There's always that nagging doubt when it comes to a trip down Memory Lane.
Will the place you remember so fondly from years gone by be as good, or will standards have slipped alarmingly?
We needn’t have worried when it came to The Ford Inn, high above Holmfirth; it still does exactly what it says on the tin.
It’s always boasted about being a genuine country pub that does good food. Nothing flash, nothing pretentious.
It was a favourite haunt for the Atkinson family some 25 years ago, when we called in often with children Emma and James.
The pair are now all grown up and moved away but we can still remember those winter evenings in front of the pub fire with James tucking into an adult-sized portion of rainbow trout. Quite an appetite the lad had for a five-year-old.
Linda and I have been back since but not for many years so decided on the spur of the moment to give it a re-visit.
The pub, on the Greenfield Road, changed hands some 10 months ago and is now run by Ed and Nicola Hoyle.
The pair are very much hands-on, manning both the bar and the busy dining area when we arrived on a Saturday evening. We got a very warm welcome and although we hadn’t booked, got a table in the corner.
Other tables were reserved, with one party of 15 booked in for the evening.
The couple returned to the town after a spell working living and working in Spain but Mr Hoyle is no stranger to Huddersfield’s pub scene. as he helped develop Marsden’s Riverhead Brewery some 20 years ago.
His beer skills are now satisfying a demanding clientele in the Holme rather than Colne Valley and I settled on a light Spike’s Gold from the Shelley-based Small World Beers, while Linda had a Shiraz.
When they moved in the Hoyles promised to bring fresh enthusiasm to the pub and that shows in their eagerness to please. They have settled on a fixed menu with some traditional pub classics and one or two different dishes and they have been well received according to reviews.
We had plenty of time to study and handed the order over to Ed as the place began to steadily fill. But both he and Nicola were well on top of things, clearing tables quickly and showing new customers in. Clearly attention to detail is important.
The starters arrived within 10 minutes and I have to admit, both were some of the best we’ve had.
Linda opted for a salad of poached pear, Blue Stilton and walnuts and it came topped with a crisp fresh salad and a tangy blue cheese dressing. She had been a little uncertain over the Stilton but admitted the combination worked surprisingly well, with the perfect softness of the pear and the crunch of the walnuts.
I went for cod, salmon and chorizo fishcakes and again, that came with an excellent salad and a full-flavoured dressing. The smokiness of the salmon stood out with that little bite of chorizo.
Both were large portions, served on slate trays, and we relished every mouthful.
The 11 main courses range from staples such as steak, chicken Kiev and cod to smoked haddock kedgeree and a mushroom leek and Stilton Wellington.
Many sounded tempting but in the end I plumped for beef stew and dumplings. The feather blade of beef was melt in the mouth tender and the gravy rich and hearty. It came with new potatoes and roasted vegetables and the only slight gripe was that the horseradish dumplings were not as fluffy as I would have liked.
Linda’s choice of Whitby scampi was accompanied by superb twice-cooked proper chips – always a good test of a pub – and peas.
Neither of us were able to do full justice to the sizeable portions but had we read the small print, we could have opted for smaller dishes. Next time perhaps.
All in all, a trip to the past that bodes well for the future.
Greenfield Road, Holmfirth, HD9 2LS
Tel: 01484 854741
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 12.30pm - 2pm and 5pm to 8.30pm. Weekends 12.30pm - 8.30pm
Disabled access: Yes
The bill: £54.50 including drinks
Would you go back? Certainly