The Mill Times Hotel in Westport was formally known as the Westport Inn. This lively, boutique style hotel is in the centre of the town and has a very busy bar and weekend trade. The restaurant is called Temptations and the head chef is a young woman from South Africa by the name of Leonie Theron. She has taken over from Jonathan Keane who went off to run Lisloughrey, and the food is as good as ever; sublime, using very local ingredients and imagination.
We first went there two years ago, and here is a snapshot of the review;
The starters were even better, the Killary mussels were the finest molluscs I have had; simple huge, perfectly cooked in a rich white wine and cream sauce. Deirdre’s pate was possibly the best she has ever had, ‘divine’ was her description and a taste of the rhubarb sauce, pate and the homemade brioche confirmed this was exceptional.
The starters were a hard act to follow, but the ham hock, glazed in local orange marmalade and roasted managed it. The porridge was a savoury delight; indeed it behaved like a risotto, and brought to mind Heston Blumenthal’s snail porridge. This is the first time I have eaten it this way, and have now decided this is the new dinner party wow. Deidre’s scallops came with roe attached, were very lightly smoked, so that the flavour of the peat was present, but the texture of the scallop was still correct. They came with a white bean and truffle oil casserole, and again were delicious.
Dessert was looking like a bridge too far, but the rhubarb and pickled ginger tartlet seemed too good to pass up. Again, this was a sublime confection sitting in rhubarb juice infused with pickled ginger.
Fast forward and now the kitchen is Leonie’s domain. We started with a half dozen oysters, served with vinaigrette, but with the addition of pomegranate seeds which glistened like little rubies and added an unexpected texture to the fresh oysters. Deirdre’s starter of lightly turf smoked scallops was served with pickled cauliflower and grapefruit, and the tartness of the fruit and pickle complemented them beautifully. A sorbet of sweet potato and cardamom cleansed our palate and set us up for the main event.
My dish of Red Deer was beautifully tender and red cabbage and apple were a great accompaniment, while a little pot of Guinness stew on the side was fantastically flavoured. Dee’s main courses of a half roast honey duck with caramelised parsnips and Clementine jus was equally good, and a dish of garlic potatoes was delicious, if a heart attack waiting to happen.
Desserts of traditional South Africa pudding (Cross between sticky toffee and steamed) and a lemongrass and ginger parfait were excellent and we finished an excellent meal two very happy diners indeed.
Temptations at Milltimes is one of my favourite restaurants in a town full of great places to eat. The food is always inventive and surprising and Leonie Theron is a young woman to watch. If you are in this part of the country a detour is definitely recommended.