Halifax - Paper Anniversary Meal

My wife and I are paramedics with a passion for food and quality and having a 90mph working life that often sees us on opposite shifts, and going up to 4 days without seeing each other, our time off is important to us and we love to get away or plan a meal out. Our most recent trip was to celebrate our anniversary, and given that the gift for the first anniversary is paper, I gave the Mrs a printed sheet of A4 with the Groupon voucher for a 7-course meal at Design House (romantic I know 😄). So we embarked on the 30-40 minute journey to Halifax via an amazing architectural antiques shop in Greetland, that sells everything you would need to furnish a bar, shop, or restaurant, and is just a fabulous place to wander around and take in everything from the old toilet roll holders and signs to the huge bar backs and light fittings. On arrival at Holdsworth House Hotel and feeling peckish we checked in and headed for the bar to see what light bites were on offer. I decided on a wild mushroom ragout served on toasted ciabatta with a poached egg and crispy pancetta and Remmy enjoyed some queenie scallops with mashed potato and Gruyere cheese with a watercress and sun-blushed tomato salad. The portion sizes were perfect for what we wanted and both dishes were presented really well. The queenie scallops had each been replaced in their shells upon a small bed of cheesy mashed potato making each fork-full perfectly balanced in taste and texture. My "egg, bacon and mushroom on toast" was beautiful. The salty pancetta bringing my palate to life and the silky mushroom ragout complimenting the textures. To fill our afternoon we drove our pride and joy, a Mini Cooper SD, across the moors to Haworth, the beautiful Yorkshire village that defined much of the Bronte sisters lives. Fabulous cobbled streets that run up and down the valley and get you whistling the Hovis theme, while conjuring up images of uncontrollably freewheeling down on a bread delivery bike. There's Mrs Beighton's Sweet Shop, and Haworth Steam Brewery Tap which are both highlights... I guess it's changed since Charlotte and Emily lived here, otherwise Wuthering Heights and Jane Eyre would've been very different indeed. And finally to Design House. A 3-rosette, Michelin recommended restaurant in the grand and beautiful Dean Clough Mills. Once the worlds largest carpet mill and now a shopping and entertainment complex. Design House Restaurant nestles into a corner, the sign looks a little tired and could do with a quick spruce up, likewise for the, once plush, cream design of the lobby. I'm impressed by the value offered by the a la carte menu 3-courses for £18.95, but we're on the 7-course tasting menu. The amuse bouche is a white onion velouté and the menu continues with a series of jellied flavours paired with a number of regrettably forgettable meat and fish courses. Food can normally evoke thoughts and feelings, and produce memories, but Design House misses out here. The repetition of jellies on every course and the pace at which they are presented meant they blended into each other. The overall experience was ok. Neither good or bad. If you stay with this blog you will read about some Michelin starred meals that have played out like a symphony and even now 2-3 years later I still smile and salivate at the thought. Design House was just last week, and it's already forgotten. It's a real shame, I wanted to enjoy this meal but instead my wife and I enjoyed an evening out after a fabulous day and the food was merely a side note.

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