Miller and Carter had been on our list of places to visit for quite some time, what with it being just a stone’s throw away from our house and my other half having a love – that has almost turned into an obsession – for all-things steak.
It was a no-brainer for us to finally see what all the fuss surrounding Miller and Carter was about. So on a freezing cold Wednesday night after a day of opening presents and enjoying some downtime, we ventured down the road to the warm and welcoming steak house.
The restaurant sits alone on the busy Stourbridge Road, surrounded only by fields and the odd house opposite. Marked out only by a glowing sign, it’s easy to miss Miller and Carter when you’re on your travels.
And we were glad to find the hidden gem as we were immediately greeted by an inviting warm glow from inside as a tantalising smell wafted through the air, which was perfect as the biting wind threatened to freeze us in our path.
We expected the restaurant to be almost empty, what with this being a midweek visit, but we were surprised to see that it was bustling with couples and families alike tucking into eye-catching and mouth-watering dishes.
Taking a pew at the bar waiting for our turn to be seated, I immediately regretted driving for the night as I gazed over the extensive wine collection on display.
Some of the wines on offer are also expertly paired with the perfect cut of meat to enjoy with your meal, an ideal addition to the menu for a meat novice like myself that can’t tell my fillet from my sirloin.
There’s also plenty of lagers, ales and ciders on tap to choose from as well as non-alcoholic alternatives for us designated drivers to enjoy.
After a brief wait, we were welcomed by the friendly and accommodating staff and seated in a secluded booth towards the back of the restaurant.
Though busy, the tables had ample space between them so that we weren’t dining on top of complete strangers. This also meant that myself and my partner didn’t need to shout at each other to be heard over the laughter and conversation of other diners.
Miller and Carter utilises both rustic and modern decoration to create a stylish and warming environment. Thick wooden beams and roaring log burners work effortlessly alongside ornate golden picture frames and sleek geometric cabinets to give the period features of the building new life.
The restaurant appeared to be arranged into smaller sections, allowing one or more staff members to be assigned to each area to personally serve a select amount of diners. This made for a more intimate dining experience than your average chain restaurant, where more often than not you’ve barely memorized your waiter’s face before your meal is flung onto the table and they’ve disappeared into the fray as they juggle 10 or more tables single-handedly.
The staff at Miller and Carter can spend more time on each table, and this attention to detail showed as we were immediately made to feel at home by our cheerful waitress who took the time to show us each menu and gave us plenty of time to decide on our dishes.
Already salivating from the smell of meat sizzling away in the kitchen, we settled on the tasting board sharing platter with beef and bourbon meatballs, salt and pepper calamari with black garlic aioli, beef barbacoa stuffed mini yorkies, classic mac and cheese and garlic bread.
The meatballs were a real highlight of the dish, bursting with flavour and accompanied by a fresh, tangy tomato salsa that accentuated the notes of bourbon. The crunchy salt and pepper calamari with fragrant black garlic aioli similarly dazzled, as did the stuffed yorkies with juicy barbacoa.
While slightly more mild in comparison, the classic mac and cheese and garlic bread offered a softer selection of flavours to be enjoyed alongside the other sample dishes.
After a stellar start to the evening, we were eager to sink our teeth into our mains. Despite being so busy our waitress was always quick to clear away our empty plates and glasses that added to the warm and welcoming mood.
For our mains, I opted for the 10oz black Angus sirloin steak cooked medium rare with classic béarnaise sauce. Elliot chose the 8oz fillet steak prepared rare with porcini mushroom and black garlic sauce. All of the steak dishes come complete with parsley butter, balsamic beef tomato, seasoned fries and a slice of the restaurant’s famous onion loaf.
I decided to upgrade my fries to the sweet potato option, and with eyes bigger than our bellies, we decided to order a side of lobster thermidor mac and cheese.
Much to our surprise, each steak dish is also accompanied by a wedge of lettuce with a choice of wedge dressing to enjoy. I decided to try the buttermilk ranch and crouton dressing while Elliot picked the blue cheese dressing.
The wedge salads worked as the perfect crisp palate cleanser to enjoy before our steaks, though it did mean our balsamic tomatoes and side salads went mostly untouched as we were filled to the brim with greens.
My black Angus steak was cooked to perfection. It was succulent with every bite and simply burst with flavour. Elliot sang similar praises of his fillet steak, commenting that the dense cut of meat was juicy, though he did point out that the meat was not sealed entirely and blood had formed on his plate.
A negative point for some, but something he enjoys when he orders a steak, also noting that the awkward shape of the cut may have contributed towards this.
We may have found the classic mac and cheese mild, but the lobster thermidor option was a refreshing addition to our meal. You could easily taste the lobster, though it didn’t overpower the dish.
Despite managing to shovel away this mountain of food, we couldn’t take our eyes off the dessert menu and decided to have just one last sweet treat before jumping back onto our New Year diets.
I asked for the classic crème brûlée served with home baked vanilla biscuit and fresh berries, while Elliot selected the strawberry and Prosecco sorbet accompanied by fresh berries, crushed meringue, and rhubarb and rose curd.
The crème brûlée was the perfect blend of a crisp topping and smooth centre, perfectly complemented by the sharp fresh fruit and moist vanilla biscuits. Elliot’s sorbet was a tart delight that was light and refreshing after such a rich and indulgent meal.
We expected to be met with a hefty bill, but all of this and drinks came to less than £90 – a fair price for such a high-quality meal and all-round enjoyable evening.
The perfect way to end my partner’s birthday celebrations, we certainly won’t leave it so long to visit Miller and Carter again in the future.