It’s a restaurant that recently won a major regional award which is more than enough reason to go and review it.
Quirky II and Tapas on Station Street in Meltham won the Restaurant of the Year award for the Yorkshire region in Food Awards England 2017 which celebrates the best in the food industry.
It’s quirky probably because it’s housed in a wonderful old Meltham building that was the site of the village’s first school in 1737 and was demolished and rebuilt in 1823. Compared to some of the buildings around here that makes it positively modern.
We thought we’d try the tapas menu but it wasn’t until the end of the meal we realised they had another menu on the go too. More of that later.
It was a cold night outside so a touch of trepidation set in when we were shown to a table right next to the door and away from all the other diners. We pointed the proximity to the door and the waiter - who could not possibly have been any politer - claimed the door would hardly be opening again.
Within seconds someone popped out, probably for a smoke.
There’s a plug-in heater next to this table which indicates they realise there’s a problem with the cold there. We switched it right up. Probably worth them putting a radiator on the wall next to it.
When it comes to so-called soft drinks I’m peculiar. I’m the only person I know who likes tomato juice. What’s more, I like it with lashings of Worcester sauce and ice. Strange to the point of freaky.
The waiter was at first bemused but then cast his mind back in time and recalled making one before. Great, we were in.
When it came it was the smallest drink I’ve ever seen ... it was almost at the point I thought they were having a laugh but the way it was served with a serious face indicated it came in just one size. Tiny. And no ice, but at least they’d spiced it with the sauce.
He then relayed some bad news to us. There were no more Mc Hoppy Wopper burgers (£7). Shame, we’d already lined up Mc Hoppy to make us happy. Never mind. But more was to follow. The baked goats cheese salad (£6) was no more either.
Still, there was plenty more to go for, and so we ordered in-house fried chips and dips (£3.70), hand rolled homemade breads (£2.50), homemade garlic bread (£2.50), strips of beef with mixed peppers (£7), fried halloumi and balsamic salad (£5), Chinese flaky duck with pancakes (£7), garlic chicken in a cream sauce (£7) and, finally, chick pea and tomato burger (£5).
The beauty of tapas is there is usually a dish that stands out ... often one that you wouldn’t normally even bother trying. The coy culinary delight here turned out to be the chick pea and tomato burger that was wonderfully spiced. I’d have had that as a large burger and probably would have been as happy as if Mc Hoppy was still around.
The one that fell short of expectations turned out to be the beef that came across as a tad bland. Also, if there was any balsamic on the salad that went with the fried halloumi then it’d win any hide and seek competition.
The garlic chicken came with lots of sauce – an ideal companion for all the bread we’d ordered and there was plenty of it served with a balsamic dip and lots of butter. The garlic bread is a miniature baguette which went well with what was left of my miniature drink.
Loved the chips – they arrived with plenty of tomato sauce and a garlic dip and the Chinese flaky duck ticked all the right boxes with the pancakes, salad and sweet chilli sauce.
When the waiter returned with the dessert menu we discovered they were on a completely different menu, which was a set price meal of a starter and main course for £17.50 or three courses for £21. Had we known about that menu earlier we may have chosen differently.
We treated ourselves to the Quirky Collection for Two which included treacle and chocolate tart, red berry cheesecake, red berry and vanilla ice cream meringue and vanilla ice cream with crushed biscuits, chocolate drizzle and Bailey’s poured on top.
All were fine with the cheesecake the standout dish – it was just so light – while the tart is for those with an exceptionally sweet tooth. I think I’ll be pouring Bailey’s on my ice-cream at home from now on, possibly along with other tipples. Not tomato juice though.
When the bill came most of the items simply said miscellaneous next to the figure so it was hard to double check what we’d had.
Quirky is a charming setting and although the meal was good there are things the restaurant needs to keep an eye on, especially since winning the award.