One of the best trips we’ve ever been on was to Krakow in Poland one November.
It was snowing heavily when we arrived in the city centre and we had no idea where we were, so trudged through the snow until we came across an old Polish tavern that served traditional food.
I had a stew that was served in a loaf of bread - you sliced the top of the loaf off and there was the food inside.
A brilliant meal, and Krakow is a wonderful city that I’d highly recommend.
So we thought we would try some Polish food at a small restaurant and vodka bar on the bottom of King Street in Huddersfield town centre called The Green Bottle.
It doubles as a vodka bar and is open from 12 noon to 11pm every day.
We went on a Tuesday and town was eerily quiet - some restaurants didn’t look to have anyone in them - and you can only hope things pick up towards the end of the week and into weekends.
There were a couple of Polish blokes in when we arrived and we sat downstairs right in the window although there are more seats upstairs where it has a cosier feel.
Within a couple of minutes we realised it wasn’t warm in there. In fact, we were cold until we started eating. There is a heater downstairs with simulated flames but if it was working properly it wasn’t pumping much heat out.
Restaurants need to be warm to be inviting.
So we decided we’d try the Polish soup (£3.99) - surely that would warm us up.
I went for sour soup served with white sausage, egg and bread while wife Ruth chose soup of the day which was Barley soup. It didn’t sound much but shows how wrong you can be.
Both came in huge bowls and were really a meal in themselves. And both were packed with flavour. I like to make my own soups but these were something else. I’m not a big fan of white sausage – it reared up out of the soup like an iceberg - but it had helped with the flavouring and the egg gave it an unusual twist with pieces of potato the other main ingredient.
Ruth’s barley soup looked to have carrot and potato in there too and then she hit something as she started to eat it – a large chunk of tender pork.
Although we only had spoons we could have done with knives and forks for these dishes.
Certainly winter warmers and you could feel the warmth flooding back through our veins. By the way, another option was beef tripe soup.
For mains we had strogonov (£7.99), beef stew with mushrooms, red peppers and onion served with bread and chicken shashlik (£6.99), aromatic pieces of chicken breast, pepper and onion and bacon served with small fried potatoes.
The strogonov had plenty of sauce and was a real rich, meat feast but was served with garlic bread in a pizza style and then we remembered no bread came with the soup.
Perhaps they’d run out of the Polish stuff.
The shashlik was grilled on a skewer and was OK - nothing special - but the little potatoes were great.
It also came with a Polish salad which was sauerkraut, a Polish style coleslaw and a mashed red cabbage which were all fine.
The menu features pork chops in a few dishes but it’s not a big Polish menu by any means and instead offers many pizzas ncluding one dish that would have health chiefs more than worried – a pizza burger (£8.99) which is beef burger with onion, tomato, gherkins, mayo, ketchup and mustard set within two mini pizzas.
The two Polish blokes next to us had pizza and they sure looked massive with plenty of topping.
Neither managed to finish them.
And then it was back out from the cold into the biting cold of an early November night.
The Green Bottle
53 K ing Street, Huddersfield. HD1 2PZ
Phone: 01484 548274
Opening hours: Sunday to Thursday 12noon to 11pm; Friday 12noon to 2am;
Saturday 12noon to 3am
Disabled access: No disabled toilet
The bill: £32.95
Would you go back? There’s not enough on the menu to tempt us back, and the heating was a problem