Just Ask Restaurant of the Month for April - The Mill Restaurant

The “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month winner for April is The Mill Restaurant, Dunfanaghy, Co Donegal

The Mill Restaurant Dunfanaghy

An ‘open secret’ hideaway destination that has attracted discerning visitors to the glorious north-west of Donegal for many years, the Alcorn family’s beautifully located restaurant with rooms is just outside Dunfanaghy on the shore of the New Lake, which is a special area of conservation. 

It was the home of Susan Alcorn’s grandfather and, as they are a family of accomplished painters, the walls are hung with wonderful watercolours. Sitting comfortably against a backdrop of natural beauty, they add an extra dimension for guests to enjoy and, complete with fresh flowers, soft lighting and some well-placed antiques, make for a place of character and atmosphere.

Susan and her husband Derek, who is the chef, have a dedicated following here and it is well earned. The location is superb, of course (and there are plenty of windows framing the views), but they also do pretty much everything just right themselves, extending warm hospitality and providing stylishly homely comforts, great food and drink - along with very good value.

There’s a real sense of place about everything at The Mill, and especially the food. Ever since they opened, in 1999, Derek’s menus have been a seasonal hymn to the surrounding sea- and landscape.

The Mill - Seafood

Most ingredients are sourced within a ten mile radius and dishes like Leitermacaward Oysters & Home cured Salmon, and Horn Head Dexter Beef (supplied by his brother, Thomas, who also produces Hereford beef) tell stories of family intertwined with place. All of the meat is butchered by Stephen Kerr, who also supplies Ballyare Pork, and they source Silverhill Duck from Monaghan.

Sometimes the ingredients may be unusual or under-used - Irish rabbit, for example, and Horn Head Kid Goat which is supplied by Derek’s nephew, Richard - but the originality in the cooking is as much in the creative way ingredients are combined, and in the detail, than simply in the choice of main ingredients.

Fish and seafood is well represented of course, mainly sourced from the great Donegal fishing ports of Killybegs and Greencastle, but also from Mulroy Bay Mussels, and Ivan McElhinney of Dunfanaghy, who supplies shellfish, pollock and mackerel.

There's always been a welcome emphasis on vegetables and salads too, much of which come from the brilliant An LAN Teo organic horticultural project at Killult, Falcarragh - interestingly introduced in the restaurant’s Supplier List, it includes a one-acre glasshouse, which greatly extends the range of fresh seasonal produce that can be supplied locally.

A romantic new room, The Studio, is sure to be in great demand this year - with a four-poster and in-room roll top bath, this spacious room is in the studio where Susan’s grandfather used to paint - and all overnight guests are sure to have a delicious breakfast. Including hot dishes starring breakfast meats from the famed butchers McGettigans of Donegal Town, cooked perfectly to order, and all the little treats of home-baked breads and preserves, what better way to start a Donegal day...

The Alcorns and their staff do everything at The Mill with great care and attention to detail and the food is especially wonderful, but the overall experience is always even more than the sum of its parts: this is simply a place to treasure.


To begin

• Horn Head Kid Goat
Roast slow cooked Cleggan Goat with sautéed new potatoes, smoked bacon and red onion marmalade.

• Quails eggs
Feuillete of poached Quail eggs, crisp Boilie goats cheese and Hollandaise sauce.

• Pea and Ham soup
Pea and honey Ham salad with pea soup and crispy egg.

• Leitermacaward Oysters & Home cured Salmon.
Crispy oysters with cured Organic salmon, celeriac remoulade and a ginger & garlic dressing.

• Arch Lobster raviolo
Raviolo with Lobster, crab, Scallop and sweetcorn in a brandy cream sauce.

• Irish Rabbit
Loin of Irish rabbit with rabbit spring roll, couscous, mushrooms & pistachio

The Mill Restaurant - Dessert

Something refreshing

• Passionfruit sorbet

To follow

• Killybegs Seabass
Grilled fillets of Seabass , sautéed smoked bacon, red chicory, celeriac and a red wine sauce.

• Greencastle Halibut
Grilled Halibut with a sweet pepper risotto, clam butter sauce & purple sprouting broccoli.

• Butternut squash Raviolo
Raviolo with couscous, roast spring vegetables and a sage butter sauce.

• Monaghan Duck
Pan-roast duck with sweet potato fondant, green beans and cherry brandy sauce.

• Horn Head Dexter Beef
Dexter Beef steak, Pommes Anna and mushroom purée with slow cooked shin.

• Arch Lamb
Loin, shoulder and liver of lamb with kale compote, dauphinoise potatoes, Roscoff onions & lamb jus.

• Ballyare Pork & Seared scallops
Crisp pork belly & scallops with Black pudding and cauliflower puree.


• Crispy fat chips
• Organic leaf salad with coriander & coconut dressing
• Roast vegetables
All main courses are served with vegetables and a side potato dish. Please inform us of any allergies as not all components of the dish are mentioned

Our Suppliers

Our menu is based on seasonal local produce, with the majority of our suppliers living within a ten mile radius. We offer local craft beers and a small interesting wine list.


Our small local producers include:

• Thomas Alcorn, Horn Head, Dunfanaghy (Derek’s brother) supplies Lamb and Beef, (Hereford and Dexter)

• Richard Alcorn, Horn Head, Dunfanaghy (Derek’s nephew) supplies Kid goat

• Ivan McElhinney, Dunfanaghy supplies shellfish, Pollock and Mackerel

• An LAN teo, Killult, Falcarragh supplies Organic Vegetables
"The Glasshouses" as it is known locally, is a horticultural project which uses organic methods to produce high quality fruit, vegetables and herbs, made available to the local community through shops, restaurants, and plant sales. The centre includes a one acre Glasshouse, several large polytunnels and an extensive area of arable land. It is run by a community based company; Lárionad Acmhainní Nádúrtha Teoranta (LAN Teo.) ~ Centre for Natural Resources.

• Mulroy Bay Mussels, Mulroy Bay
A family run business supplying mussels for over thirty years.

• Donegal Rapeseed Oil Company
Located in Raphoe, Co. Donegal. They are a small, locally owned and operated company in Donegal. Their crops are grown by specially selected, individual, small farm holdings dispersed throughout the county.

Breakfast menu

• Full Irish Breakfast
McGettigan's organic pork sausages & bacon, fried free range egg, potato bread, tomato, Clonakilty black/white pudding, mushrooms.

• McGettigan's sausages
McGettigan’s award winning Hickory smoked and Pork sausages with Billie’s homemade potato bread and red onion marmalade.

• Organic Porridge
with whiskey & cream / honey & mixed seeds

• Pancakes
with crispy bacon & maple syrup / bananas & maple syrup

• Eggs benedict

• Smoked fish with poached egg

• Poached egg

• Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon

• Vegetarian breakfast
Vegetarian sausage, tomato, beans, fried organic egg, mushrooms and potato bread.



Just Ask!” is a public awareness campaign that aims to encourage consumers when eating out to look for information on where the food (particularly meat) on their plate comes from, and encourages chefs to provide this information on their menus. The programme supports both large and smaller artisan suppliers, encouraging both Irish diners and visitors from abroad to support restaurants that are in turn supporting their suppliers.

Here at Georgina Campbell Guides we have always been avid supporters of the ‘eat local’ concept, and we always enjoy reading menus that have a real sense of place. The dining experience is greatly enriched by knowing that the food on your plate is inspired by the produce and traditions of the area, and sourced nearby – and we would love to see more chefs sharing that precious information with their guests.  

If you are a visitor to the area, learning a little about local food and the people who produce it adds a special extra dimension to the visit – and, for residents, it reinforces a natural pride in the good things of their locality and makes a meal all the more enjoyable.

So, we are delighted by the high standard of menus that continue to be submitted for our ' “Just Ask!” Restaurant of the Month Competition', menus that really speak of the best of Irish foods – and the dedication of both the people who make them, and the chefs who select them to create wonderful dishes with real Irish flavour for our enjoyment.



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