Finally had dinner in The Woollen Mills last week and sampled some of the dishes on the autumn/winter menu of the now famous Ha’Penny Bridge resto …
The décor downstairs is appropriately industrial-cool, with a large open kitchen, and a coffee and desserts counter that are certain to pull in the crowds at any time of the day.
We booked very last minute on a Saturday night, and we were accommodated with a nice table with a view of the bridge. We felt beyond lucky. Upstairs, the vibe is still industrial, but there is a modern-retro atmosphere that suits cosy dinners and friendly gatherings, both big and small.
My friend, The Tall Blonde, and I spent some ten minutes trying to choose from among wonderfully-sounding dishes. We got some recommendations from the staff – there’s lots of staff, and they are all good and extremely efficient. And extremely humourous – always a good thing in my book. The menu is seasonal, relatively short, but very rich and attractive – you are spoiled for choice, no matter what your food tastes are. Suffice it to say it was very hard to decide… In the end, we had a big mélange of things.
The mussel and leek pâté on homemade, toasted rye bread was delicious, and so generous it can be had on its own with glass of deep red (a great idea for winter boozy brunches, I imagine) – incidentally, I went for the Alexandre Relvas Ciconia Red from Portugal, a light but sufficiently robust Portuguese red to complement this savoury pâté. I had this starter with the house pickles, which were amazing, the right side of sour and wonderfully aromatic, more kimchi than gherkin.
The Tall Blonde, who’s usually very faithful to her paleo diet but regularly cheats on it on weekends, said her steak was one of the best medium-rare ones she’s had in a long time: that is the 12oz Irish steak, with chanterelle butter, rainbow chard, chips and garlic aioli on the dinner menu (it was huge, but my friend felt compelled to finish it). She paired this with the Grenache, Côtes du Rhône French red. She knows her steak and she knows her wine, and there were no complaints there.
We then both shared the Jerusalem artichoke hummus with crispy sage and lemon-roasted potato wedges, which was a surprisingly light combo, but extremely filling, and we finished our tasting menu dinner with the pumpkin and butterbean salad with basil, pine nuts and pumpkin seeds. Suffice it to say we both overate, but it was all worth it.
After all that savoury feast and wine, we were really torn between the cocktails menu and the desserts.
Much as we would have wanted to sample all the things on the dessert menu, we only took half a minute to decide on this one. We went for the cocktails – Gin, cucumber, elderflower tonic and Irish whiskey raspberry sour, respectively –, and never regretted it. We had these outside on the terrace – which is just one of the reasons you should pay a visit – on the first chilly night of the year, but, with blankets and heaters, it was the perfect ending for our epically Epicurean soirée.