COIN, Hebden Bridge
There’s no shortage of places to eat in Hebden Bridge – chuck a brick and you’ll hit a caff – but it’s mystifying that there’s never been anywhere good enough to bother these pages with. That is until Chloe Greenwood and Oliver Lawson, fresh from shifts at The Moorcock and keen to start their own business saw the potential of Lloyds Bank which has been empty for years. It’s a handsome old corner building and after a lot of hard graft completely unrecognisable inside – brick walls are exposed, a grey slate floor has been laid and the full length windows are now a fabulous feature. The idea – certainly in its infancy – is drinks with ‘snacks’ but not just olives and nuts – although there are both; huge Perello gordal Reina olives and smoked Catalan almonds, grand with a glass of Puglian Carlomagno Rosso Appassimento Primitivo.
Time spent in the kitchen and on the floor at the Moorcock hasn’t been frittered, and Chloe has honed her skills at the elbow of super-somelier Aimee Turford; the all-natural wine list has been well thought through, with half a dozen by the glass. More thought has gone into the choice of charcuterie and cheese – much of it French and some from just down the road at Pextenement in Todmorden. Half a dozen cooked dishes include a fabulous crispy pork katsu – an umami bomb, dark and sticky as hell, with a marinated carrot, cauliflower, apple mint and ginger salad freshening it up. Savoury choux chips are soft, oozy beauties with a shower of Old Winchester and an ocean of flavor, and dangerously moreish chestnut mushroom croquettes are crunchy, feather-light and given a wake-up smack of punchy salsa verde. Lawson’s put time in at the much-garlanded Mana in Manchester but cut his teeth at El Gato Negro in Ripponden, like so many gifted chefs before him. The Simon Shaw effect ripples like skimmed pebbles in a lake. If there isn’t a statue raised to him at some point in the future I’ll want to know why.
It’s a terrific menu and a sure start to their business. It’s got the Moorcock stamped through it like seaside rock – but it’s no pale imitation, it’s the real deal; fun, warm and friendly and the cooking is assured and generous. Hebden’s been waiting a long time for a groovy hangout, and COIN is that place.