JUST how excited is it appropriate to be, as a grown woman, for a takeaway meal, in these lockdown-fatigued times? My culinary adventures out of the house in the last few months have taken me no further than venues in walking distance from my front door – and all have been in daylight hours.

Driving all the way to the bright lights of Stokesley (seven miles!) for a 6.30pm pick-up, therefore, felt like a Big Night Out. So much so, that in my giddiness, I got on the wrong road home and had to perform a rapid u-turn in the hope of our meal still being hot enough when I got back.

Anyway, I digress. In search of new venues to try, we settled on Il Mulino in Stokesley, the little Italian sister of The Mill pub. The ordering process was straightforward. The takeaway link on the Il Mulino website went straight to a dedicated site which took me through a number of steps, asking if I wanted pick-up or delivery, choosing a date and timeslot (any time between 4.30pm and 8.30pm), and then, most importantly, to the takeaway menu, with a wide selection of pizzas, burgers, parmos, pasta and risottos.

My sister and I were tempted by just about everything in the pasta/risotto section, but mindful of what would travel the best, opted for a wild mushroom, parma ham and rocket pizza (£10.50) and meatball, pepperoni and bolognese Calzone (£11.50) with a side order of sweet potato fries (£4).

Thrilled to have something different to do on a Friday evening other than watching repeats of Vera on ITV, I embarked on my Big Night Out to collect the food. All in all, I must have been out of the car for about a minute – a staff member was bringing out another order when I arrived, took my name, and carried our meal outside, explaining their delivery of sweet potatoes had not materialised, so our fries had been replaced with regular ones. A £2 refund and two pots of complimentary garlic dip were included by way of apology.

These things happen, and I actually prefer regular fries anyway, so no harm done, and impressed with the efficiency of the service, I set off home. One stop (to rearrange my garlic sauce pots which were rolling about alarmingly in the passenger footwell) and the minor detour later, I was home and the feast began.

The fries and half of the pizza went in the oven as they were on the borderline of being too cool, but my Calzone had retained its heat nicely and was a meaty, juicy, triumph, complete with a pot of extra bolognese. Sometimes a Calzone can be too heavy, but this dough was light and fluffy, with just the right balance of filling. The meatballs were, well, pure meat, the pepperoni not too overpowering, and the bolognese mingled nicely with the cheesy layer.

The wild mushroom, parma ham and rocket pizza

The wild mushroom, parma ham and rocket pizza

Claire reported similarly light, thin pizza dough, and although slightly saltier than she had imagined, declared her toppings tasty, and very satisfying (although we managed to cremate the rocket on the oven-warmed half). The replacement fries were crispy and came in very handy for mopping up my extra bolognese.

Neither of us could manage the whole meal in one go, so we saved the leftovers for Saturday's lunch – a good call to have something to look forward to after a long, wild walk in the windy weather the following morning.

We got two meals for the price of one (£24 with the £2 refund), which was great value, although some people with heartier appetites would surely polish off the portions in one sitting.

We thoroughly enjoyed our Friday night/Saturday lunchtime treat – and the pre-takeaway excitement was more than justified.

Now, with Boris Johnson's clear route out of lockdown being published, we look forward to paying Il Mulino a lengthier visit, when the obstacles to proper dining, such as my ability to find the right road home, and choosing food on the basis of its ability to be reheated, are removed.

Il Mulino

Church House,

College Square,



01642 713391


Ratings (out of ten): Food quality 8 Value 8 Covid security 10