The Brampton Mill, near Huntingdon in Cambridgeshire, underwent a stunning refurbishment and re-opened on 16 February 2019. I was delighted to be invited to their press night for an exclusive first look a few days before their big re-opening. The invitation included dinner and drinks for 4 people so I brought along Paulo and our good friends Peter and Jenni.
I had visited The Brampton Mill in the past and it was lovely. Located down Bromholme Lane with its riverside views by the River Great Ouse, extensive garden and cosy seating areas, this 500-year-old pub was already impressive. However, the significant investment by Mitchells & Butlers – one of the largest operators of pubs, bars and restaurants in the UK – has given their Premium Country Pub a more contemporary look and feel whilst still maintaining its traditional features, like the fully functioning water wheel. It really is a sight to behold!
The whole place is now more modern, open and stylish. It was dark when we arrived so I couldn’t see the garden area and outdoor bar but they have added new furniture. The Brampton Mill have kindly provided some daytime photos.
As soon as we stepped in, we were wowed by the gorgeous makeover. What a difference! We were shown to the bar for pre-dinner drinks and canapés. For the event, they had a gin station with a large selection of garnishes to personalise our G&Ts.
With our drinks firmly in hand, we were given a little tour of the restaurant areas on the ground floor, past the bar. These lovely rooms are perfect for private parties.
There was even a cute flower wall for those requisite social media pics. We couldn’t resist. Say “orange”!
We nibbled on delicious canapés in the comfy seating area by the bar whilst we waited for our table on the top floor. Deep fried Brie, duck pâté & jam toasts, roasted lentil falafels and hoisin duck lettuce cups gave us an idea of the flavours on the dinner menu.
The Brampton Mill is quite large and there are a few more floors of dining areas, all with their own brand new décor. We passed by these spots on the way to the imposing top floor dining room.
I had Sunday Lunch in the dining room in the past. It’s a beautiful space with an exposed beam ceiling but it is now completely transformed. Gone are the pink walls! Plush chairs in muted blue-grey and copper tones, walls in subtle colours, wooden floors and subdued lighting all add to the warm and welcoming ambience.
Now on to the food and drink! The new seasonal menu features mouth-watering dishes and the wine list has an excellent selection.
There is something for everyone, including high-protein dishes under 700 calories and the most extensive vegan menu I have seen to date. Plus, their drinks menu features their new range of low and no-alcohol options.
The four of us tried to order different dishes so I could get a good scope of what the menu has to offer. Our starters included lobster & king prawn pot in Devon crab crème fraîche with toasted ciabatta bread; scallops of the day with pancetta and crushed peas; thyme-roasted Portobello mushrooms in Cropwell Bishop sauce with rustic toast; and duck liver & Port parfait with gooseberry & Prosecco flavour compote and toasted ciabatta bread.
Paulo and I both chose the chicken dishes for our main course. We both agreed that the chicken was high quality meat. We could have done without the rectangular plates though as we find they leave little room to comfortably cut the food.
Paulo enjoyed the buttermilk southern-fried chicken, stuffed with ‘nduja sausage and served with fries (he asked for these instead of the sweet potato fries), apple salad and lemon aioli.
I had the fabulous spit-roasted chicken with lemon & garlic confit and aioli but there is also an option to upgrade to truffle oil and truffle mayo. To accompany the chicken, there is a choice of kale & cauliflower couscous salad with a pineapple, lemongrass & ginger dressing but I went for the fries with jus… because carbs!
Jenni and Peter were equally impressed with the food. In fact, they are already planning a return visit for Sunday Lunch with family.
Jenni’s main course of lobster & Devon crab fishcakes with asparagus, pea & truffle oil velouté was topped with crispy seaweed and served with salad (or fries as an option).
Peter thoroughly enjoyed the roasted rack of lamb, served with aubergine, roasted sweet peppers, potato dauphinoise and red wine jus. Cooked medium, the lamb was spot on.
Jenni and I couldn’t resist ordering the same dessert – the pineapple tart tatin topped with mango and coconut milk sorbet.
We both agreed that the mango wasn’t necessary as the pineapple provided enough sharp tropical flavour and detracted from the sticky sweetness of the tart. I still enjoyed the dessert as I wasn’t in the mood for anything too decadent and indulgent.
Peter, on the other hand, was! And I’m happy about it because the melting chocolate & peanut bomb is The Brampton Mill’s most spectacular dessert. As you can see in the video, when the hot salted caramel is poured over the ball, it explodes, revealing a sticky toffee pudding and peanut butter cream filling. Served with Bourbon vanilla ice cream, this dessert really was the bomb!
Paulo had the vanilla crème brûlée with home-baked sultana & oatmeal biscuits. It passed the ultimate test of a good crème brûlée: the sugar topping cracked when he tapped it with his spoon.
In closing, the fantastic service is worth a mention. There is an excellent team in place and all of the staff we encountered from beginning to end – host, manager, servers, bartenders – were so friendly and knowledgeable about the drinks and menus. And judging by the taste, quality and presentation of the food, the kitchen really know what they are doing too. Add these elements to the beautiful location and wonderful ambience, I know we’ll be visiting The Brampton Mill often.
The Brampton Mill invited me to attend their press night. Although the food and drink were complimentary, all views are my own. I did not receive compensation for my review.
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