Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Restaurant Review: The Windmill, London, England

The Windmill - dinner on December 27, 2013, 6-8 Mill St in the Marylebone and Piccadilly neighborhoods of London
We wanted "real British food" for dinner so we yelp'd shepherd's pie to see where good ones were served and The Windmill came up with glowing reviews. After walking around all afternoon, we arrived a little early for dinner (Londoners seem to eat late) so we sat around for a bit and enjoyed hot chocolate for me and coffee for my nieces.
The inside was small as are most London pubs but that always makes things cosy and a nice change from large, crowded places. We were getting used to small, crowded places instead :).
Shot from our table, this is as big as the room gets
But the size of the pub didn't matter, especially after our waitress passed out the menu once it was time to order and we perused their offerings. The Windmill has won the national championship for their Steak and Kidney Pie but their menu assured us their Steak and Mushroom Pie was the same thing except it didn't have kidneys so that's what my nieces opted to go with. I had a bite and it was delicious. The crust was flaky, the meat was tender and the sauce was tasty. I can see why they won the awards they did. You can get the meat pie with a side of "chips" or "mash" (mashed potatoes). They went for the chips.
Steak and Mushroom Pie
I was mostly preoccupied with my own "real British food" order of shepherd's pie. Shepherd's pie is typically made of ground lamb and vegetables in a gravy covered with a top crust of mashed potatoes. I've had okay shepherd's pie and bad shepherd's pie but this is the first time I've had great shepherd's pie. They broiled the top so it was almost partly burned but that didn't affect the taste. The topping was fluffy mashed potatoes with some melted cheese and the filling was superb. I'm not normally a fan of lamb but this was delicious. Not tough or greasy, just tender and flavorful. If anyone is in search of shepherd's pie worth remembering, I recommend the one at The Windmill.

Inside the Shepherd's Pie - this was so good
Although both dishes were hearty, naturally we had to get dessert as well. And in keeping with our British food theme, we went with the sticky toffee pudding. Sticky toffee pudding is more like a dense cake that's been steamed (it can also be baked) rather than what most Americans would consider a pudding. It's made with dates which I'm not a fan of so I don't make sticky toffee pudding or normally have it but since we were in London, that's what we had to have. Good thing too as this was also quite tasty. There weren't chunks of dates in it so I wonder if they pureed it instead or just chopped it really, really fine. But this was a good dense cake, a little lighter than pound cake but with the texture of a steamed cake, served warm with ice cream. One of my nieces enjoyed it so much I had trouble fending her off long enough to take a picture. We really are related, haha.
That brief moment when the sticky toffee pudding was in its entirety
The rapidly dwindling sticky toffee pudding I could barely capture in a shot
All in all, The Windmill was a great find. This is another place I highly recommend trying out for the pub experience and the food. I know it's a stereotype that there's no good food in London that isn't ethnic but The Windmill smashes that stereotype to bits.

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