You could so easily walk straight past The Watermill in Slaithwaite and never think for a moment it’s a restaurant.
But the creators of this Tardis-like bistro have thought of that which is why the menu is outside on the wall and lit up at night.
For transforming an old dilapidated stone building that was used as a packing warehouse in the past into a restaurant has certainly taken a great deal of time, effort, creativity and, no doubt, money.
And although not big inside it has a feeling of space provided by the white walls and the high ceilings – it feels airy and far more spacious than it has every right to do.
The building came with The Commercial pub just round the corner and has taken a couple of years to completely gut and rebuild.
There’s tables upstairs and then a few more downstairs where the diners can see into the kitchen.
It’s signature is fine British cuisine with a twist and says it’s all about fresh, local produce. There’s no need to travel far in Huddersfield to get top quality meat and veg.
Presentation is the key and that’s given thought with every dish and when you go through the menu that key word creativity pops up again and again. This is all about flavour – flavours that you know will work well together and others you ponder ‘I’d never have thought of that.’
We started with tempura of mackerel with crab tartar, crostini, a Dijon mustard and aioli (£7.20). You can almost hear it being said in Masterchef in that somewhat ponderous drawl – and that’s the same for every dish.
Looked good, tasted better with the finely diced herbs and tomato in the crab tartar set between two pieces of toast and the mackerel coated in a crunch factor. A delicate start that’ll set you up nicely for the main event.
Ruth’s aubergine and mushroom moussaka topped with brie, tomato concasse and a feta salad (£5.95) is a vegetarian dish that was a myriad of different flavours. It could have been heavy. It wasn’t with the warm, comforting flavours of the moussaka offset by the Mediterranean sunburst feel to the salad.
Other starters include braised pork cheeks on a cassoulet, crackling, damson jelly and cumin jus (£6.95), pan fried Queen Scallops with lardon wild garlic and saisa verde and mouselline potatoes (£6.95) and asparagus tips with parmesan custard topped with poached egg and pea shoots (£5.95).
On to the mains and we could have gone for any of them. All had the promised twist but in the end I thought I’d try a dish that many would choose.
It was the chicken breast with dauphinoise potatoes, asparagus with a bacon and tomato bread pudding with a wild garlic and wine jus (£12.95).
Plenty of sliced chicken – it needed the salt and pepper and full marks for providing a proper black pepper grinder on every table.
The bacon and tomato bread pudding was the twist here – think of it as an upmarket stuffing – and you can’t beat slightly crunchy asparagus. Also the side dish of seasonal vegetables (£1.95) were just right – not over or undercooked.
Ruth went for venison medallion with roast beetroot, fondant potato, barley and mushroom risotto and port jus (£18.95).
Venison has a strong flavour and the risotto wasn’t going to play second fiddle to it. No way. This was a dish absolutely packed with powerful flavours – one to really savour.
Other mains include 8oz ribeye steak (£18.95) and 8oz fillet steak (£21.95) both supplied by Brosters farm shop, slow roasted belly pork with a pork fillet en croute wrapped in black pudding and filo pastry, boulangere potato and spring greens (£15.95) and salmon and monkfish with vegetable ribbons, croquette potatoes and a bercy sauce (£16.95).
We shared a pud which just had to be the chocolate marquise layered with almond meringue and chocolate sauce (£5.95) – a choc lovers dream. Pure indulgence in every mouthful but would have been a tad dry without cream. We asked for some and it quickly arrived in a dainty jug which summed up the attentive service from the three young waitresses.
Other desserts include classic lemon and lime tart (£4.95), cappuccino and cherry bavaroise and tuille biscuits (£5.95) and rhubarb crème brulee with homemade biscuits (£5.95).
A relaxing evening out that gave us the twists it promised.
24 Station Road, Slaithwaite, HD7 5AW
Tel: 01484 845373
Opening hours: Mon and Tues closed,
Weds and Thurs noon-2pm and 5pm-9pm; Fri noon-3pm and 5pm-9pm; Sat noon-4pm and 5pm-9pm; Sun lunch noon-4pm and open Bank Holidays noon- 6pm.
Disabled access: Yes and a toilet
The bill: £75.75 including a bottle of wine
Would you go back? Yes