Address: Bolton Road, Anderton

Phone number:01257 480205

Lancashire Telegraph review by Gill Ellis from February 7, 2008.

The Millstone in Anderton must be one of the area's best kept secrets.

We chanced upon it one Sunday after trying two other pubs in the area that had either stopped serving meals or simply closed down.

From the outside in the dull evening light, I mistook it for your average pub chain outlet, so it was a pleasant surprise to discover a restaurant within, completely separate from the bar.

It's a lovely traditional place, but a bit uncertain of itself. The décor is rich dark mahogany and deep pink walls, yet the tables more farmhouse style.

We skipped starters, all preferring to save ourselves for a dessert.

For the mains two of our party opted for sirloin steaks and two went for the braised beef, like most of the mains, they were both around £14.

The menu is quite varied with all sorts of different meat, fowl and fish; it's a while since I've seen rabbit on a menu or even guinea fowl come to think of it, but this chef was clearly serious about food (apart from vegetarian, unless you like pasta).

And the chef was clearly on top form, all the meals were excellent.

The steaks were tender, cooked to perfection, the braised beef tasty and almost melted in your mouth. The vegetables were beautifully cooked and a side order of chips was the real home-made type that you don't often find.

It was clear everyone had enjoyed it, with barely a garden pea left on the plates.

The portions were generous too and only the chaps in our group could manage sweets, both opting for the warm chocolate tart with ice cream.

The desserts looked seriously wicked, dark, dark chocolate that looked far too rich and heavy.

I had to try some just to check, and in fact it wasn't heavy at all, it was quite simply delicious. Chocolate heaven!

We finished off with a coffee and pot of tea, and all agreed that we'd have to come again - if only to sample some more amazing desserts - like deep fried ice cream'!

Bolton News review by Wes Wright from February 22, 2007.

IT'S not often that a menu makes me laugh out loud but the one at the Millstone, in Anderton, did just that.

On the Light Dishes/Starters menu I was amazed to see deep fried spam fritters with onion chutney.

Spam is certainly good for a laugh especially when it has its own musical (Spamalot) in London - but as a serious starter?

Perhaps I am out of touch with modern culinary trends but even with the best onion chutney in the world I wouldn't touch spam with a barge pole - and I certainly wouldn't part with £5.50 for the privilege.

A slice of it might be just about acceptable as part of a transport cafe jumbo breakfast but not on a fairly posh modern menu.

That said the rest of the menu was inventive and interesting and our party of four went on to have very good first two courses.

The only downside being the puddings that my pal and I ordered weren't quite up to the high standard set by the starters and main courses but more of that later.

Sadly there was no real ale on tap - it was all fizz and lager. But we didn't let that deter us as we attacked the bar.

Given the time of year we decided to book for our party of four and it was a good job we did as the place soon filled up.

We were shown to a nice table where we had a good view of the other diners in the large dining room.

No tablecloths here - just wooden tables with wooden chairs with rafia type seats which became uncomfortable after a while.

We ordered drinks and then were given enough time to look at the menu which which bills itself as contemporary European cooking.

Aside from the spam fritters there was a good starter selection including home made smoked kipper and whiskey pate, roast pumpkin risotto and another unusual starter - hot beef tea with shredded pancakes (in my youth hot beef tea was an Oxo cube in hot water and instead of pancakes we had bread for dunking) and it didn't cost £4.25p either.

I chose goats cheese grilled in filo pastry with cranberry chutney which was salty through the cheese and sweet via the cranberries - a nice culinary pairing to my mind.

My wife and my friend's partner enjoyed their rich and creamy chicken liver pate which came with plenty of toasted bread and my pal declared his confit of duck delicious.

The mains arrived promptly brought by a selection of friendly smiling waiters.

I had a fillet steak which was good but not the best I've ever cut into; my wife had slow roast shank of lamb with honey and rosemary, my friend chose grilled halibut with lemon and capers while his partner decided to have grilled sirloin steak with Garstang blue cheese.

There was no choice on the vegetable side as we all received dauphinois potatoes, swede, brocolli and a few brussel sprouts.

These meals were good if not spectacular, the meat was tender, the fish was grilled to perfection and my wife declared her lamb to be dropping off the bone.

The portions were just right and most of us cleared our plates.

My pal and I decided to have puddings having both spotted our favourite desserts. In my case it was a mixed fruit crumble and his was a tiramasu.

Both were perfectly fine but we both agreed they were just a notch below the main courses. My crumble was OK but underneath the crispy top the crumble was a little too doughy for my taste.

But service throughout the meal was exemplary, quick without being intrusive, so full marks there.

The total cost for four starters, four mains, two puddings, an Irish coffee and several drinks was a very reasonable £116.43.

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