I was strolling aimlessly along Vicar Lane when I came across Millie’s which is a health food supermarket. Outside there are a couple of tables and chairs, which were occupied, and a sign inviting me to visit Millie’s Kitchen situated at the back of the premises.
Over the years I have found myself in several ‘interesting’ situations by following directions leading to the rear of seemingly respectable establishments, so I thought that I would see if my luck was still holding, and went in.
After an expedition through shelves filled with a variety of seeds, nuts and pulses, I came to the aforementioned Millie’s Kitchen. Its primary purpose seems to be as a take-away, but there was a large round table with half a dozen chairs, all of which were vacant, so I decided to order and test out the food. To the left was a salad bar with twenty-one, count them, twenty-one varieties. Most were complete salads in themselves rather than tubs of lettuce or tomatoes which you have to combine to make a proper salad. They were priced at £1.00 per 100g. Even though I am in a constant battle with my waistline I decided to give it a miss as I was tempted by the fact that, according to the blackboard in front of the heated display units, it was ‘Stew Day’ at £3.75 a pop.
Being a natural carnivore, I chose the pork and chorizo stew over the sweet potato and peanut, delicious though that sounded and looked. I was given the option of jacket potato or brown rice, and chose the latter. The stew, not unsurprisingly given its name, contained cubes of pork and smaller pieces of chorizo along with a selection of beans, tomatoes and a really thick sauce. The first couple of mouthfuls were somewhat disappointing as the taste was rather bland and I was beginning to think that perhaps I was going to write a less than complimentary review. Slowly, the underlying spices which I thought were absent began to introduce themselves and from then on it became very enjoyable, being warm rather than hot. I exchanged my views with the chef, who was a very pleasant young woman who asked me if the meal was OK. She thanked me for the input, which was a nice gesture.
There was a very tempting array of home-made cakes and so, as I can resist anything but temptation, I ordered a slice of Bakewell tart. I chose this for two reasons: firstly, there were only a couple of slices left of the original cake, so I wanted to see how well it had been kept; the second reason is that I LOVE Bakewell tart. Even though it was the end of the cake it was beautifully moist and the hit of the fruit-packed jam was more than a match for the spices which had eventually come through in the stew. There was also a thin drizzle of icing on the top which made it one of the best Bakewells I have ever had. Goodness knows how good the first slice straight out of the oven would have been. At £1.50 the cake was a steal, as was the black Americano at £1.30.
I have been reading articles in magazines and seen TV items concerning a movement to get back to serving meals on plates rather than on pieces of slate, lumps of wood and more bizarre items such as flat caps or even trainers. Millie’s has either gone right back to basics or is heavy on the irony. No plates. Everything is served in take-away cartons regardless of whether you eat in or out. The cake was in a paper bag and the coffee in a paper cup. The ‘cutlery’ was wooden, not the chip shop two-prong wooden forks but quite stylish ones. They were still thin but did the job adequately enough.
Despite being situated in a health food supermarket it was reassuring to see that they do fried sandwiches. In fact a lady joined me at the round table with a sausage sandwich in a bread cake of roughly the same circumference as her face! During my conversation with the chef I asked if every day was ‘Stew Day’. She laughed and said that it had lasted for a couple of days but Monday will be Pasta Day and Wednesdays are usually Pie and Peas Days, another blow for proper food.
On my way out I noticed that Millie’s also has a beautician and waxing service. I did not pause to take advantage of these facilities as I will not be modelling my Speedos on any beach in the near future; well, maybe when Hell freezes over but by then it will be too cold.
In conclusion, Millie’s Kitchen is great value for money and everything is made on the premises from scratch. At these prices it is certainly worth a visit.
Stan writes Let’s Do Lunch for Leeds Living. He also reviews special events for food and drink, which sometimes takes him beyond Leeds. He has also developed an interest in writing on culture, most frequently dramatic and musical theatre.