The Spring Rock Inn at Upper Greetland is in the glorious, timeless English tradition of the classic country pub.
I have enjoyed visiting it with friends over the years and from the red telephone kiosk on the main road it radiates an undeniable rustic charm.
Situated in the middle of nowhere it is the perfect pub for a winter’s day when the real fires come into their own.
Fortunately when my friends Soozy, the most glamorous dining companion imaginable, and Lorne, a top freelance photographer, came with me it was still balmy enough to have briefly considered eating outside though common sense prevailed in the end.
Somehow, much to my chagrin, I had forgotten England’s crunch World Cup qualifying match against Poland and arranged to dine that evening.
All the regulars were enjoying sitting on the edge of their seats while we inspected the ales and wines on offer in what has to be one of the most inviting bars around.
Wines are displayed in crates above and after selecting our drinks we plumped for an excellent bottle of smooth Argentinean red.
In a cosy corner we perused the menu occasionally dashing over to catch up on the England match as the roars echoed around.
Soozy is a Tapas-kind-of-a-girl so it was no surprise when she decided to go for the grilled Halloumi starter.
It looked inviting and she generously gave me a slice but commented: “Not very inventive but oil ‘n’ salad was nice plus portion was generous. Too much balsamic though.”
Lorne fared better with his mushroom soup which was hot and tasty. “Why do so many restaurants struggle to serve hot soup?” he asked.
I love prawn cocktail. Ideally it should have a pungent sauce and large juicy prawns, a tangy lemon and brown bread.
Hmm. The brown bread was there but the prawns though numerous were small and the sauce not all that sharp and zingy. Aah, well.
At least the conversation was sharp and zingy and we had a whale of a time laughing and joking for a couple of hours.
Our male waiter friend was obliging and friendly though Soozy, thought the service was a little slow.
Onto the mains she chose rack of lamb from a list of at least 12 traditional dishes including old favourites such as beef lasagne, meat and potato pie and homemade chilli.
There’s a blackboard for daily specials too though from an admittedly somewhat hazy recollection there didn’t seem to be as many as I’d recalled.
Lorne was in fish mode so opted for the beer battered haddock with chips and mushy peas.
I love fillet steak with a punchy peppercorn sauce.
Unfortunately, the steak sauce was only listed under sundries so it was only after I’d eaten it without that I realised it was on offer. Annoying.
Apart from that it was fine and the curly fries delicious.
So what did Soozy think? “Rack of lamb was tender and tasty but would have preferred it pinker.
“Mint gravy was a bit gloopy but tasted good. Veg good, particularly mange tout which was gently cooked and not overdone. Likewise carrot batons. Chips and roast spuds average. Nowt special.”
And Lorne? He was delighted with his spectacular whale-sized haddock which indeed looked not unlike Moby Dick on his plate.
Amazingly, we still had room for desserts. Lorne, ever the arch-traditionalist, plumped for chocolate ice-cream while Soozy opted for Bakewell tart.
She said: “It didn’t have enough fruit and it was a bit dry but texture overall was OK. Nice and nutty.”
I had a sponge pudding which, again was OK but nothing special.
A liqueur coffee for me and two teas and coffees rounded things off.
So what did my guests think overall?
Lorne: “The pub restaurant has a warm inviting feel with a great selection of wines behind the bar. The dining area is comfortable with rustic decor and plenty of space.
“The waiter was polite and, like the pub itself, slightly quirky.
“The landlord and his chums sat watching the football on TV.
“Anywhere else I might have found this annoying, but here, in this out of the way, friendly pub, it didn't seem to matter, as we enjoyed ourselves in an out of the way corner.”
Soozy: “Beams and deep red walls and carpet, with wooden benches, gives traditional cosy feel to decor.
“Service a little slow at first but always friendly.
“Overall, ideas and sentiment are on right tracks but execution needs a little work. Good ingredients, just need a bit more finesse.
“Better than average pub grub but got a way to go to be more gastro.”
And what did I think?
A bit disappointed, I recalled it as having rather more zingy food – it’s quite a while since I’d eaten there but I seem to remember dishes like King Prawns in tangy chilli sauces and it having a more Tapasy-feel to the menu.
Like the England football team – work in progress.
Spring Rock Inn
Norland Road, Upper Greetland, Halifax, HX4 8PT
Tel: 01422 377722
Opening hours: All day from noon
Children: I’m sure I’ve seen them!
Disabled Access: Phone for details
The bill: £96 for three course dinner for three adults including a bottle of wine and tea/coffees.
Would you go back? Certainly