Milia Mountain Retreat

Hidden away at the end of a 4.5 km single-track road, the last 2.5 km of which are unpaved, the Milia Mountain Retreat could certainly be classed as in the middle of nowhere. I first visited two years ago, when I took my kids on a circular walk that started and finished there. That day we had a packed lunch out on the trail, but the smell of the cooking, while we all had a cool drink at the end of our walk, has stayed with me ever since. I knew that on this years holiday, I had to go back and eat there.

I managed to persuade everyone that doing the circular walk again, then eating, was a great idea for a family day out. So we started the walk at around eleven o’clock, mainly as we’d struggled to get our teenaged son out of his bed. This meant that we were walking through the midday heat, which wouldn’t have been too bad, apart from all the tarmac. I’d totally forgotten just have much of Walk 6 from the Rother Walking Guide: Crete was on the road, instead of the trail.

The further into the walk we journeyed, the more my wife and daughter were cursing my existence. It didn’t help that I was navigating via the Strava route map from our previous walk, rather than the guide book. We ended up turning off the main road too early and ran out of path. Twenty minutes of thrashing around uphill in the bushes, brought us back to where we were supposed to be, but if looks could kill.

Just as well that the food back at the retreat was good, otherwise I’d have been toast. The drinks arrived first though, and it was hard not to chug my Lyra Golden Ale in a oner. I’m glad I didn’t, as it’s a lovely beer. Slightly hazy, as it’s unpasteurised and unfiltered, but full of flavour. Full bodied, slightly sweet, but not cloying with it. A tickle of bitterness riding the prickle of carbonation, into a thinish, refreshing aftertaste. I’d have had a few, if I hadn’t been driving.

The food arrives, my wife and I had decided to share some appetisers, the kids had gone with mains. Our fava purée on toast were almost religious, the fennel doughnuts intriguing and the courgette flowers were nearly gone in a flash. The kids both enjoyed their dishes, but when asked for a pithy quote, reverted to type with, “tasty”.

After our table was cleared and we were debating wither or not to have pudding, there was much debate, some white cubes appeared. Each cube was topped by some sort of preserve, quince paste and bergamot jam, being two of them. We have no idea what the cube were, or what they were made with, although milk was top of, the guess list. We should’ve asked, but our brains were fried by the heat, so we all just dug in and ate them.

As for actual pudding, my son and I went for “Galaktoboureko”, a Cretan desert featuring a butter sabayon, halva semifredo and thin sheets of puff pastry, to name just a few of the components. It was stupendous, and I had to try very hard not to lick my plate. My daughter went for bitter chocolate mousse, which came with strawberry sorbet, a macaron and some thin straw stuff that none of us could place; it was, also delicious.

I go back in a heartbeat, although I think the rest of the family would veto any sort of walk first. That would be a shame, as there are loads of walks to do, some of which are signposted for easy navigation.