Mustard and Punch has established itself as  a permanent fixture since opening 19 years ago in Honley.

The restaurant, which likes to call itself a bistro these days, has carved out a place for itself at the heart of the village. Owners Rick and Wayne prepare and cook the food themselves, use local suppliers, attend food fairs and host a number of events, including the annual clay pigeon shoot.

It’s been some years since I ventured over the Great Divide between the Colne and Holme Valleys to Mustard and Punch, but last Friday night I decided to risk it, along with a couple of friends.

Sue should be good for an impartial judgement, as she’s a top golf referee.  Anyone who can master the intricacies of the archaic rules of the Royal and Ancient should find a restaurant review a doddle.

We literally ran into the restaurant, avoiding the driving horizontal rain of the Holme Valley (it was only drizzling in the Colne Valley). Bursting through the door, we found ourselves in the small bar area and  immediately received a warm welcome from a woman we presumed to be the maître d.

The interior is bijou bistro – small,  cosy even,  with earthy colours and wooden floors, tongue and groove planks along one wall alongside an impressive wooden rack of wines and champagnes.

The other wall is a homage to famous restaurants, with menus from top eateries around the world as well as a Concorde  inflight dining card. The halogen lighting  is mood-creating rather than overpowering.

There’s a downstairs too, but we didn’t venture that far. Overall the atmosphere was  charming and relaxed. We could have worn jeans (which I did) or a party frock (which I never would) and neither would have seemed out of place.

Homemade bread rolls and a selection of menus were promptly brought to the table by a young waitress who was obviously new to the game. But what she lacked in experience she more than made up for in enthusiasm and eagerness to please, which only added to the evening’s pleasant ambiance.

Before 7.30pm on Tuesdays to Fridays  and 7pm on Saturdays, an Early Bird menu is on offer at £22.50 for three courses and half a bottle of wine. We ordered two of these and one  à la carte meal to put the eatery through its paces.

The waitress (not our ingénue) did the Early Bird wine a disservice by describing it as “dry to medium.” The Spanish Castillo de Pedra Viura was in fact dry and flowery with a wonderfully crisp finish.

Unlike some fixed menus, there was something to suit everyone here, with a choice of five dishes for each course. For starters there was smoked salmon, grilled black pudding, fishcake, a generous portion of brie in a light beer batter and  a parsnip soup which was “rich and flavoursome,  delicately spiced”, according to Sue.

The pan fried king scallops from the à la carte (£9.50) were large, sweet and as good as any I’ve eaten, a glorious start. Served with caramelised cauliflower, rocket and toasted pine nuts, the only fault was a slightly heavy hand on the salt grinder.

Early Bird mains included  chicken breast, salmon and local rump steak. The braised ox cheek was surprisingly tender and delicate, and served with spring onion crushed potatoes.

I chose local game stew, partly because the menu boldly stated: ‘Game Dishes May Contain Lead Shot.’ Mine didn’t, but it did have rabbit, hare and pheasant and arrived on a layer of divine creamed potato purée. There wasn’t a very distinctive taste from any of the game, but overall it was pleasant.

The large glass of Argentinean Malbec from the extensive wine menu was smooth and elegant, a perfect complement to the game.

Perhaps the one slight disappointment was the à la carte sea bass (£16.50) with crayfish, tomatoes and pea fish cream. “It lacks a bit of oomph,” said Sue: “competent, but forgettable.”

The desserts, however, were not. The homemade ice creams were good, but the lemon posset was even better, bursting delectably on to the tongue.

VERDICT: Relaxed, friendly atmosphere, the  Early Bird is good  value for money for the level of food and wine.

Mustard and Punch

6 Westgate Honley, HD9 6AA

Tel: 01484 662066


Opening hours: Food orders: Tuesday  to Saturday 5.30pm to 9.30pm. Closed Sunday and Monday 

Children: Welcome

Disabled Access:@No, one-step access

The bill: £26 a head including drinks

Best deals: Early Bird 

Would you go back? Definitely