milsoms at Dedham

 Review date: may 2015

new look for milsoms

This month Essential Suffolk popped over the border to milsoms at Dedham to dine in the recently refurbished bar brasserie

We consider ourselves very lucky that milsoms Kesgrave Hall is on our doorstep. Having such a great venue within walking distance of our home does mean that it has become a favoured haunt, for both business and personal pleasure, it does however mean that we tend to visit milsoms sister Brasserie at Dedham less. Having discovered it had recently undergone a redecoration and refurbishment we thought it was time to put this unintended neglect to an end.

Getting to Dedham is a doddle. Just minutes off the A12 it is actually quicker for us at times to get to milsoms than driving into town and parking or even heading to some of our coastal favourite destinations.  With views over the Stour valley milsoms is set in a beautiful location and as we arrived on a warm spring evening it was looking particularly inviting.

Although the car park was, we thought, quite busy for a Wednesday evening we were shown straight to our table with no wait. As regular readers will know tables can’t be reserved for either milsoms or Kesgrave Hall with diners seated on a first come first served basis, a system that works well and means anyone can enjoy the milsoms experience without having to book weeks in advance.

The restaurant is set on two tiers and our table was on the lower level within sight of the impressive new bar area and by a large glass door giving views out in to the immaculate gardens which would later look even more stunning as feature trees were picked out in neon light.

The outside at milsoms plays a huge part in the restaurants attraction. The terrace is very much an extension of the dining area with a huge sail canopy and heaters perfect for alfresco eating throughout the year but it really comes into its own in the coming warmer months.

As we sat perusing the menu, a gorgeous glass of Tattinger house Champagne in hand for Mrs R, we noted that we thought the refurbishment has brought the look closer to that of Kesgrave Hall and, as fans of the latter, that was a good thing. Geraldine Milsom is the driving force behind the ‘milsoms look’ and the fact that no aspect of the visual experience is overlooked be it a coat hook, door handle,  light fitting or the all-important chairs and tables at which you sit, is a testament to the thought that goes into the whole visit.

Milsoms describe its menu as ‘global’ cuisine with its chefs taking influences from all over the world and this is clear to see from the menu that this holds true with options as diverse as Asian Duck tacos to the ever present menu favourite Mr g’s shepherd’s pie. In addition to the standard menu milsoms offers daily specials, catering for all day dining be it breakfast, lunch or dinner and all choices take full advantage of the local, seasonal produce available throughout the year. There is also a separate menu specially designed menu for the younger pallet. 

With 15 starters plus the specials board a lack of choice is never going to be an issue. The afore mentioned duck tacos got serious consideration, as did the wild mushrooms on toast with a poached egg and herb butter, the chef’s mezze for two - which we spied others enjoying - and the moules marinieré but eventually we settled on the prawn courgette, chilli and dill linguine and the chorizo and okra gumbo. 

Some of the starters come in two sizes ‘ample’ or ‘generous’ – a nice descriptive twist – the linguine was one and although the smaller size was chosen it would easily has served as a light lunch.  Declared as “delicious” and packed with prawns it would be hard not to plump for this automatically on any subsequent visit.  The gumbo was also excellent packed with flavour and a good kick of chilli from the chorizo within it.

Again having been spoilt for choice, and just having missed the last Harwich skate wing with caper sauce from the specials board, for our mains we happily went with the Devonshire duck breast with spinach mash, peppercorn sauce and sprouting broccoli and the cauliflower and potato curry with split pea dahl, pilau rice and poppadum.

Taking the vegetarian route in an unusual one on our outings especially when visiting a restaurant that prides itself on its steaks, after all as the menu says “steaks are the benchmark of a great brasserie” and we know the 28 day aged locally raised Dedham vale beef never disappoints.

Taking the culinary road less travelled can sometimes lead to disappointment but the adage of nothing ventured nothing gained came through on this occasion with a thoroughly credible and satisfying curry enjoyed especially when accompanied by the contrast of the fresh tomato and shallot side salad which we had chosen to share.

The other main course of duck was cooked to perfection both beautifully pink and flavoursome. The spinach content of the mash was subtle and could have been increased but that is purely personal preference.

To finish our meal we opted for the raspberry and lemon curd cheesecake for one dessert and a combination of raspberry sorbet and espresso ice cream with chocolate chunks for the other. Again both were excellent with the cheesecake portion matching the generosity of the initial linguine starter.  Be assured there were no complaints.

As a final example of the detail that accompanies all aspects of the milsoms experience our coffee arrived with milk served in exquisite individual churns worthy we thought of a souvenir phone photo!


Stratford Road
Dedham, Colchester
Tel: 01206 322795

A full à la carte menu is available from 12 noon everyday right through to 9:30 pm (10:00pm on Friday and Saturday evenings). 

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