The Paper Mills Inn: Beautiful food served in a country pub

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IT is always a joy to head away from the bright lights of the city to find a nice venue for a hearty and tasty meal - and The Paper Mills in Wansford is the perfect example.

IT is always a joy to head away from the bright lights of the city to find a nice venue for a hearty and tasty meal - and The Paper Mills in Wansford is the perfect example.From the outside, the country pub and restaurant looks like your everyday village venue - quaint, homely and rustic.

But as soon as you step inside, you immediately notice the vast transformation that the new owners have made in recent months.

The Paper Mills only reopened 13 weeks ago, following an extensive refurbishment over a four-month period.

The result of the work has clearly excited manager Monica King, who moved to the pub with head chef, Dave Simms, from the Black Horse, in Elton.

She said: "It's been going brilliantly for us here. The weekends are extremely busy and they're completely jam-packed with locals."

One of the secrets to their success has been their ever-changing menu, which is adjusted daily, based on the season and availability of local produce.

After being seated by the polite staff, the care the owners have taken with their menu was evident - Georgi and I had no idea what to choose.

However, we eventually picked the toasted goats' cheese and the salmon fishcake as a starter and neither of us were disappointed.

Georgi's goats' cheese was "a mixture of taste and textures, built of strong flavours with walnuts and sweet apple", while my salmon was full of flavour, accompanied by a delicious dill dressing surrounding the bed of salad.

However, if the pair of us thought our impressive meal was to end there, we were gladly mistaken.

Having decided upon the rump of lamb, Georgi said: "I loved the parsnip chips. They were full of flavour, but it was the red wine and onion gravy which brought it all together. The meat was also very tender."

I was equally impressed with my char-grilled chicken breast, which I have to say was quite possibly the tastiest chicken I have eaten. It sat on a bed of green beans, roasted red onions and sweet potato, with a delicious cranberry gravy.

It may have sounded like a slightly strange range of different flavours, but the chef brought them together with perfection.

Still with a little bit of room for the dessert menu, our meal was rounded off in style. Georgi described her chocolate fondant as "rich, but easy to eat", while my sticky toffee pudding was beautifully light, with a caramel sauce which was not too sweet.

Overall, The Paper Mills serves beautiful food, in a charming setting, topped off by extremely polite staff. And you can not ask for more than that.

5 out of 5.

Details:

The Paper Mills Inn, London Road, Wansford, PE8 6JW.

Tel: 01780 782328.

Menu examples:

Starters

Salmon fishcake with cucumber salad and dill mayonaise 5.50

Toasted goats' cheese with balsamic roasted apples, celery and walnuts 5.50

Parma ham, buffalo mozzarella, fig and a rocket salad 5.95

Mains

Char-grilled breast of chicken with green beans, roasted red onions, sweet potato and cranberry gravy 12.95

Rump of lamb served with cauliflower cheese puree, garlic cabbage, parsnip chips and a red wine and onion gravy 14.95

Penne pasta with ricotta, spinach, butternut squash and pine nuts (V) 9.95

Desserts

Sticky toffee pudding with caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream 4.50

Warm chocolate fondant served with cointreau ice cream and chocolate sauce 4.50

Bakewell tart with clotted cream 4.50

Details correct at 21/01/10