The Shibden Mill Inn has a lot going for it. It’s in a pretty part of the world on the rural outskirts of Halifax. It’s a nice building in an “Olde Worlde” sort of way. There’s a good range of beers. There’s a good range of food. It holds a Good Food Guide score of 3 and two AA Rosettes. And it’s just become the “UK best food pub” at the Publican Awards. Don’t let it put you off that this particular award is sponsored by Brakes Brothers – the food is really pretty good
I kicked off with a slice of home made black pudding (well, of course I did), topped with a slice of rabbit ballotine. Both of a good flavour and well seasoned. The “stack” topped with a dainty fried quail’s egg. There was some dressed salad leaves and a “swoosh” of turnip puree adding an earthiness to the dish. Good start.
For the second time in a couple of weeks, Jacobs Ladder put in an appearance. It’s an uncommon cut which I hope is becoming more popular. Cooked long and slow it really makes for a belting braise. A good variety of accompaniments – kale, purple sprouting broccoli, two sorts of beetroot (the usual one and a really earthy sweet white one), a punchy horseradish risotto was an interesting carb and, similarly enjoyable, there was a crisp and tangy fritter of local cheese.
On t’other side of the table, herself was tackling the bargain set lunch at £11 for two courses (a couple of quid more gets you dessert). To start, a crayfish and crab cake was suitably fishy and came with a few leaves and what was described as celeriac remoulade but was a puree. A proper remoulade would have been nicer on the texture front but the flavours on the plate were fine. Beef followed. In this case, braised rump, served with the kale and broccoli and mash.
This was good solid cooking with portion sizes such that we had no need of dessert. Food was entirely enjoyable. But, if there is to be one criticism then it is that the place suffered from our current pet hate – inordinate delays between courses. They were not overly busy and, otherwise, they seemed organised but it was approaching 30 minutes between starter plates being removed and more food arriving. Happen it was more trouble in t'kitchen than trouble at t'mill