Sometimes those outstanding little gems are just on your doorstep waiting to be discovered. Chris Blackburn finally finds Erics Restaurant. Here’s his review.
Up until recently I’d never been to Lindley in Huddersfield, despite the fact that it’s just a little over five miles from where I live. Shame on me!
Once voted in the top 10 places in the UK for first time buyers to get on the property ladder, given it’s transport links and desirability, it’s got to be said that Lindley is a lovely village full of quaint little shops, café’s and even the odd bar. But the reason I was there this time was to sample what is fast becoming the village’s star attraction. Erics Restaurant.
I’ve heard people rave about Erics but was it as good as what I was hearing? There’s only one way to test a restaurant really – on a Saturday night 7pm booking, when the establishment is at its very busiest.
They say first impressions are everything, and on entry Erics first impressions speak volumes of what’s in store food wise. The bar area is clean, crisp and uncluttered and the traditional Yorkshire stone wall gives a feel of a restaurant that understands its roots, while at the same time is modern in its approach.
We were greeted, served a drink and given the menus to peruse in a matter of minutes. The evening got off to a great start.
The menu is a tough one, not because I struggled to pick – far from it. I could happily have chosen three of four of both the starters and mains, but the main that troubled me is the fillet steak. I’m a sucker for steak, and this sound amazing, but I resisted and went for the lamb.
Orders were taken while enjoying a drink in the bar and it’s not long before we are shown to our table. The ground floor area of the restaurant feels intimate, with seats for about 24 covers, and the bustling of chatter gives it a really lovely feel. I’m guessing they have an upstairs too but I didn’t get to see that.
So what about the food? Both myself and my dinner partner went for an Asian-inspired starter. For me the star of the show was Pan-seared tandoori king scallops, prawn and red onion pakora, lentil dahl puree, mango vinaigrette, and for my guest it was Tempura tandoori stone bass, apricot and cumin chutney, yoghurt and mint raita. Both were mouth-watering good, with just enough delicate spice that gave a tingle but not too much that it ruined your mouth for the next 48 hours.
Onto mains, and luckily for me I did get to witness the steak, however it was my fellow diner that was going to be devouring the 28-day aged chargrilled Bolster Moor Farm fillet steak with confit tomato, rocket salad, triple cooked chips (regular readers will know about my love of homemade chips), crispy onion petals and grain mustard mayo. And what a delight it was to the eye!
Just as I was about to kick myself for not being lured in by the steak, the marvel of roast lamb rump, braised shoulder and Merguez sausage, lettuce, peas and pancetta with fondant potato was thrust in front of me. Yes! I’d listened to my head for once and not my heart!
So how do I go about describing these mains? Let’s put it this way, for the last 10 years a restaurant that sits on hills above Rochdale has been my number one favourite of all time. I won’t mention it, but those who know me will have heard me arc on about it for years. Well now there’s a new kid on the block and he’s called Eric.
Wow. The mains were wonderful and I mean really wonderful. The lamb was without doubt the best I’d ever tasted and although the North African Merguez sausage is new to me I instantly fell in love. It accompanied the lamb, pancetta and Peas fantastically.
The other dinners must have thought I was crackers when I started talking cress with him when he came to say hello. The cress in question wasn’t the stuff you grew masses of at primary school. Oh no. Eric goes to the trouble of sourcing such leaf with flavours that perfectly accompany the main flavours of the plate. Now that’s details for you.
Do I need to talk about my partner’s steak? Oh go on then. I’m told it was amazing as it looked. I couldn’t help but nick a chip and they certainly were up there with the A-listers of chips.
So after all this excitement were we going to skip dessert? Not a chance. For me really to give Eric’s a chance of beating my all time favourite I had to sample all three disciplines. That’s only fair, right?
For me it was a rich but light chocolate mouse cake that was accompanied by popcorn ice cream and a dark cherry compote and for my partner a lemon crème brulee. I think you can guess by now what they were like. Yep. Amazing, and a perfect end to an outstanding meal.
An obvious question – is it worth a visit? Easily yes, although you’ll need to book quick. Eric tells me you can wait up to six weeks for a table should you want it at peak times, but I promise you it’s worth it. After all, it’s just entered my list of my favourite restaurants ever!