Squirrel frenzy hits mill

PUBLISHED: 12:38 06 November 2008 | UPDATED: 09:57 10 June 2010

AN Otterton restaurant was hit by a skewered squirrel frenzy, which saw diners clambering to sample the unusual delicacy. The owners and head chef at Otterton Mill were inundated with press and customer interest after the introduction of grey squirrel ke

AN Otterton restaurant was hit by a skewered squirrel frenzy, which saw diners clambering to sample the unusual delicacy. The owners and head chef at Otterton Mill were inundated with press and customer interest after the introduction of grey squirrel kebabs to their menu at a Game Fair and Apple Day. Co-owner Simon Spiller said: "The phone has been off the hook. We've had calls from national radio and television, plus journalists calling from Ireland and even Germany." Head chef Ed Chester first sampled the dish when he was nine and insists that, while it is turning heads, the same can't be said for his customers' stomachs. He said: "I'm never going to put anything horrible on my menu. Squirrel is a great meat, very tasty. It's certainly no gimmick. We have been completely selling out every day. "When we put our squirrel kebabs on the menu, we sold more than 40 portions in 90 minutes. As ever, the proof is in the eating and so far our customers have responded very positively."We've put it on the menu to help educate diners about the threat it poses to its red, indigenous rival." Mr Chester, who took over as head chef a year ago, marinates the kebab in red wine overnight before it is rolled in honey and chopped hazelnuts before being lightly barbecued. The end result is something that is "a flavour between wild boar and chicken".Mr Spiller added: "Our emphasis on game meats is entirely in keeping with the ethos of the mill where we source almost all of our food from within 30 miles of Otterton. "We are passionate about sustainably sourced food, and game meats fit extremely well with this philosophy." l The mill was last week hit by the freak floods in the village and is currently out of action while clean-up work continues.

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