Thursday, 22 May 2014

Soul Kitchen, Holmfirth

10 - 12 Dunford Rd. Holmfirth | 01484 687 575 | | @SoulKitchenHD9

Type of Food: American

Price:  £20 per person (Starters, Main, Drinks)
Occasion: Bank Holiday Lunch with friends
Date Visited: April 2014

Overall Rating: ****

As we have covered in previous blogs, I love American Food. I think I've reviewed them more than any other kind of restaurant. When you think American Food (BBQ and soul food), the picturesque town of Holmfirth nestled in the beautiful Holme Valley is not going to be top of anyones list. But in one of the beautiful stone buildings lies Soul Kitchen. We came here with an American friend so the pressure was on. 

I read some of the reviews on Tripadvisor before setting off on my cross county road trip just to make sure it was going to be worth it and one of the (unfair) criticisms was the decor. To be blunt its not normally something I'm that bothered about. I wouldn't say it was very authentic, there weren't any booths and the tables are standard restaurant tables and chairs (albeit high quality with custom padding) but the room was bright, airy and clean so I'm not really sure what anyone could complain about. 
The picture above shows the paintings on wall and its clear a lot of effort has gone into it. Its fun and vibrant and I'm not sure who could be offended by it. 
From the website and menus its clear that the owners are going for American Food with a definite Yorkshire slant on service and the decor reflects that - I hope if they see that they'll know I mean that in a good way. 

I love tripadvisor and my favourite thing is when owners reply to criticism (you often get to see both sides of the story and you get an idea of their character). The main criticism of Soul KItchen is the time it takes for the food to arrive. It did take a while for it to turn up. BUT on the table there is a disclaimer that all the food is made fresh to order and that its not fast food. To top it off the food is fresh and  locally sourced (this is part of the reason I like to visit independently run restaurants). As I think is said on trip advisor, if thats not what you want, Frankie and Bennys or TGI Fridays may be a better bet.
Everyone was perfectly friendly and checked up on us so no complaints there. 

The menu wasn't what I expected. There was a lot of American food but then again there were a few non-American things which I think were wasting space. There were things on the menu (Biscuits & Country White Gravy most notably) I'd not seen before - my American friend enjoyed seeing that. Meat lovers will feel at home as there was a wide array of different meats cooked in different ways it was a challenge to choose.
Going back to the idea of a Yorkshire Taste on America there was definitely a few reminders of GOC on the Menu (The Yorkshire Terrier Dog and, Yorkshire Soul Burger) nestled amongst the food of the Deep South.
We ordered a few starters to share - I cant choose just one on an American menu. The pickles could have done with a bit longer friend for me but the others certainly enjoyed it. It was all very enjoyable. 
The mains were really enjoyable as well. There is a good choice of Burgers (I had the Mexican Burger), hot dogs and others I was well and truly stuffed. Every restaurant needs a 'special' something you cant get anywhere else and at Soul Kitchen it was the Waffle Burger. It certainly was a monstrosity (good thing) and one of the party ordered and enjoyed it. The burgers themselves - the meaty part -  was clearly homemade and was definitely a British take on it (quality mince and herbs). Sometimes American food - even good American food can 'feel' mass produced and these certainly didn't.  

Final Thoughts:
The food was really very good and we all had an enjoyable time which is just what you could hope for . 
Yorkshire (well the entire country) needs more restaurants like this. Ones that are proud of their local ingredients and can bring something new to the table. I hope they do well as a lot of hard work looks to have gone into every aspect of the restaurant from the menu to the decor. 

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Prego Restaurant, Brighouse

Waterfront Lodge Hotel, Huddersfield Rd. Brighouse | 01484 715 566 | | @PregoBrighouse

Type of Food: Italian

Price:  £30 per person
Occasion: Works Christmas Night Out
Date Visited: December 2013

Overall Rating: ** and a half - Dissapointing

Trying to sort a work's Christmas Night Out at the last minute for a group of 7 is never easy. We decided upon Preggo after one of the girls came here before and recommended it. 

The atmosphere is a bit odd in here. Not bad. But the room seems too big for what was inside. The furniture is nothing special (again, not bad) and the decor is rather plain. It is a hotel restaurant and that's really what it feels like. I had a look at the pictures on the website and maybe I'm remembering it wrong but I don't remember it look like the photos. 

We all arrived at separate times and were asked to take a seat in the waiting area. There was a confusing array of menus (a special christmas one, a set piece one and another a la carte one. There wasn't any need. The waiter was a bit lax in ushering us to our table and we had to be asked to be seated rather than them coming to check.

The menu looked good. There was a few things I wanted to try. We had a garlic pizza bread while we waited and this was excellent. Then again, it's a staple and fairly basic so that wouldn't have been great if it was anything less. For my main I had a Garlic Kiev Calzone. It arrived late (about 5 min after everyone elses) as apparently someone had made the wrong dish. It was nice. Nice being the operative word. The pieces of chicken breast were large and all located in the same half of the calzone. The garlic sauce was strong and delicious but I had to have a few mouthfulls of dough before i got to the chicken and then it all came at once. 
After garlic overload there was dessert. Tiramisu. Again, it was nice. Nothing special. It was on par with the Tiramisu you can get from the supermarket but it was nice. There was a rich coffee liqueur taste in the base and the creamy top complimented it just right. It just fell a bit flat. 
My favourite part of the meal was the starter. Arancini - Rice Balls with a Napoli Sauce. The sauce was rich and the rice balls were cooked and flavoured well.
I just wanted to tell you about The Christmas Dinner option. One of the ladies I was with ordered this and when it turned up on the table (it turned up first for some reason) it made us all look at each other. There was 3 or four pieces of meat, a few roasted new potatoes and a small scattering (and i mean small) of veg. If this had been placed in front of me it would have been sent straight back.

The food wasn't bad (well mine wasn't). Not at all. For a hotel restaurant it could be considered above average. But for an italian restaurant it was disappointing. It was very average.