QUESTIONS, questions, questions. What question would you ask if you were going to be in the audience of Question Time? And what if David Dimbleby asked you a question back after you’d asked your question on Question Time?

Such were the, er, questions discussed over dinner in an Ulverston pub this week, as a group of us went for a pre-Question Time outing.

Yes, the BBC’s flagship current affairs panel show paid a visit to these parts this week, being broadcast from The Forum in Barrow last night.

My best friend Sarah was fielding both her daughter and her brother - which necessitated a conflab over what questions should be asked, if the opportunity arose. At the time of writing, I don’t know if either Olivia or Michael got to ask their question, so I’m writing this from a position of ignorance (nothing new there, I hear someone cry).

Said conflab took place at The Mill in Ulverston, which has recently introduced its new menu, presumably for the winter season.

Five of us gathered in the ground floor restaurant area, which was pretty chilly, the heat from the log-burning stove not quite reaching our table, largely because it had gone out. A staff member immediately came to re-light our fire but the room never really got what you would call warm.

The new menu at The Mill is gastropub in style, with starters including black pudding bonbons, seared scallops, soup and smoked salmon, ranging in price from £4.50 (soup) to £9 (scallops).

We went straight for the mains: Scottish roast cod with a winter vegetable ratatouille (£15) for my husband Gordon; pan-fried Norwegian salmon with chorizo, sautéed potatoes, olives, pesto, peppers and spinach for Sarah (£16); mushroom and Stilton risotto with a crispy hen’s egg, chestnuts and truffle oil (£12) for Michael - the putative star of QT; beef and ale puff pie and mash £12) for Michael’s partner Elizabeth; and a “free from” pesto spaghetti dish for me (£12), with root veg, chicory, peppers, toasted nuts and spinach.

A comprehensive sample from the new menu - and not a chip between us.

Unfortunately, because of a very large group from BAE who were occupying the upper floor restaurant for a works do, we had a very long wait for the food to arrive. Free drinks on the house offered by the friendly lady who served us went a long way to ameliorate the situation - good for them, as many places these days simply wouldn’t bother even to apologise.

When the food eventually arrived, it was eagerly tucked into by us all. Everything served on proper crockery - hurrah - and all beautifully presented.

Sarah’s salmon dish was the star of the show: perfectly-cooked salmon which went surprisingly well with the olives and chorizo combination. She loved it.

Michael’s risotto was attractive to look at, with a runny egg encased in fried breadcrumbs and a generous dash of truffle oil. Elizabeth’s beef and ale pie tasted great, with lots of tender beef, although we all agreed a proper pie, rather than a disc of quite thin puff pastry on top of the filling would have been better.

Gordon adored his cod, which was served with a lemon buerre blanc and was beautifully tender. My pasta dish looked fab and was, indeed, good. Packed with fresh herbs and vegetables, it was an interesting veggie dish - and the “free from” element was good from a gluten-free aspect; but it tasted rather bland. Underseasoned and lacking the promised pesto punch, it didn’t quite deliver as much as the others’ dishes had; but it was nevertheless a long way from being a bad dish.

For puddings, Sarah, Michael and Elizabeth had chocolate orange ganache - they all enjoyed them but were unanimous that the dish needed more sauce; while Gordon had a sensational Damson Mess, which he declared to be the perfect autumn pud.

Despite the long wait for the food, this had been an excellent meal and a great fun evening, the suggestions to put to the Question Time panel getting progressively sillier as the wine went down.

The Mill’s new menu is well worth putting to the test. Our panel of five were all in agreement on that.


Food 4.5

Service 4

Atmosphere 3.5

Value 4.5


Quality cooking

Superb ingredients

Friendly service


Dining area a bit chilly