arguments in its favour are compelling.
Venison is high in protein, low in saturated fat, it packs more iron than beef and it contains high levels of B vitamins and amino acids. It is also low in both cholesterol and calories.
In short, it is every bit as much of a super-food as broccoli with one significant difference – it tastes good. If you go to No 17 in Milnthorpe it tastes divine – or it did on the night we bowled in unannounced and without a reservation.
I’d heard good things – the usual hidden gem stuff - about this restaurant and café near a crossroads on the A6. From the ornate front windows it looks like it has been an old pharmacy or a 1920s haberdashery.
Inside, the décor is contemporary and it has a modern extension with a bar area and an upstairs. On a cold night it was warm and welcoming with a bit of a buzz you might not expect on a dark, damp midweek in Milnthorpe.
The menu is imaginative and had plenty we wanted to eat. It also managed to steer clear of flowery descriptions and refrained from telling us that everything came from Ted’s farm just up the road.
At the risk of making this seem like persecution, the star among the starters was a carpaccio of venison, with a tongue-twister of damson gin gel plus golden beetroot, manchego cheese and parsnip chips. Worked well, tasted great.
The other starter of rare beef and salt and vinegar squid was OK without ever hitting any high notes. The squid was nicely cooked but the rare beef was anonymous.
Roast loin of lamb with crispy lamb belly came with a rosemary and redcurrant sauce. Everything was good apart from some sinuous gristle which should have been removed before it was cooked.
A venison haunch steak was a revelation. I’ve eaten a lot of tough deer over the years, but this was pink and perfect. Sadly, some of the veg was so al dente that our best dentures couldn’t make much impression.
Home made black fig and honey ice cream was gorgeous with a capital G and the coconut brulee was good enough not to need poached pineapple and passion fruit sorbet.
The bill, with two glasses of wine, was well under £70. With one or two tweaks and a little more attention to detail, No 17 could be No 1.
No 17 is at 17 Park Road, Milnthorpe,LA7 7AD. Tel: 015395 64831