Shibden Mill, Halifax
Bit of a hidden gem, this one. If you’ve ever wondered, Shibden is a wooded valley on the edge of Halifax; once you’ve found it, it feels like you couldn’t be further away. The pub is a handsome 17th century whitewashed building, long and rambling, with a great outside seating space surrounded by mature trees. Inside it’s classy, with polished oak furniture, open fires, ancient beams and very smart staff. So what’s not to like? Well nothing, now! I’ve been a handful of times and the food’s never quite hit the mark. Fine if you want to sit in the glorious garden with a sandwich and a glass of wine, but despite the comfortable sophistication of the dining rooms, there’s always been a ‘but ..’
On the menu today however, at least a dozen dishes I would gladly have eaten on your behalf; the one I had was rolled crispy Yorkshire lamb breast, asparagus and Woodhall’s ham salad with wild nettle hollandaise (£6.95) and what a complete delight it was, the croquette light and un-greasy, the meat sweet and tender – the salad a revelation, deep green and the perfect accompaniment. Similarly, potted ham knuckle, local beef and foie gras with marinated smoked cheese, piccalilli and miniature loaf (£7.50) hit the mark, the execution faultless. Elsewhere, red onion tart tatin, aubergine caviar and Yellison’s goat’s cheese fritters was just one of six – yes six interesting looking vegetarian options – which is about as rare as hen’s teeth.
Black pudding scotch quail eggs with chutney and crackling salad is another snip at £5.50, or push the boat out with poached and roasted Leven Farm duck breast with Denholme honey and black onion seed crust, quince jelly and confit cherries (£17.50)
You’ll find the Shibden Mill Inn in our cheap eats section too; the two courses (lunchtime only) for a tenner is a winner; chicken liver parfait, home made bread and chutney followed by steamed rope grown mussels, Shibden ale, cabbage and chives, anyone?