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Star chefs open fourth restaurant in Honley

"We are not chucking food out. We take our time."

Uno Cucina

They call it Uno.

But the new Italian kitchen - aka Cucina Italiana - that has opened in Honley could just as well be named Quattro, for it is now the fourth outlet in the village by star chefs Richard Dunn and Wayne Roddis.

What’s more, it joins their three previous restaurants Mustard & Punch, Punch Bar & Tapas, and the Krafty Kettle, which are all situated on the same street.

Chef/directors Richard, 45, and Wayne, 41, are prepared for the obvious comparisons with Rick Stein. The chef, TV presenter and author owns six sites in Padstow in Cornwall including a bistro, a cafe, a seafood delicatessen and a fish and chip shop. Wags have re-named the town “Padstein”.

After 15 years in partnership, Richard and Wayne have solid ideas about what works.

“There are a lot of Italian restaurants in Huddersfield and they’re all very similar,” says Richard. “It wasn’t being done in the way that we wanted to do it.

“We feel that the people of Honley wanted something like this - that there was something missing.

“This is about how they eat in Italy. It’s a sharing ethos. Plus it has a family vibe where parents with children can build their own pizzas. People want more relaxed eating.”

The added appeal of Uno is that it is markedly different to the other three sites. Mustard & Punch is a modern English bistro known for game and fish. Punch Bar & Tapas has a Mediterranean vibe. And the Krafty Kettle is a gin bar and magnet for craft ale aficionados. That, says Wayne, is deliberate.

“The standard of food is the same throughout all the bases but the cuisine is totally different. Uno is our take on an Italian restaurant.”

The food is simple but considered: pizza, pasta, salad, plus a selection of Italian beers, spirits and wines.

Says Wayne: “The baby squid is the best that I have ever eaten. Our chefs have a high standard; they don’t miss a lot. We also offer white pizza with a caramelised onion base.”

Richard adds: “The best thing on the menu is the lasagne. Can’t beat it.

“We offer a selection at the table so that people are trying more of the dishes. That pushes us to change the menu more often. We have been open a month and the menu will change this week. Then we’ll change it again before Christmas.”

Richard and Wayne put their success down to hard graft. Both worked for other chefs after leaving college - Richard in Leeds at Rascasse, an independently-owned restaurant that served high-end modern English cuisine and boasted a Michelin star, and Wayne at Bradley’s in Fitzwilliam Street before joining Mustard & Punch. He entered into partnership with Richard in 2002.

They credit their landlord with nudging them into opening Uno. He bought the building, a former Londis supermarket which, previously, had been the village Co-op, and suggested it would make a new venture.

“It was the perfect spot,” agrees Wayne, who reveals that the 40-cover site was renovated and opened within six months.

The duo are firm in their belief that the concentration of their outlets in Honley is good for the village.

“There’s a good spirit here,” says Richard. “We know everyone in the neighbouring shops and we all use each other.

“Plus, we wanted people to stay in the village. Our customer base is a massive driving force. It can only be good for Honley.”

Despite the intimacy of their restaurants - none of them seats more than 50 customers - Richard and Wayne keep the energy high. But they don’t have time for egos.

Mustard & Punch in Honley

“You need to pinch yourself occasionally. We are just normal lads that have always worked. Everything has been off our own backs. We have not blown our own trumpet as much as we should have.

“We are not chucking food out. We take our time preparing it and sourcing it.

“We have got the best chefs in the area working for us and the best front of house. In fact, we couldn’t have done this without our loyal staff. They’re loyal for a reason: we treat them right and it’s a good place to work in.”

Wayne adds: “In the past we’ve done 80 hours a week, though we’ve come down to 50. We have to tune our brains to not be slaves to the stove.

“Now we’ve just made ourselves busier again. It’s weird. But cooking is what we were supposed to do.”

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Are there plans for a fifth project?

“Uknows,” quips Richard. “Watch this space.”

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