Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Caudwell's Mill Café, Rowsley, Derbyshire

What a pleasant surprise to eat a meal, at a place chanced upon with no prior knowledge, where they've actually made an effort.

I'll spare you the lengthy rant about how eating in this country, brilliant though it certainly can be, is still rubbish if you don't plan ahead, about how you could travel the length and breadth of the country dining in wherever was obvious and looked nice, and not eat a single thing worth the money or calories. It's true though.

The particular speciality in this well-touristed part of the world is the 'doing just enough to get away with it café or tea room'. Your choice of mediocre panini served with a small pile of limp leaves? Six quid, thanks. 

So anyway, it's a refreshing change to end up somewhere like the café at Caudwell's Mill (the mill itself is worth a visit if like me, you like old industrial stuff with levers and pulleys and whatnot) where serving food that's worth bothering with is obviously of importance as well as keeping the bottom line ticking over.

They serve vegetarian food, which I only actually noticed after standing in the queue staring at the menu for at least five minutes. For me, it's always an indicator of appetising veggie food when the lack of meat isn't glaringly and instantly obvious.


As well as the usual sandwiches and jackets, there are daily specials served with salads. Homity pie was a cheesy, garlicky, comforting pile of goodness on a nutty wholemeal pastry base. In winter I could eat bowlfuls of this (probably swimming in a whole tin of beans), but it worked well as a summer dish too with all the associated greenery.

The salads were great; simple stuff done well. Amongst them a nice crunchy coleslaw; apple and beetroot; something vinegary with chickpeas; dressed leaves; and sweet carrot and corn given interest with seeds of some sort.

There are home made cakes galore for afters, the chocolate and coffee looked particularly good. We shared a slice of lemon which wasn't the best choice, being a bit overdone around the edges.

Service was quick and friendly, and you can sit by the window with a lovely view of the river that feeds the mill, then the Derbyshire countryside beyond. Meals are eight quid and a far better proposition than your aforementioned six pound panino, cakes £2-3 and a pot of tea a very reasonable £1.50. Worth a visit.

7/10

Caudwell's Mill
Rowsley
Matlock
DE4 2EB

http://www.caudwellsmillcraftcentre.co.uk/Thecafe.htm