‘Contemporary food, served in a convivial setting, Milan (The Restaurant) in West Kirby serves up a three course seasonal menu designed and executed by our third Wirral Young Chef of the year finalist Robert Manger’.
Far from hiding away, Milan (The Restaurant) sits proudly on Banks Road in West Kirby, and newly appointed Head Chef Robert Manger has started to make his mark by designing promising, well-balanced menus which, when combined with a keenly priced wine list and a brigade of friendly, unobtrusive floor staff, has created a destination eatery and somewhere worthy of a journey to this popular corner of the Wirral peninsula.
The restaurant itself is modern with splashes of tasteful artwork, ‘less is more’ table decoration and attentive, friendly staff who provided us with a warm welcome on what was proving to be one of the coldest nights of the year.
To Start: Goats Cheese Panna Cotta (with textures of beetroot)
They say that you ‘eat with your eyes’, and if this is the case then as the starter arrived there was an immediate sensation of hunger satisfaction as it looked truly spectacular! This cleverly designed starter of vibrant beetroot with the soft texture of goats cheese was presented on a plate rather than a slate, a refreshing trip down memory lane (as there must be a shortage of slates now in the UK as restaurants seem to have the monopoly in their usage!) and the dish itself had a thoughtful complexity, although perhaps missing a litle texture, which left it tasting almost like a dessert. However, the luscious smoothness of the goats cheese combined with the creative execution of the humble beetroot provided a great platform for the rest of the meal.
Main Course: Pan Roasted Pheasant Breast (squash and fennel purée, creamy Savoy cabbage with pancetta crumb and a pheasant jus)
It was exciting to see pheasant featuring on a Wirral Young Chef menu, and with this course the crispy scattering of pancetta which accompanied the delicious Savoy cabbage proved that Robert did have a clear undestanding of the importance of texture in any dish on any menu! We enjoyed the squash and fennel purée (although a little more fennel wouldn’t have been out of place) which despite being a little thin, was packed full of flavour and complemented perfectly the star of the show (the pheasant), which was succulent, uncontrived, comforting and left us wanting more!
Dessert: Mulled Poached Pear (dipped in white chocolate, accompanied with a brandy snap and whipped crème fraiche)
We finished with Robert’s final course, a mulled poached pear wallowing in a deliciously sticky syrup (produced from the mulling liquor), brandy snap and crème fraiche. Although we thoroughly enjoyed the dessert, we felt that the brandy snap needed to be crispier for added texture, but there were so many other good things happening on the plate, that this was soon forgotten as we finished off every morsel of this celebration of the humble pear.
To summarise the food at Milan is robust, well thought out, creative and with a little more refined execution has the potential to be positively outstanding. So, if you find yourself in West Kirby with an appetite and want to relax in an atmosphere condusive to having a great meal experience with food and drink prepared and served by a cohesive team of young professionals then pop in and book a table, I guarantee you will not be disappointed!
Well done Robert, and good luck for the cook off which is taking place at Wirral Metropolitan College on Monday 3rd April 2017.
Tony Boustead (College Manager-Hospitality & Catering, Wirral Met College)