WHEN Andy Ratcliffe heard that his local pub, the Junction in Golcar, was closing, he decided there was only one option.
Despite their complete lack of catering experience, the Mini spares dealer and his wife, Kate, bought the building, gutted it and turned it into the Colne Valley’s hippest new bar: Junction One.
Spurred on by their initial success, the couple then purchased the former Weaver’s Shed and, after major renovation works lasting over a year, re-opened it as The Weavers six weeks ago today.
The 18th century cloth finishing mill now houses a restaurant with a bar and three dining rooms catering for some 70 covers, excluding outdoor seating.
Scheduled for completion soon are a function room, five bedrooms and a bridal suite, as well as an ‘orangerie’ where diners will be able to enjoy balmy outdoor evenings in Golcar this winter (with the help of a few industrial-sized heaters....)
The Weavers is following in the footprint of a restaurant which had earned an enviable reputation for top notch nosh.
The front area of the large building is now taken up with a relaxed, if somewhat glitzy, bar set in traditional surroundings.
Distressed floorboards, sandstone walls and leather Chesterfields combine with the buzz of the mixed-crowd clientele to create a convivial ambiance.
The Weavers’ bar has become a popular place to stop off for a drink at weekends, before heading on elsewhere.
It also has the distinction of being one of the very few places in the Colne Valley where you can have sex on the beach....and for less than a fiver!
The stone-flagged dining rooms are arranged in linear fashion, with the final room catering for larger groups. This is an excellent idea. Sweet nothings whispered by couples on romantic nights out won’t be drowned out by raucous party goers on the next table.
We ordered mussels (£5.95) and slices of smoked duck breast with rhubarb compote and walnut bread (£7.45) for starters.
The tasty mussels arrived in a mound, rather than a mountain, but were sufficient for Trish. The pink duck breast was moist, tender and delicious, the walnut bread a delight.
There are eight choices for each course. Other starters included tomato soup, pig’s cheek, pan fried king scallops and artichoke, blue cheese and smoked bacon salad.
Wines ranged from £15 to £35. We would have preferred a bigger choice at the bottom end, but the Chilean Monte Verde (cheapest on the list) was very good – crisp, dry and fruity, comparable with some good New Zealand sauvignon blancs. And we loved the designer wine bucket it came in.
Staff were friendly and attentive, although our main courses arrived with barely a gap after the starter. Getting service just right at the beginning is always difficult for new eateries.
Trish had a generous fillet of sea bass. The copious quantity of butter sauce may have been a bit too much for some, but not for Trish, who thoroughly enjoyed the fish, which was crispy on the outside and succulent on the inside.
It was served with crayfish and in-season samphire, an edible coastal plant which is becoming increasingly popular in modern British restaurants.
I threw caution to the wind and ordered the roast fillet of pork with caramelised scallops on a bed of spinach.
Never in a million years would I have thought of cooking scallops with roast pork, but what a lovely surprise. Both were mouthwateringly good. The delicate flavours and tender textures complemented each other perfectly.
Both dishes were £14.95 and other mains included Yorkshire ribeye, rose lamb, cod and Scottish salmon. We added sides of home-made chips and roasted courgettes, both £2.50 and excellent.
Many dishes are locally sourced, and the staff are local too. The Ratcliffes are “passionate about Golcar” and very keen to use local products and people, although they have had to look further afield for their chef Alex Knott. The young man, who previously worked at Anthony’s in Leeds, comes from Scapegoat Hill.
The beautifully-presented cheese board on the next table, complete with bijou jar of home-made chutney, looked very tempting.
We finally settled on something sweeter to share and were just tucking into our splendid raspberry sorbet with a light coulis in a brandy snap basket when a loud voice announced: “You’re not doing another flipping review, are you?”
A guilty glance at my notebook was followed by: “You are, aren’t you!”
It was our neighbour.
Oops, we’d been rumbled. Time to go.
Verdict: A welcome addition to the growing number of good restaurants in Huddersfield.
The Weavers Bar and Restaurant
88 Knowl Road, Golcar, HD7 4AN
Tel (01484) 654284
Opening times Seven days a week, Monday to Saturday: noon to 2.30pm, 5.30 to 9.30pm (bar open later). Sunday: noon to 8.30pm
Disabled: Full access.
Bill: £68 for two, including a bottle of wine.
Would you go back? Yes, we’ll be back.