HOLMFIRTH has recently been noted for its quantity – and quality – of Indian takeaways.
If that is not reason enough to visit the quaint town, here’s another very good one – a visit to one Holme Valley pub that has undergone a fantastic transformation.
When the former White Hart on Towngate closed, it was taken over by Jonny Holmes – who had made a great success of the Swan and Commercial in Slaithwaite – and he created Brambles – a modern, vibrant British cafe bar.
Word had got out that the food was top drawer and, along with the bar that stocked a great selection of cask ales, we just had to go and try it out.
Brambles boasts its use of locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.
They say: “We think it’s extremely important to help support other local businesses. All of our food is freshly prepared to order – we serve fresh food as fast as we can.”
We went one evening, not long after they had launched a new menu – and it was an exciting prospect.
We were not let down.
First job was to peruse the real ales on offer.
There were three pumps of Brambles house beer – two bitter and a dark mild which are brewed locally at Empire Brewing in Slaithwaite.
The four other pumps included real ales from other independent breweries Great Heck, Milltown, OMB and Brew Co, plus one pump which permanently serves hand pulled cider from the Pure North Cider Press at Holmfirth.
So, armed with a pint of Blonde Ambition and a Yorkshire Pale Ale, we took our seats and were warmly greeted by the waitress who was excellent throughout. Despite being the only member of serving staff on duty that evening, she was friendly and attentive.
The menu was an interesting surprise.
There was a good selection of starters which were selected from the lunchtime menu (served Monday to Saturday from noon).
I plumped for the pork, chicken and bacon terrine which was served with an apricot and pistachio chutney and toasted sourbread dough (£5.95), while the crispy duck wantons served with cucumber noodles, spring onions with plum and chilli sauce was Dale’s selection (£6.95).
The quality of the ingredients really shone through.
My pork, chicken and bacon terrine was a taste sensation. It melted in the mouth while the apricot and pistachio chutney added a sweet lift to the dish. In fact, it was of those starters that I didn’t want to end. It was so good that, despite the generous portion, I could have eaten it all again.
Dale commented that his crispy duck was fantastic as well. The wantons were light and packed full of flavour and the plum and chilli sauce really gave the dish some zing.
Other mouthwatering temptations included smoked salmon, crayfish and prawn salad with pickled cucumber; spicy salmon fishcakes with apple and ginger dressing; and feta, spinach and red pepper pastries with chunky hummus and marinated olives (£5.95 to £6.95).