Over the last 10 years or so countless pubs have closed down in the Huddersfield area.
Some have had sad endings and fallen into dereliction before finally being bulldozed or transformed into flats.
Others though have been given a new lease of life – and a classic example is the old Saddle pub on Lidget Street in Lindley.
For that has now become the Lindley Tap restaurant.
Walk in and you unmistakably realise that it’s a former pub – after all, the bar is right there in front of you.
And although not a huge pub, they have created a feeling of space for this bar and restaurant. By the way, if you like gin it’s the place for you as it has a special gin menu.
There’s plenty of room between the seats and tables – they could have crammed others in but clearly took the decision that less is more.
It only opened on Friday, July 21 and when we went the following Monday it was busy. Yes, every table was taken and it had taken several calls to get through as the phone was forever ringing the engaged tone.
It turns out the manager had been returning all the calls where people had left messages wanting to book tables.
So it’s a place in demand and with thousands of houses within walking distance and hundreds more being built it’s an area with a potentially large, loyal customer base.
Service was excellent from a young waitress who has a natural ability to communicate with customers. That’s important.
When it comes to food it’s predominantly surf and turf – fish, burgers, steaks and posh kebabs.
So first off we thought we’d do a spot of fishing with the fish sharing board (£12 for two) which was sea bass, salmon and a crab cake served with wild rocket, artisan bread and a dip of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to dunk it in.
A light starter with the delicate sea bass and salmon offset by their crispy skins and a crunchy coating to the crab cake which was more mac than overcoat. Even the bread was lightweight – nothing heavy here – and was ideal to dip into the balsamic and olive oil. Doing that really is one of the simple pleasures of culinary life and we asked for a refill which arrived quickly.
Onto the mains and wife Ruth had an 8oz sirloin (£16) served with a large field mushroom (how do they know it was in a big field?), salad and homemade chips.
I went for the lamb rump, described as a strong lamb flavour (always good if you’re going for lamb) with a slight fat covering on top to keep the meat moist and tender. Again it was served with chips and salad.
Ah, you can tell homemade chips – just so soft and moreish. The lamb came sliced and was the tenderest I can remember having for ages – every mouthful a delight. And the same for the sirloin. Even the mushroom was packed with flavour.
For dessert we shared a vanilla brulee and shortbread. Perfect inside and the crispy top reminded me of brandy snap we’d buy at the fair on Leeds Road back in the early 1970s.
Memories, you can’t beat them.
And although many will remember the Saddle, it’s reincarnation bodes exceptionally well for its future.
Lindley Tap Bar and Grill
56 Lidget Street, Lindley, HD3 3JR
Phone: 01484 643639
Opening hours: 10am until late seven days a week with last orders for food at 9pm (8pm on Sunday)
Children: Yes, but ideally no later than 8pm as it is a bar as well as a restaurant
Disabled access: One small step going in but plenty of room inside for a wheelchair. No disabled toilet.
The bill: £60.15
Would you go back? Yes.