I’LL be honest from the outset – this could easily double up as a wine review. I probably spent as much time looking at the wine list in Huddersfield’s Voda Bar and Grill as I did the food menu.
There’s two reasons for that. Firstly, I’d not had a drink for four months and as this was my first taste of vino in that time it had to be a good one. Secondly, the vegetarian option was limited, meaning it didn’t take long to decide what I wanted to eat.
Voda is one of the town’s hottest night spots, packed full on a weekend with revellers. But it was on a week night – Wednesday in this case – that myself and an old university friend, Ben, choose to visit.
It’d been a few years since his last trip to Huddersfield and we chose a venue that was near to the Railway Station and St George’s Square. “Harold’s moved,” Ben said. “Don’t go there, it’s a long story” I replied. Much had changed about the town in that time and Voda didn’t exist last time he was here.
As we were shown to our seats at about 8pm, there was one other table of six in the dining area at the back of the trendy bar. We dived into looking at the menu and chatting which meant the polite waiter was told “a few more minutes” several times as he came to take our order. The menu given to us in the restaurant differed to what’s on their website – so my efforts to plan ahead were wasted.
So, first onto the wine. Ben and I decided on a bottle of white – there were countless options and we want for number 13, a Chardonnay rioja Salento. White wine is either good or bad – there’s no middle ground for me. Too sweet or tangy and I’ll crease my face, but this one was just fine. Yet it wasn’t to last long and a red Cabernet Sauvignon followed.
Wine chosen and our food order was finally placed. I went for an unusual starter for a restaurant – nachos with melted cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. The serving was hefty, the nachos slightly burned and the dish unfinished by me – though only because I was leaving room.
Ben went for the belly pork starter which looked impressive – artistically created and quickly finished off. A good decision, says Ben.
For mains I had a tagliatelle dish with mushroom and asparagus. Anything with asparagus in it and I’m ordering it. Love it, can’t cook it.
The dish came with soldiers of garlic bread and a side of salad. It was in a creamy sauce and I loved it. With only two other vegetarian options (that I could see) I’d go for that every time. It was simple but tasty.
Ben went for the 8oz rib eye steak – medium to rare and he says it was cooked exactly as requested – an important thing for steak-eaters, apparently.
There were plenty of options from the grill – it seems to be their thing. It came with chips and a pepper sauce. He found it too salty and you could actually see the cracked salt on top of the chunky chips.
Both agreed we were full, but maybe had a little room for trying a dessert after a bit of a break.
I went for the raspberry cheesecake and Ben the banoffe.
Mine was stylishly presented on a slate, cheesecake in the middle, raspberry one side, raspberry sauce the other, a chunk of clotted cream and what appeared to be a chunk of mascarpone. The clotted cream looked like a giant truffle and my sweet tooth loved it. The cheesecake was delicious – a winner as far as I’m concerned.
Ben liked his very creamy-looking Banoffe, presented like a sundae, but couldn’t finish it and the waiter asked for feedback which shows they’re listening to the customer – a good thing.
Time had ticked and the effects of the wine were felt, by me at least. By this point we were the last diners in the restaurant, which stops serving at 9pm.
Maybe they could look to introduce a few mid-week dinner offers to get the punters in because the food standard and presentation was really good – far superior than most of the other bar/restaurants in the town centre which seem to churn out pre-cooked ready meals (they know who they are!)
But Voda definitely seems to have a talented team hidden away in its kitchen.
68 John William Street, Huddersfield, HD1 1EH.
Tel 01484 545454
Opening hoursFood is served until 9pm and the evening menu runs from 5pm until 9pm
Disabled access It’s up a low step. The only toilets I could find were down some steep steps.
The bill£63.25 for three courses and wine.
Would you go back?Yes, but I’d like a few more imaginative vegetarian options and I think they’re capable of it too!