We’re visiting family in Huddersfield and in need of some sustenance. This place comes highly recommended by my favourite daughter and her charming partner, so the four of us take the short trip to Mirfield to check it out. A steak dinner is many people’s idea of the perfect default dining option, but it’s depressingly difficult to find a decent one. Those ‘tough-as-shoeleather-dry-as-the Sahara’ offerings are so often the norm, we begin to see them as inevitable. So it’s truly heartening to discover a place that actually gets the formula right.
At first glance, I’m somewhat doubtful, because the dining area is huge – room after room, packed with eager punters – and it’s also part of a sizeable chain, which is often an indication of impending mediocrity. With this many covers, how are they ever going to maintain their standards, I wonder? Well, I needn’t have worried. Our companions have warned us that portions here are on the hearty scale, so for starters the four of us share a plate of nachos. The hand cut tortilla chips come laced with Cheddar cheese sauce, tomato salsa, sour cream, guacamole and some decently punchy jalapeños – just enough to get our taste buds going and to accompany our opening salvo of drinks.
We’re fans of ribeye steak, so we both order the 12 oz variety, while our companions opt for slices of rump. To be honest, the menu offers just about every cut you could possibly think of, including on the bone, off the bone and all points in between. The steaks arrive promptly, each accompanied by our individual choice of sauce in a separate jug. We also get a ‘wedge’ – a hefty chunk of iceberg lettuce, which comes with a choice of four dressings (I go for bacon and honey mustard, which is terrific). There are regular or sweet potato fries and a generous slice of what the restaurant calls ‘onion loaf’, which is sweet and crunchy and really nice to have on the plate. Just for interest’s sake we also try a side portion of lobster mac n’ cheese, which is everything you’d expect it to be, gooey and comforting, with hefty chunks of crustacean thrown in for good measure. The steaks themselves are perfectly cooked, thick and succulent, tender enough to cut with an ordinary knife (though we are supplied with sharper ones). All steaks are premium graded and matured for at least 30 days. What else can I tell you? It works, totally and at a decent price – a ribeye steak comes in at just under £20.
After that, we’re pretty satiated but selflessly (and purely, you understand, for the sake of this review) we order a sharing plate of four desserts and play that game of ‘not wanting to be the last person to take a spoonful’, so we each take smaller and smaller amounts until one brave individual (not me, I promise!) shame-facedly snatches up the last crumb. By this time we’re well in to the second bottle of prosecco, so I barely remember what the pudding actually comprises, but it hardly matters – the real story here is the steak experience, which is done with absolute authority. What else can we do but award it full marks?
The next time you’re in West Yorkshire and that Neolithic need for fresh meat comes over you, you’ll know a good place to go in order to satisfy it.