SOMETIMES when an eating place is right on your doorstep, you tend to forget about it in favour of other local restaurants further away.
For me, Durker Roods Hotel at Meltham is just a few minutes away from home but it’s a good while since I’ve been to the grand former home of tractor builder Sir David Brown.
In recent times the hotel has been taken over by new owners who have revamped the restaurant, bedrooms and menus, and given it a new, much fresher look.
Mind you, on the evening we visited it didn’t need much help. Bathed in spring sunshine, the elegant house looked at its glorious best and the gardens full of early colour and spring blooms.
We’d heard on the Meltham village grapevine that the popular Early Bird offer of two courses for an unbelievable £6.95 per head was back on.
Seeing as one of our group was celebrating a birthday, we decided to give it a try and have a get-together close to home.
The hotel is now in the care of Richard and Pauline Hough and as the former home of industrialist Sir David Brown, the house still retains its grandeur and is in a lovely setting just on the edge of Meltham village.
The new owners are keen to promote the hotel’s links to the tycoon who built up David Brown Gears, David Brown Tractors and at one stage owned Aston Martin.
The house was originally built as a private residence in 1870.
Five of us met outside Durker Roods on a lovely sunny evening and despite having lots to talk about, set about choosing our starters and main courses.
The Early Bird works like this – five starters, five mains and six puddings to choose from which means you can either have a starter and a main, a main and a pudding or even a starter and a pudding.
Sitting down in the bar area, we um’d and ah’d over what to order from the menu which seemed to offer something for everyone. In the end we decided on paté starters for three of us, haddock gougons with tartare sauce and a throwback to the 1970/1980s prawn cocktail.
My gougons were really tasty with plenty of fish in the crisp batter while the paté eaters enjoyed their smooth paté, bread and salad. The only problem was that (and this happens everywhere) there’s always too much paté and not enough bread or toast. Meanwhile our prawn cocktail eater had a very generous portion, served on a plate with plenty of salad.
Our main courses followed swiftly and included my roast of the day, two haddock gougons served as larger main portions, chicken chasseur with roast potatoes and pan fried sea bream served with crushed new potatoes and dill mayonnaise.
All eyes went to the sea bream when it arrived as this looked delicious, beautifully presented for an Early Bird and well worth the money. My roast beef was delicious and served with a rich gravy, a huge Yorkshire pudding, small roast potatoes and just enough fresh vegetables.