Restaurant review: Lots to like, but it was a mad dash at elegant NI eaterie

The Millstone
3 Glenpark Road, Omagh
Tel: 028 8224 4804 Elegant eatery has plenty of good things going on, so why the rush?

Cod served at The Millstone

The Millstone, Omagh

Venison served at The Millstone

Colin Breen

Yesterday at 10:10

I sometimes finish a meal and ask myself how much I enjoyed it as the many good points are marred by some errors.

My most recent meal in this restaurant just outside Omagh left me feeling conflicted in just that manner.

There were lots of good points about the dining experience. The venue was so clean, comfortable and spacious. It had a real sparkle with the lights and candles glinting off the gleaming glassware.

The Millstone, Omagh

There was lots of good food served up too; for starters I had my number one comfort food of seafood chowder. It was literally overflowing with cod and salmon and was rich and creamy.

Following on the theme of me being conflicted, I am still conflicted by the inclusion of bacon in seafood chowder and have never quite warmed to it. I just think it is one of those ingredients that doesn’t add to the dish so is not that necessary.

There were some quality ingredients on display in the mains. As the restaurant is close to deer country, you have to expect top quality venison and that is exactly what I got. There was a lovely loin coated in a sweet and sticky berry jus and a few French-trimmed venison cutlets with a really deep gamey flavour.

The other main of baked cod had wonderful flaky flesh and was brought to life by a sweet pea and salty bacon cream sauce. The portions were plentiful and the whole meal was also good value.

Another positive was the nice, friendly serving staff. All of that was very positive but there were sadly a number of less positive points. I think the main thing leading to me feeling confused was the sheer pace of the service. It only took 40 minutes from we sat down until we were served our dessert which just felt like a whirlwind. Bearing in mind every dish was substantial, and I am not by any means a slow eater, the moment we finished one course it was whisked away and the next one appeared.

This is an issue with the kitchen preparing things too quickly, not with the serving staff, but I do think you should at least be able to have a few minutes between each course. I accept it is preferable to having to wait for a half hour between courses but I always seek a happy medium.

There were also some issues with the food which largely came down to a lack of attention to detail.

Venison served at The Millstone

The bread with my starter was so dense and disappointing. The root vegetable crisps on my main were soggy and the potato fondant on that dish was quite hard rather than the soft buttery thing of beauty that a proper fondant should be. The brownies on our dessert were also quite hard and not that enjoyable.

Finally, a little thing that really winds me up, at every course our napkins were taken away and no replacements ever appeared.

By dessert we had cleared the next table of napkins and I resorted to using a tissue I had in my pocket to clean some chocolate from my face.

There was lots to like about this restaurant including the atmosphere and much of the great value food.

With just a bit more of a final polish, it could easily have gone from good to great.

The food

  • Seafood chowder £5.95
  • Garlic mushrooms £5.95
  • Venison £17.95
  • Cod £13.95
  • Desserts £9.90
  • Soft drinks £9

Total £62.70

The rating

  • Service 4/5
  • Food 4/5
  • Decor 3/5
  • Vegetarian 4/5

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