I was incredibly lucky to be taken to the Mileburn in Melbourne for my birthday this year. I've no idea why it's taken me so long to go there, as I have read they are champions of local food. What I didn't realise is how fresh and exciting their take on local seasonal produce would be. We had the six course taster menu on Thursday night for an incredibly good value £26.00. Their house white was exceptionally good, and for £16 was not overpriced. My only gripe about the wine would be that we do have good local wine in Swadlincote which could have been on the menu. All the wines were from the new world so air miles were large. I do think that any restaurant serving local food should also think about local drink too!
Anyway, back to the food, the six course menu (8 courses at the weekend for £35) allows the chef to prepare good food for a good price with, presumably little waste as he know exactly what everyone is going to eat. Great idea. The first course was celeriac soup. Now, if you are a grow your own or vegbox person they you will have had celeriac soup coming out of your ears by this time of year, but this soup was exceptional - smooth, sweet but with bite. The second course was something my other half said he never would have thought he would have enjoyed - grilled cabbage and humous, but the cabbage was sweet and the humous had a little crunch of seeds on top. Course 3 was smoked trout, which was exceptional fresh and unusual, served in a cup with fruit and a tangy sauce. This guy definitely knows how to put flavours together. Course 4, the main, was the most disappointing - only because the duck was not cooked well and was a little tough. Otherwise the flavours was intense, although the promised rhubarb (seasonal tick) didn't hit the palate. Course 5, the cheese course was unusual and exciting, being a sandwich of biscuits and cheese, with a creamy blue cheese which was both rich and moreish. I also approved of serving the cheese before the pudding in the French style. I do like to keep my sweets and savouries separate. Finally, a deconstructed lemon meringue. I think it was called lemon meringue, although I'm not sure where the meringue part was, but maybe the chef was just too clever for me and was hiding the egg whites somewhere. Anyway, when the separate parts were mixed together on the palate they were incredibly fresh and zingy. It would have been good to have had a good glass of pudding wine for that course but sadly they don't serve it. They are missing a trick I think on that one, as it was the perfect meal to end with a nice glass of something sweet. But minor are my criticisms - it is certainly the best value for quality meal I have had in a very long time and I will be back...
This is an attempt to document my efforts to grow and eat locally around Melbourne, Derbyshire. My family own a nine acre smallholding on which we grow fruit and vegetables and keep bees, and chickens, but that won't feed us alone, so the idea is to get to know our local produce and to see how easy/hard it is to follow a diet that is local to within 30 miles. The fun part is also trying some new (easy) recipes that use home-grown and local produce. Feel free to comment, send in recipes, and share your experiences of buying and eating locally.