HOLMFIRTH is rapidly being turned into a gastro capital – and competition, particularly in the curry stakes, is hotting up.

Last Thursday we visited one of the newer Indian restaurants in the town centre, the Flouch Balti House at the Y Bar at the bottom of Dunford Road, and were glad we decided to give it a try.

Going back in time the building once housed the Last of Summer Wine Bar, which was a popular haunt and meeting place in the 1980s, and now the Y Bar has recreated a similar atmosphere on the ground floor of the building.

It was our first time in the place, but we were warmly welcomed by the personable Yolanda Hook, mine hostess at the Y Bar – sporting a rather natty number in flat caps.

Yolanda asked us if we had come for an Indian meal, we said we had, but liked the feel of the place, so we ordered drinks and spent some time relaxing in the bar area downstairs.

Taz and his team from the Flouch opened their town centre operation up the flight of steep stairs on the upper floor above the Y Bar a year ago.

The restaurant is surprisingly roomy catering for more than 40 diners. The decor is minimalistic but subtle with pastel shades and Asian themed paintings hung in the brick Indian arches on the walls and wooden flooring.

We found a table for two in the corner by the stairs and ordered popadoms and the pickle tray. The popadoms passed the vital test with flying colours, being warm, light, crisp and tasty. As I have said before in this column, an Indian meal can be ruined from the outset by a soggy popadom. The pickle selection was an added bonus: we were brought two separate trays with a selection of five different pickles and chutneys. There was mango chutney, pungent lime pickle, an onion salad and a lightly pickled, tasty, sweet onion pickle and a yellow mint sauce dish flavoured with mango but with no added sugar.

For starters I chose the King Prawn Butterfly, large prawns delicately cooked in spices and batter, deep fried with butter. They were light and full of flavour. It was an inspired choice. Carol opted for garlic and mushroom puri and she too was hugely impressed with the well-balanced, tasty combination. And, as with my prawns, the portions were most generous.

For mains we both opted for biryani dishes, a long-time favourite we had not tried for quite some time. The Flouch team did not disappoint.

Carol went for the king prawn biryani I chose the chicken option. Fried in spiced ghee with coconut, sultanas and rice and garnished with tomatoes both dishes were accompanied by a vegetable curry dish and, as with the starters, the portions were hugely generous.

In short we were overfaced, but the attentive, smiling waiter came to our rescue with the offer of a doggy bag takeaway. Here I must take issue with my colleague and friend Denis Kilcommons and sing the praises of the good old doggy bag. Yes it is an American thing I know, and must admit it was not something I have ever thought of having, but that said, I’m glad we took up the offer.

The Flouch runs a takeaway service and all the trays, tops and carrier bags were on hand so we took our biryanis and spicy vegetable side dishes home with us and popped them in the freezer.

Come Saturday night and it was chef’s night off as Carol put the trays in the microwave and we had our second curry night of the week. And Denis, please note, delightful it was too, and I am not ashamed to admit it. The only down side was that we discovered too late that we had only one small popadom left in the house – so we shared it. Ah!

We chose from the main menu, similar to that at their restaurant up in the hills at Flouch, off the Woodhead/Langsett roundabout, but the Holmfirth Balti House is currently offering set menu meals for just £9.54 on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, a Sunday buffet for £6.99, £4.99 for children under 14, a 20% discount on takeaway Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and 10% discount at any other time.

The Flouch specialises in bhuna, dupiaza, madras, dansak, korma, rogan josh, sindaloo, tandoori clay oven and biryani dishes, a range of vegetable side dishes with the option of ordering extra vegetables. There is an extensive range of starters including haryali chicken kebab, chicken pakora, aloo took, mixed kebab, chicken puri, fish biran, fish pakora, prawn/king prawn puri, chicken/lamb tikka, tandoori chicken/lamb, sheek kebab, shami kebab, meat/veg samosas, onion bargees, soup and prawn cocktail.

Chef’s special dishes include the haryali murgh massala (mild), chicken or lamb tikka massala (mild), mixed tandoori massala (mild), tandoori king prawn massala (mild), tikka butter chicken (mild), tandoori butter chicken (mild), makhani (mild), musca (mild), passanda (mild), karahi (medium), tandoori king prawn karahi (medium), bowal steak bhuna (medium), lababda (medium), tandoori palong (medium), fish palong (medium), fish achari (slightly hot), jalfrezie (hot), pathia (hot), pathia (hot) and kalinzi (fairly hot). The menu also features a host of sundries and side dishes and English options including chicken, off the bone, and chips and scampi and chips.

Restaurant partner Taz and his team are proud of their food – and so they should be. The Flouch Balti House offers a commendable value-for-money service.

The Flouch Balti House at the Y Bar

10-12 Dunford Road,
Holmfirth HD9 2DP
Tel: 01484-683007 

Website: http://www.flouchbaltihouseholmfirth.co.uk/

Opening hours: Sunday - Thursday 5pm - 11pm. Friday and Saturday 5 - 11.30pm. Closed Tuesday.

Children: Welcome

Disabled: Not at Holmfirth. Full disabled access at the The Flouch Balti House Indian restaurant, situated just off the A628 Woodhead – A616 Langsett roundabout. The Flouch Inn closed recently but the Balti is still going strong.

The bill: £45.85
including drinks

Would you go back?Yes