It’s no surprise there’s extension work going on at the Blacksmiths Arms at Kirkheaton.
This foodie pub, which sits on a hill at the top of the village, is popular with locals and couples and families on the tourist trail – and it’s always been full when I’ve been there.
Outside the Blacksmiths has stunning views over Emley Moor and Castle Hill while inside it is cosy and compact to say the least.
As anyone who has recently driven past will see, there is extension work going on which will eventually allow diners to breathe a little easier.
Chris and Verity Parker cleverly use the space they have available and it’s no surprise they want more than the current 47 covers.
The extension work underway will see the pub remodelled and could almost double dining capacity when it’s completed by early spring next year.
Chef Chris, however, stresses that until then the revamp is very much a work in progress.
On my last visit here I commented on the size of the portions – not the size of the restaurant – so my dining companion Sian and I gave the starters a miss.
No offence, Chris, but the portions are too big for me – if I’m to leave room for dessert.
There’s always a specials board at the Blacksmiths and they’re usually pretty special. Spoiled for choice would be an apt description and there literally is ‘something for everyone’ on the menu.
Sian went for the blackboard and the locally-farmed venison casserole cooked in red wine and topped with fresh herb dumplings (£14.95).
That was a great choice. The meat was tender and the sauce rich and heartwarming and, in true Blacksmiths traditions, it was a generous portion.
There were not one but two lamb shank dishes on the menu – one on the specials board – but I was tempted by the mint mash offered by the regular menu. The slow-roasted lamb shank with mint mash and cranberry/red wine sauce (£13.95) was super.
The lamb just fell off the bone and the mash was smooth, creamy and delicious with the coolness of the mint. Loved it. A pint of Elland Blonde also hit the spot nicely.
So now for those homemade desserts (£4.95 each). Well I had to leave room, didn’t I? Lots of choice again and Sian chose the double chocolate cheesecake. It was death-by-chocolate rich and was served beautifully with vanilla ice cream and decorated with chocolate sauce.
My belly yearned for the sticky toffee pudding, the jam roly poly or the treacle sponge but my head wanted something lighter.
Head won the internal struggle and the order went in for the homemade apple and cherry pie with ice cream. To be honest I was a bit disappointed. I thought the fruit seemed to lack, well, ‘fruitiness.’
I still polished it off so maybe it was my belly taking umbrage at missing out on the stodge.
Belly was rewarded, however, with an Irish coffee. And belly was very happy with that.
So good luck to Chris and Verity in their plans for the future as they work to make his little gem of a place an even bigger success.
Heaton Moor Road, Kirkheaton, HD5 0PH
Phone: 01484 422529
Opening hours: Food – Mon-Sat noon-9pm. Sun noon-8pm.
Disabled access: Please ring
The bill: £55.25 (including drinks)
Would you go back? Been several times!