A planned visit to the Hepworth Wakefield had us stumped for lunch given a long distrust of Yorkshire gallery food. So we put a call out to Twitter asking for anywhere good to eat in Wakefield and elicited the blunt response: ' In a word - No' . Rather as we feared, until the lovely @FeastAndGlory came to our rescue, tweeting: 'The Cow Shed is OK for steaks'. So that's where we went and that's what we had.
The building was the first surprise. Hemmed in by the depressing shops of Northgate, the Cow Shed is rather lovely. Half timbered at the front and smartly painted and planted at the back with seats for outdoor dining.
Downstairs was buzzing so we felt a bit miffed about being ushered upstairs to some draughty second best room only to be blown away. It was stunning, genuinely old, 16th century apparently: ancient beams, a mighty fireplace, a wall of old brick and best of all, a beautiful glazed plaster relief ceiling in the bar and lounge area. You could see why Joanne Harris' Chocolat took some of its inspiration from these rooms. Even the naff bits - Exhibit A the Tiffany lamp, Exhibit B the furry banquettes - didn't do too much damage.
As for the food, don't come looking for exciting innovation. Both menu and cooking are straight down the line. Lots of salads to start: crayfish tail, rare beef, duck or soup, fish cake and chicken liver parfait. Mains include char grilled chicken breast, mushroom risotto, salmon wrapped in Parma ham and steaks: rib eye, sirloin, fillet, rump served with fries and onion rings. Sauces extra.
We did the lunchtime two course special for £12.95 and while it was all competently cooked the dishes lacked the sense of someone with real passion driving the kitchen. A salad of crayfish tail and gem lettuce had a bitter and acerbic dill and yoghurt dressing. Baked salmon came with salad and nothing else to perk it up, not even the advertised horseradish and dill dressing. And the steak? No-one's expecting a great rump steak as part of a £12.95 two-courser and it wasn't a great rump steak. As the tweet said: 'OK for steaks.' Good, hot chips though.
So if this is the best in Wakefield it's simultaneously bad luck on Wakefield but still worth knowing about not least for the premises. But anyone know anywhere better? Maybe we'll try the Hepworth Cafe Bar next time.
53 Northgate, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF1 3BPTel 01924 291044
Review by Jill, 25 January 2012blog comments powered by Disqus