HOLMFIRTH is rapidly being turned into a gastro capital – and competition, particularly in the curry stakes, is hotting up.
Last Thursday we visited one of the newer Indian restaurants in the town centre, the Flouch Balti House at the Y Bar at the bottom of Dunford Road, and were glad we decided to give it a try.
Going back in time the building once housed the Last of Summer Wine Bar, which was a popular haunt and meeting place in the 1980s, and now the Y Bar has recreated a similar atmosphere on the ground floor of the building.
It was our first time in the place, but we were warmly welcomed by the personable Yolanda Hook, mine hostess at the Y Bar – sporting a rather natty number in flat caps.
Yolanda asked us if we had come for an Indian meal, we said we had, but liked the feel of the place, so we ordered drinks and spent some time relaxing in the bar area downstairs.
Taz and his team from the Flouch opened their town centre operation up the flight of steep stairs on the upper floor above the Y Bar a year ago.
The restaurant is surprisingly roomy catering for more than 40 diners. The decor is minimalistic but subtle with pastel shades and Asian themed paintings hung in the brick Indian arches on the walls and wooden flooring.
We found a table for two in the corner by the stairs and ordered popadoms and the pickle tray. The popadoms passed the vital test with flying colours, being warm, light, crisp and tasty. As I have said before in this column, an Indian meal can be ruined from the outset by a soggy popadom. The pickle selection was an added bonus: we were brought two separate trays with a selection of five different pickles and chutneys. There was mango chutney, pungent lime pickle, an onion salad and a lightly pickled, tasty, sweet onion pickle and a yellow mint sauce dish flavoured with mango but with no added sugar.
For starters I chose the King Prawn Butterfly, large prawns delicately cooked in spices and batter, deep fried with butter. They were light and full of flavour. It was an inspired choice. Carol opted for garlic and mushroom puri and she too was hugely impressed with the well-balanced, tasty combination. And, as with my prawns, the portions were most generous.
For mains we both opted for biryani dishes, a long-time favourite we had not tried for quite some time. The Flouch team did not disappoint.
Carol went for the king prawn biryani I chose the chicken option. Fried in spiced ghee with coconut, sultanas and rice and garnished with tomatoes both dishes were accompanied by a vegetable curry dish and, as with the starters, the portions were hugely generous.
In short we were overfaced, but the attentive, smiling waiter came to our rescue with the offer of a doggy bag takeaway. Here I must take issue with my colleague and friend Denis Kilcommons and sing the praises of the good old doggy bag. Yes it is an American thing I know, and must admit it was not something I have ever thought of having, but that said, I’m glad we took up the offer.