I refer to a previous posting where we had promised to keep our friend’s seat warm while she was away in Rwanda on VSO. Tonight was the first ‘vigil’ and we raised our glasses in honour of J.
It had been mentioned to me some time ago that The Grouse in Silsden was well worth a visit, an Italian restaurant. On several occasions I tried to call them and book a table but failed to contact them because the number was invalid. Was their number out of order? Had they gone out of business? As I didn’t live nearby I didn’t know what the problem was. My fellow diner tonight had been there before and we decided to give it another try and just turn up and take things as they came as we both still struggled to find a telephone number or website! If they were full or even closed down, there were other options nearby.
7pm was our agreed rendezvous time and we were pleased to see the lights on as we arrived and every indication that it was ‘open for business’. We soon realised why we had failed to contact the Italian version of this establishment … it had changed hands and was now called The Grouse Restaurant & Grill and was no longer an Italian either. It had only been open a week when we visited and was tastefully refurbished inside.
The new management have been running 114 The Arch in Leeds and have decided to repeat what is evidently a winning formula in Silsden.
Not having a reservation was not a problem although there were plenty of other customers in the restaurant. Once seated at our table it took us a while to peruse the menu which was certainly substantial and very interesting being modern British in character. There were no specials or early bird menu but there was plenty to choose from the a la carte. There were three options for vegetarians amongst the starters but only one option in the mains. I guess one could ask for a starter as a main to broaden the choice if you were vegetarian.
I was immediately interested in the pan seared pigeon breast to start with. Having never had it before it was about time I gave it a go as it had been recommended by many to me on several occasions. It was served with homemade maple smoked bacon, parsnip hash brown, buttered spinach and port reduction. In my absolute ignorance, I was a little taken aback when asked how I liked it done – well done or pink. For some reason, I had in my mind something along the lines of chicken breast and therefore never expected someone to offer me it ‘pink’. I soon realised we were not talking about anything remotely like chicken and requested it ‘pink’!
Whilst waiting for our starters, we were offered a selection of breads. The Roquefort & walnut took my fancy and what a good choice. It was nicely warmed, the texture light and the flavour excellent.
I certainly enjoyed the pigeon breast – it was beautifully tender and my immediate thought was it was almost like eating very tender liver or even perhaps duck breast. Either way, it was really rather nice combined with the other flavours on the plate.
My main course was Braised Gibbon Hill Lamb Shank with butter mash, honey roasted parsnip wedges with a red wine & thyme gravy (I’ve tried to find the Gibbon Hill source on the net but failed!). Veges were included – steamed new potatoes, savoy cabbage and carrots. Being “long eared and bushy tailed” (as in a rabbit!) I like my veg rather a lot (understatement of the year) and found the portion size to share between the two of us a bit small for my predisposed love of veg. But when I requested a fill up, this was willingly obliged at no extra cost.
The lamb shank was excellent with the meat falling off the bone and hardly any excess fat on it as lamb can sometimes be. The mash and gravy ticked all the right boxes for me too – I didn’t feel it was lacking in anything. I was tempted to wipe my plate clean as I was enjoying it so much but I knew I wouldn’t resist going for the full house of dessert and coffee too to complete the experience! So I reluctantly pushed aside some remains before there was no room left for any ‘afters’.
The dessert choice was simple for me – baked cheesecake! White chocolate, raspberry and Hob Knob baked cheesecake with lemon curd parfait to be precise. The cheesecake filling was delicately flavoured and light. It was no surprise to me that I found the biscuit base too sweet and left that. (Personally, I generally don’t care for ‘crushed biscuit combined with butter’ bases. They are too rich and sweet. I always do my own baked cheesecake with a thin layer of sponge as the base and find that works better for me.) The lemon curd parfait was a kind of sorbet come ice cream and nice and refreshing it was.
The cheesecake was nicely complemented with my decaf filter coffee and rounded the meal off perfectly.
So having waited a relatively long time to satisfy my curiosity about this place, my patience was rewarded. I would definitely like to return and take this opportunity to wish the management well in their new venture.
Tel: 01535 656611
Opening Hours: Wed – Sat 6pm – 9.30pm; Sun 12pm – 6pm