I had always considered the Paper Mills at Wansford a lovely country pub that served good, classic pub grub - at a premium.
Now it is still not cheap but a new head chef in the kitchen seems to have taken the food to another level and it is all the better for it.
French chef Thierry Deliegh and his wife Bozena took over the now-closed Le Bistro, a stone’s throw away last year and while I never ate there I liked the look of the menu. So when I heard they were now running the Paper Mills, it was an opportunity not to be missed.
It is a great looking place as you approach and nothing much appears to have changed inside. The front has a homely country pub feel, with plenty of people having a drink and bar food, while the rear is a more formal restaurant setting, which at this time of year benefits from the terrace and patio area.
The online menu gave a few hints as to what to expect, but I was still impressed and a little surprised with the menu of the day.
It is always a good sign when you would happily go with any starter or main and choosing is made all the more difficult.
Having seen the food coming out of the kitchen I would gladly have had seared scallops or the antipasto, but while it is in season went with baked Tanholt Farm asparagus – cooked as well as I have had it recently – wrapped in a tasty slice or two of Parma ham with a lovely salty dollop of mozarella on top.
A nice drop of balsamic brought all the flavours together beautifully.
Donna meanwhile, waded through a huge delicious bowl of mussels, in a morish chunky chorizo, garlic and tomato sauce. The fresh bread on the table came in very handy.
She followed that with seared Sashimi grade tuna steak - done medium rare and still beautifully dark pink inside.
It was bigger than expected and wonderfully cooked, though I particularly liked the vegetable and noodle stir fry. The teriyaki sauce made every forkful an absolute mouthwatering joyful experience.
There was more than a hint of butter about my main dish – a small, delicate but meaty piece of monkfish fried in lemon butter with a very creamy - and buttery - mash potato.
The spinach was soft - and buttery - and the sweetness from the sunblushed tomatoes was incredible.
The service was very good and there was a nice atmosphere in the place which helped when the bill with a drink each (a large white wine costs £6.70) edged very close to £60. Thank goodness we didn’t have time for dessert.
BRAD’S RATING: 9
THE VENUE: The Paper Mills, Wansford, tel 01780 782328 www.thepapermills.co.uk
FROM THE MENU:
Soup of the day.
Seared scallops, creme fraiche and sweet chilli.
Smoked salmon salad with honey and mustard dressing.
Cured meat antipasto,and olives, sun blushed tomatoes, artichoke, torn mozzarella.
Baked ratatouille with garlic paprika potatoes.
Whole lobster roasted in house garlic butter served with skinny fries.
Chargrilled free range chicken breast with bean, pepper, tomato and chorizo stew.
Mushroom and spinach linguine pasta, sun blushed tomato and truffle cream sauce.