It's very strange having your pre lunch lager with Cilla Black looking over your shoulder.
Not far away there was also Tommy Trinder and Del Shannon. But when Batley Club was in its heyday all the celebrities stayed at the Black Horse, Clifton, (just off junction 25 before you get to Brighouse) and after sampling the food on a set Sunday lunch you can see why the stars from the black and white photo era flocked to this cute little pub off the M62.
We noticed there’s a £50 a head, dinner B&B offer which is cracking value based on this experience.
The rooms look good on the website and would make a weekend extra special. It also includes choices off the a la carte menu.
Click the video player above to take a tour of the Black Horse Inn
Back to the day in hand.
The key to a good Sunday lunch has, in our house, to be based on the quality of the roast beef – and this was as good as it gets.
We’ve done the lot, been through a slow-cooked brisket era and roast double rib special. On asking, to satisfy our curiosity based on admiration, the Black Horse’s turned out to be topside.
Usually you think of this as a hefty slab of uninspiring meat without much personality. This had the “wobble” factor which suggests a good medium to rare and it was cooked just right, sliced just right and wobbles just right so it had a melt in the mouth meaty quality rather than it being a chewy chore.
Tremendous especially for posh pub grub, and it was accompanied by a quality crisp and satisfyingly large Yorkshire pud, crunchy mange touts, creamy carrots and swedes mix, piquant horseradish and a great gravy.
They were also catering for a wedding when we were there so imagine nuptials there must be extra special.
Because of that we couldn’t go to the courtyard outside in the sunshine which was a pity so we stayed inside with Cilla and the stars of the 70s.
We had always thought the Black Horse was for “special” events only but at £23 for three courses and two for £19 this needn’t be the case with a Sunday lunch.
Before the first course there was a hefty slice of yellow savoury bread accompanied by a quenelle of butter with celery salt.
The bread was yellow and bouncy with a crispy crust and the butter... well buttery. Paul Hollywood would have applauded this bake and it was a true taster of the quality of what was to come.
Starters were a pigeon breast salad – again perfectly cooked and another tricky tester – and I would have preferred a little more black pudding in among the leaves and dressing. (But then I love the stuff especially fresh from steamers in Burnley market with mustard.)
My wife went for fish cakes. Two, about 8cms round with salmon and lemony insides, a perfect crusty exterior a delicious hollandaise creamy, piquant sauce and curried little florets of cauliflower. Delicious.
By now the intense, yet well-spoken row on the table next door had cranked up with serious words being exchanged between a couple in clipped voices. But not everyone can be as well-behaved as the Wrights ... not before the wine kicks in anyway.
The perfect roast with a perfect pud as mentioned above followed. The roasties could have been fattier for Caroline who, she would agree, is not exactly in a healthy living phase and we could have eaten six rather than three but then we are both greedy.
We perused the pudding menu having already eaten ourselves full so we went for a sharer of a stack of brioche with peach, amaretto, honeycomb, ice cream. Again bang on.
The red wine was a French Grenache, velvety and warming and left us craving more. That was the best red we’ve had out for ages.
Indeed that was the overall summary. We left heartily agreeing that that was some of the best cooking locally we’ve had for a long time.
Anyone who had a heart (and who likes top cooking to make a Sunday lunch special) would agree with Cilla and co!
The Black Horse Inn
198 Towngate, Clifton, Brighouse, HD6 4HJ
Tel: 01484 713862
Opening hours: Restaurant — lunch noon-2.30pm and evening meal from 5.30pm-9.30pm apart from Sundays which is noon-8pm.
Disabled access: Not really and no disabled toilet
The bill: 3 courses £23.95, 2 courses £19.95
Would you go back? Oh yes!