Although I enjoy pie and peas and egg, beans and chips as much as the next man you don’t have to twist my arm too hard when it comes to fine dining.

A TV journalist friend who had gone on a ‘dry January’ which had mysteriously extended itself into Easter introduced me to the much raved about, Michelin-starred Man Behind The Curtain in Leeds recently for a spectacular blow out.

And I’d only recently returned home when a friend, Dr Stuart Oliver from Outlane, suggested we visit the highly rated 1885 restaurant in Stainland to celebrate his Ukrainian wife Maryna’s birthday.

I’d long harboured a desire to go there, though, when I arrived I was slightly disappointed to see that the lush ivy which adorns it appeared to have all but vanished.

Fortunately, that was the end of the disappointment as I enjoyed one of the best and most enjoyable meals of my life.

1885 restaurant, Stainland.

I’d completely forgotten as we’d talked about it going for so long but Stuart had opted for the seven-course tasting menu with drinks at £85 which, apparently, is increasingly popular.

At least for idle types it means you don’t need to agonise over what to choose to eat and drink as it’s all done for you which suited me just fine.

Kingsley Amis once said that the five words he most disliked in the English language were: “Shall we go straight in?” so I was relieved that we were given a good 15-20 minutes to enjoy a drink near the bar before being gently ushered towards our table.

First item delivered was Chef’s Amuse which was fine but nothing has ever approached the unrivalled piquancy of the one I tasted at The Box Tree in Ilkley over 10 years ago.

Next up was King scallop, cauliflower, girolles, sherry jelly served with a perfectly matched Tio Pepe followed by braised pigs cheek, pastrami, truffle jus and a refreshing Brooklyn Lager.

1885 restaurant review: King scallop, cauliflower, girolles, sherry jelly

I suppose this type of eating is a bit like a British version of Tapas, small portions of food, elegantly served with a certain brio.

By now we were well into our stride and the roasted monkfish, pineapple, star anise, chorizo, aromatic fish sauce went down a treat along with a Faultline Sauvignon Blanc.

The best was yet to come though. The delicious taste of the sirloin steak, ‘Surf & Turf’, king prawns, red pimentos, sweet and sour jus stayed in my mouth for some days afterwards. A perfectly judged Terrazas De Los Andes Malbec accompanied a memorable dish.

Desserts are given equally serious treatment too and we were not to be disappointed with a white chocolate mousse, raspberry doughnut, chilli, coconut, lime. A glass of Orange Essensia Muscat completed the picture.

And we still had room to attack the cheese board which boasted grapes, biscuits, fruitcake served with a glass of Graham’s 10 Year Tawny Port.

Stuart said: “Relaxed atmosphere in an elegant dining room which was not at all stuffy or pretentious in any respect. Staff were friendly and welcoming and gave diners space while still being attentive.

“The tasting menu courses were all beautifully presented with well thought out accompanying drinks , the portions being ample, neither tiny nor overbearing- couldn’t fault any of the seven dishes we sampled.

1885 restaurant review: Cheese board

“A delightful evening enjoyed by all and highly recommended as a venue for high class food in a stylish and relaxing environment.”

In fact my only word of caution would be for ladies who arrive in high heels – as Maryna found out – the gravel between the car park and the restaurant plays havoc with them.

The 1885’s website says: “Great pride is taken in sourcing the very best fresh seasonal ingredients to create menus buzzing with bold ideas, with dishes elegantly presented and precisely balanced in texture and taste.”

As with a certain brand of varnish this restaurant does exactly what it says on the tin.

It says something about its confidence in itself too that it opens for a mere six hours a week. Grab your chance while you can.


The Recreation Ground, Stainland, Halifax, HX4 9HF

Phone: 01422 373030



Opening hours: Monday-Thursday - Closed; Friday - 7pm-9pm; Saturday - 7pm-9pm; Sunday - 12pm-2pm

Children: Welcome Sunday lunch and early evenings

Disabled access: Yes

The bill: £270

Would you go back? Certainly