HOLMFIRTH had a great secret. Had, because from today it’s blown wide open so the whole of Huddersfield knows.
It’s got a cracking Chinese restaurant tucked away above a super-trendy bar.
Both could not be further from the Compo, Clegg and Foggy fog of golden oldie nostalgia that shrouds the town.
The Y-bar at the bottom of Dunford Road close to the heart of the town could have been plucked from Knightsbridge and transported there. It’s that trendy with its open plan, spacious feel, leather seats and vibrant retro 70s wallpaper.
As soon as we walked in, the bar owner asked if we were there for a Chinese.
Indeed we were and she directed us through the door and up the stairs.
But this is not a restaurant that should be tucked away, and once up the stairs you don’t feel it is. Once more it’s bright and open.
The bare brick and orange walls nestle well with the white tables and chairs. Yet it’s warm and has a kind of chic cosy feel.
The menu – which also offers a takeaway option at around two-thirds the price of the restaurant – is extensive.
All the Chinese favourites are there – dim sum, satay, Szechwan, sweet and sour and fried rice – but keep an eye on the specials.
The starter just had to be the aromatic crispy Peking duck with pancakes.
The waiter and waitress could not have been more attentive, yet never overdoing it.
Politeness is their watchword and when the starter came out so did the white gloves. Were we going to be treated to some magic?
No, it was just a nice touch while the duck was prepared in front of us.
Crispy it certainly was, yet not dry, and it came with sauce, spring onion and tiny pancakes so small they bordered on the cute.
For one main course we were hooked by the whole steamed sea bass with ginger and spring onion. For the other we stayed traditional with the chicken Szechwan.
Side dishes were egg fried rice – you could see and taste the egg – and bamboo shoots with water chestnuts. Healthy or what?
The waiter came to explain a small delay between the starter and main course as the sea bass would take 15 minutes to poach.
Now that’s customer care. In fact, it didn’t even feel to be a wait.
When the sea bass came the white gloves went on again as it was lovingly dissected by the waiter. I think the technical term would be deboned.
The chicken Szechwan was a chunky dish with big colourful vegetables and all in a perfectly-spiced sauce.
OK, so it’s not the cheapest Chinese around, but it’s not meant to be. This is well-cooked food in good surroundings with excellent service.
Ideal if you’re trying to impress that special someone as Valentine’s Day looms ever nearer.
Mrs Hirst was certainly impressed. Shame it wasn’t Valentine’s Day come to think of it.
It’s worth the drive out to Holmfirth on an evening – especially when the weather starts to pick up and the evenings get lighter.
The bar and restaurant are close to the River Holme – with terrace overlooking the flowing waters – and you’re sure of a warm welcome in both.
Venue China restaurant, above the Y-bar, 10-14 Dunford Road, Holmfirth.
Contact 01484 686756
Open Tuesday to Sunday 5pm to 10.30pm.
Disabled Access There are steps up to the restaurant.
The bill £50.19 for two including wine.
Would you go back? Absolutely.