These days Slaithwaite has got itself a new look, discarding its old industrial image in favour of something a little smarter.
In recent times the Colne Valley village has undergone something of a renaissance and become a bustling little centre with a wine bar at its heart along with smart shops and restaurants.
With the renovated Huddersfield Narrow Canal running right through the centre, Slaithwaite now has a range of unique shops, cafes and eating places which welcome both locals and visitors to the valley.
Local street markets in summer and at Christmas and the popular Moonraking Festival continue to bring people into this vibrant village.
One of the established eating places is The Little Bridge cafe and wine bar, lodged firmly between the River Colne on one side and the canal on the other.
Serving coffees, cakes and lunches during the day and opening as a wine bar in the evening, The Little Bridge also opens three evenings a week for food.
The addition of a small veranda overlooking the river and outside seating next to the canal make it ideal for a summertime drink or meal.
Every Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday a three-course menu is served with any two courses for £13.95, main course £10.95 with starters and desserts for £4.95.
I’d heard good things about The Little Bridge so decided to go along one weekday evening to check it out. Together with my son Paul and his girlfriend Hannah, we booked our table and decided to see what was on the menu.
Although The Little Bridge is only small, it has a nice atmosphere and feels quite contemporary and ‘on trend’.
My son said it reminded him of a wine bar he had visited on the outskirts of Leeds so obviously the owners have created the right feel for the place.
The weekday menu, which had attracted quite a crowd on the night we visited, offers a choice of five starters along with six main courses.
Being a mushroom fan, I was immediately tempted by the Baked Mushrooms stuffed with Pate – a starter which was right up my street. Hannah opted for the Black Pudding, Goats Cheese and Chorizo Sausage combination and Paul went for the Thai Crab Cakes.
After a bit of a wait, our starters arrived and looked very stylish and inviting. I had three decent sized mushrooms stuffed with pate and topped with breadcrumbs, all sat on salad leaves and with a garlic mayonnaise dip. Very nice they were too, and certainly a new way to serve mushrooms.
Hannah’s black pudding (I’m not a fan) looked very nice and she said it was delicious. All three starters were soon polished off in anticipation of the main event.
Our decisions for main courses were Lamb Steak with minted gravy and Cheddar mash, Sirloin Steak with a shallot and red wine sauce and my vegetarian choice – Roasted Peppers stuffed with sweet chilli cous cous and topped with melted Brie.
This is exactly the sort of food I love and it really touched the spot. Served with homemade potato wedges, my plate came with two red pepper halves filled to the brim with cous cous and Brie. It was bloomin’ gorgeous and something I’m going to try and replicate at home.
Both the lamb and the steak got the thumbs up and as we finished our mains, The Little Bridge really started to fill up with more Tuesday night diners.
Should we have a pudding. Why not? Let’s live a little.
With only two options, we ordered one of each and an extra plate – Sticky Toffee sponge with custard and a chocolate torte concoction, complete with a cute jug of cream and a chocolate cafe curl.
Not being a fan of sticky toffee pud, I left that one to the others and tried the chocolate torte, which was very rich and decadent. Very nice though!
Too full for coffee, we paid the bill and walked back to the car alongside the canal. The Little Bridge is definitely one of Slaithwaite’s success stories and deserves its obviously, loyal clientele.
This is a pat on the back for the new Slaithwaite, which has moved with the times, while retaining its vital links with the past.
The Little Bridge is situated where the old coal shed used to be when coal arrived in the village by barges on the canal.
To sum up – a good night, tasty food, extensive choice of wine and a nice atmosphere.
The Little Bridge Cafe Wine Bar
Britannia Road, Slaithwaite HD7 5HF
Tel: 01484 846738
Opening hours: Food is served in the evenings on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and The Little Bridge is open as a wine bar until midnight (Sunday 10.30pm), closed Mondays.
Disabled: Yes, and disabled facilities.
The bill: £51.75 for food. Drinks extra.
Would you go back? Would you go back? Next time I think I’ll try a coffee and cake and check out the daytime side of The Little Bridge.