WHEN Portuguese hospitality manager Ricardo Victor visited Linthwaite for the first time last year, he instantly fell in love with the place.
He was captivated by the rugged character of the hills, the picturesque valley and wonderful panoramas.
Ricardo, from Portugal’s second city of Porto, had two decades of experience in the hotel business. He had been managing hotels in Britain for five years when he decided it was time to run his own pub restaurant.
After visiting a number of properties in different areas, he arranged a viewing at the Bull’s Head at Blackmoorfoot. As soon as he saw it, he knew that this was the one and on November 21, 2011, his dream of running his own place came true.
In the weeks since the opening, the Bull’s Head has been steadily building up a reputation for good food and a friendly welcome and has a growing band of loyal customers.
"I fell in love with it here straight away. It is an amazing area," enthused Ricardo.
"The views here are fantastic and the whole area has a beautiful character. I like the Yorkshire people as well, they are very close to the Portuguese; very straightforward, they say what they think."
Four of us went along for a meal on a Friday night recently, including Wendy and Alvan from Crosland Heath Golf Club, doyens of the local restaurant circuit.
On arrival in the car park, the changes are evident straight away. The signage is new, tasteful and slightly understated and outside are new wooden benches under hanging baskets flowing with greenery.
Step inside the Bull’s Head and you arrive in a warm and buzzy bar area with an atmospheric smell of woodsmoke from two roaring fires. We were immediately welcomed by Ricardo and his small staff.
It was a good beginning: "Very inviting and warm on a cold winter night," said Alvan.
I’ve travelled and worked in Portugal many times and have always found the Portuguese to be extremely friendly and relaxed people.
Ricardo has somehow managed to transport this warm Mediterranean ambiance to a hostelry on a windswept hill high in the Colne Valley.
Although many of the listed wines were beyond the limits of the Examiner budget – particularly the £150 Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque ‘02 vintage champagne – the house wines were well priced. We were impressed with the Australian shiraz and Chilean sauvignon blanc, both £13.95.