It was a basket of bread that did it for me.
My partner and I had a rare night out and dined at Franco’s in Almondbury, a stylish Italian eaterie in the heart of the village.
We’d been seated and the waitress took our orders and at the last minute I threw in a ‘let’s get bread, oil and balsamic’ – as a starter to our starter.
It was a mistake. The smell of the warm, crusty French baguette was so tempting I couldn’t finish my actual meal, even though we didn’t finish the bread either.
Nevertheless, I enjoyed enough of it to write a review.
Franco’s was formerly NoSH and it’s now open under a new owner and a new general manager.
We dined on a Saturday night and arrived in time for our 7pm booking, but it took a while before anyone spotted us waiting.
If I’m honest it took a while to get going, but once it did service was efficient.
We were asked if we wanted a drink first at the bar or to go straight to our table. We opted for the latter, and ordered there.
Menus arrived and we ordered food and drink at the same time, the bread arriving before our wine. We were also offered, and accepted, water and it came in a large jug.
For starters I went for the Arancini – crisp fried risotto balls, stuffed with mushroom and mozzarella and served with a red pepper and basil dip and a garnish (£6.95).
There were three risotto balls – one too many for me – but they were tasty and the dip was amazing.
My partner Paul went for the pan roasted wood pigeon on a celeriac and thyme puree with crispy shallots and red wine jus (£8.50).
We joked it was a dish right out of the Masterchef kitchen, a favourite TV programme for us where chefs always serve up celeriac jus or puree to John and Greg!
It was the first time Paul had ever had wood pigeon and it was a hit, a good portion of each ingredient and the crispy shallots added another texture.
For my main I went for the vegetable linguine (£9.95) which had courgette ribbons, peas, spinach, tomatoes and a cream sauce. It was delish, although mine had tiny broccoli/tenderstems in it and no courgette ribbons.
The other half went for a Brazilian chicken kebab (£13.95), not your usual Italian dish.
It wasn’t a kebab like the one you order after a few too many on a Saturday night. It was a posh kebab, with spicy fries, mint salad and charred flat bread.
He was expecting it would come on skewers. Instead, it was chargrilled meat with crispy flatbread and a dip – the three didn’t really combine into a kebab. He preferred his starter.
Other main dishes include pizza with toppings ranging from crayfish to blue cheese; pastas featuring seafood, meat or vegetables; and other mains such as seabass, duck and haddock; steaks and a specials list which changes.
For the vegetarians among us there’s also a goats cheese, fennel and red pepper tart tatin.
We were both too full to be tempted by a dessert, but the options included Yorkshire parkin with toffee and orange sauce; cheesecake; sticky toffee pudding; double chocolate brownie; creme brulee (£5.25); a chef’s cheese board (£5.85) or a chef’s plate – a mini selection of four desserts (£8.95).
Our meal came to £51.70 which included two glasses of wine.
I’d return to Franco’s, but in future, I’ll avoid being tempted by the bread.