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Milly’s Bistro at the William Cecil

25th June 2024

Nicholas & Clare Rudd-Jones sample the delights of Milly’s Bistro on High Street St Martin’s in Stamford at lunch and for afternoon tea

Photos: Jack Matthew Photography

WE LOVE the vibe at Milly’s Bistro at the William Cecil. The staff are unfailingly upbeat and friendly, the spaces are so beautifully decorated with a welcoming, elegant, classic feel, and the menu has something for everyone. This month we’ve visited for lunch and afternoon tea – both delightful experiences that have further cemented our fondness for this lovely venue.


We visited on a Saturday lunchtime, when there was the thrill of a wedding taking place, adding to the buzz of the place, yet never interrupting the harmony of our own experience. We were invited to take drinks before the meal in the new lounge area to the right as you arrive – a room that was previously the dining area. This is now one of the most agreeable hospitality spaces in Stamford, with generous sofas, huge Georgian casement windows, elegant wall panelling, stylish William Morris wallpaper and a gracious, relaxed ambience. It definitely compares well with The George for that chic, luxurious, classic feel.

We had a choice of eating either in the main dining room – a beautifully elegant, classic Georgian room – or in the conservatory. The latter was so full of light, with the sun streaming in, and very appealing at lunchtime, so we decided to dine there this time – planning on coming back to the dining room next time. You can also eat on the terrace when the weather is up to it.

The menu has several options, which is brilliant if you have diners with different appetites at your table. Clare was taken with the set menu, which changes weekly and offers incredible value at £19 for two courses or £24 for three. Nick went for a selection of dishes from the small plates section of the menu, with lots of options to tempt. There’s also a selection of starters, mains, sides and puddings, as well as an impressive range of cheeses.

The options on the set menu were delightful and included Clare’s choices of confit garlic, tomato and goat’s cheese on toasted sourdough for starters, followed by chicken Schnitzel with shawarma mayonnaise, white cabbage and fennel with pickled jalapeno for the main, and dark chocolate mousse with crème fraiche and honeycomb for dessert. It was all full of flavour and beautifully presented. Incredible value for money.

From the small plates menu, Nick chose the trio of nibbles – three complementary dishes of tomato and mozzarella arancini, Serrano ham, and tempura courgettes – plus Ibérico pork on sourdough from the specials board. This really worked a treat, with a lot of varied flavour and just the right portion sizes. He finished with the strawberry and vanilla tart, with elderflower jelly and strawberry sorbet, which was knockout – a star dessert. A nice touch is that the restaurant also recommends a wine to match each dish, including for the set menu, which is a great way of expanding your wine knowledge.

A stroll down the hill into town for a spot of shopping in town after lunch… what’s not to like?

Afternoon tea

We returned to Milly’s a few days later for afternoon tea, a wonderfully relaxing affair enjoyed in the lovely lounge that we had so admired at the start of our lunch visit above. The lounge is an impressive combination of style, luxury and comfort, and perfect at any time of day, whether for refreshments, food from the lounge menu (small plates, sandwiches, cakes), for a decadent afternoon tea or evening drinks.

Afternoon tea is well priced, starting at £29.50 then rising to £36 with a glass of Prosecco or £41.50 with a glass of Champagne. You take your pick from Milly’s fabulous PMD loose-leaf teas: Nick chose Planter’s Earl Grey, while Clare chose chamomile flower tea. Both were exceptional quality and really lovely.

The afternoon tea is stylishly presented on a ladder stand – the perfect showcase for the delicate mini sandwiches (we had egg mayonnaise and watercress; cucumber and cream cheese; and prawn cocktail – all delicious); sausage roll slices; fruit and plain scones, with generous servings of scrumptious strawberry jam and clotted cream; mouth-watering strawberry tarts; carrot cake; and tempting mango macaroons. A feast! We’d given lunch a miss in order to leave plenty of room for our tea, but the portions were extremely generous, so we didn’t quite manage to devour it all. No probem, though – our waitress kindly brought a box for us, so that we could take what we’d left home. Packed lunch for the next day – sorted!

Milly’s is a gorgeous place to visit, whatever the occasion and whether for drinks, afternoon tea or a more substantial meal. The set lunch is so well priced that you really don’t need to leave it for a special occasion either – it’s a perfect everyday spot too. There’s a delightful ambience, with enough of a buzz while always feeling relaxed and calm, hitting that sweet spot. Beautiful, stylish, well priced and really, really welcoming. Fabulous!

Milly’s Bistro, High Street St Martin’s, Stamford PE9 2LJ, 01780 750085, @millysbistro

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