Review: The charity-owned restaurant in Lostock Hall is one in a million

Nailing down the diet with just one Jaffa cake

The next place to Preston’s Blog Review series of restaurants offering al fresco dining is The Mill Cafe at Lostock Hall, located in the beautiful grounds of Hospice Sainte-Catherine.


My friend Pauline and I had reserved a table in advance, which was a wise decision as most of the tables inside and outside were occupied, and we were greeted and seated promptly.

The varied menu had enough choice to suit all tastes, so after a little consideration Pauline ordered the watermelon, tomato and feta salad which arrived on time.

The chunks of fruit were a perfect choice on a warm day, with the feta and a balsamic vinaigrette complementing them wonderfully. Tomato fans would be in their element as there were all different kinds and colors on the plate, although personally I would have liked fewer tomatoes and more melon and feta. It was a starter or could have been a light lunch with the addition of a couscous or a roll.

Salad of watermelon, tomato and feta from the mill
Is it an arty close-up, or did I have to crop the shadow of my massive head?

Pauline was happy with the portion, although she later blurted out that she had eaten a scone before we went out, in flagrant disregard of the dinner before pudding rule.

I ordered a Coronation chicken sandwich which came with a small salad, chips and a scoop of coleslaw. I also added an order of Cajun Wedges and pretended I intended to share them with Pauline.

The Windmill Coronation Chicken Sandwich
75% of this food was mine and I have no regrets

A dish of chicken in a mild curry mayonnaise was served to Queen Elizabeth II for her coronation, so it seemed fitting that the platinum anniversary of her reign was just around the corner. Google says it was invented by Constance Spry, an English food writer and flower arranger. It’s surprising that someone with a name like that would encourage anyone to eat creamy mayonnaise instead of having them run ten miles around wintry terrain in gym pants, but there you go.

Luckily for the UK, mayonnaise in the dish has proven to be a great way to add spice to Trojan horse curry in a traditional English diet of gray stuff and gloom without surprising us, and 50 years later , we as a nation love all things spicy. Good old Constance Spry!

It was a great sandwich with a good amount of topping, and I was happy to see the chef wasn’t one of those loose cannons who indiscriminately shoves a generic salad on each sandwich without questioning if the components are okay with what’s inside.

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I chose the onions and cucumber from the side salad and left the rest of the fruits and vegetables to slowly realize that they are unpopular, like in an 80s physical education class. Evil Parallel Universe Constance would have approved.

The Cajun Wedges went perfectly with my sandwich, and they were so huge I didn’t even have to pretend I was going to split them.

After our main courses, Pauline found a loophole that overruled the dinner before pudding rule by ordering a Banoffee and a coffee. She had never eaten Banoffee Tart before, but is now a farmhouse convert.

The Banoffée Tart from the Moulin
A banoffee pie and an unexpected silhouette of a howling griffin in chocolate powder

I chose a Jaffa Cake which tasted exactly as described. I love Jaffa Cakes and they’re only 46 calories, so it was nice to say “you only had one slice of cake” rather than “you just ate a whole packet of Jaffa Cakes, once again”. You didn’t even want the last three, you couldn’t bother putting them back in the cupboard, and you didn’t want the dog to taste them.

Le Moulin de l’Hospice Sainte-Catherine is a nice place to sit inside or outside and have a meal or a coffee. It is closed in the evening except for occasional special theme nights and private functions, but anyone who wants a quality restaurant lunch with excellent service, friendly staff, interesting menu, seasonal and local dishes and a relaxing environment should try The Mill.

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Do you still blame your PE teacher for making you do “cross-country”? Have a good rant about them in the comments.