Walking across the cobbled courtyard of Marsh Mill Village in Thornton fills me with nostalgia.
I remember visiting the picturesque craft village as a little girl with my mother, grandmother and brother for a slice of tiffin and looking up in awe at the beautifully restored Grade II listed tower mill.
Built in 1794, the mill was used by generations of millers until 1922 when it closed down.
But its history didn’t end there.
It was a tea shop between 1928 and 1935 before falling into disrepair until it was bought by Thornton Cleveleys Urban District Council and restored to its former glory.
More recently, it has made new memories for my family.
I took our four-year-old son to the festive fair there last winter to indulge in a luxury hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, and ever since he’s been convinced it’s called Marsh Mill because “that’s where marshmallows are made”.
I should probably put the record straight on that – and a number of other festive tales – one day.
The area around the mill, now owned by Melrose Investments Ltd, is a bustling shopping centre with speciality shops, workshops, a tea room, pub and... Rustic to Regal Tapas and Bodega.
It was time to repay the treat I’d enjoyed as a child, so I took my parents and son along to Marsh Mill for a bite to eat last Saturday lunchtime.
I’d reserved a table, which turned out wasn’t actually necessary as we were the only diners in the restaurant (although I’ve been told the venue gets very busy in evenings so booking is recommended).
True to its name, the venue has a rustic feel with wooden tables and chairs, knick-knacks on the window sills, a splash of terracotta paint, as well as Spanish plates and pictures hanging from the walls.
Spanish music plays in the background to create a lovely, relaxed ambience.
It was great to hear how the restaurant had come about from the ‘jefe’, who showed us to our table.
Starting out as a delicatessen five years ago, the owners made the leap to ‘dining in’ around 18 months ago and used experiences of living in the Canary Islands as inspiration.
There are six tables for couples and small groups as well as a function room for larger parties.
It’s certainly a great addition to what Marsh Mill and the rest of Thornton has to offer.
And, it’s excellent value for money.
Tapas bars elsewhere have become somewhat exorbitant but Rustic to Regal offers tasty fare at a fair price.
We chose from the lunchtime tapas menu (six dishes for £19.50) which has a nice selection of meat, fish and vegetarian appetizers served on a tapas stand.
Calamares served with alioli were just as you’d expect them to be served by the Mediterranean and the meatballs were covered in a rich, tomato sauce.
The patatas bravas had just the right spicy kick while there was a generous portion of sizzling king prawns with garlic and chilli and the pimiento de paella (pepper stuffed with paella) was a great choice.
There could have been a couple more slices of bread served in the ‘pan duo’ dish, which comes with flavoured oil and vinegar.
We chose a side of chunky chips – tasty but overpriced in my opinion at £3.50 – as well as a delicious, large slice of tortilla (£4.50) and a nicely seasoned Greek salad (£6.95).
While the food and service was excellent, the toilet would benefit from a modern touch; I prefer paper towels or a hand dryer over a hand towel – no matter how fresh and fluffy it might be.
With drinks, our bill came to a very reasonable £50. It’s certainly a place we’ll return to... and I hope it’ll be going long enough for my son to treat me to a meal there when he’s older!