So – a restaurant called Eric’s. In Huddersfield. What image of the place does that conjure up in your mind?
Yeah, I thought so. Well, you’re wrong.
You enter into a stylish little bar area which, on a Friday evening, was packed with folk who I think may generally have been there just for a drink. Our table was in the adjacent small room (there’s more on the first floor). It’s another modern stripped-back space, with a touch of art on the walls. Stripped-back always seems to mean noisy and Eric’s is no exception – not really the place you’d want for a romantic dinner for two. Which was fine as we weren’t having a romantic dinner.
The menu hits all the right notes for what’s usually these days called “modern European” cuisine. I liked the seasonality of it and I liked the commitment to local produce. Yes, it was a bit fussy with some of the starters reading like main courses and several dishes probably benefitting from losing an ingredient.
There was a lentil, bacon and butternut squash soup to start which seemed perfect for a cold November evening. Great consistency and packed with flavour. Also as a starter, tandoori seabass came in a lovely crisp coating but, truth be told, I couldn’t detect any south asian flavouring in there. However, to compensate, there was a spoonful of very pokey tomato chutney, softened by another spoonful of spiced yoghurt. Two good dishes.
My partner followed with hake. Disappointingly, the skin wasn’t crisp and there was some underseasoning across the plate. It was however properly cooked. Accompaniments were a mix of kale, sautéd potatoes, roasted beetroot. The beetroot shouldn’t have worked – but it did. Also coming through against expectations of working well was a dollop of mayo flavoured with watercress and lime.
I’d gone for a dead simple plate of haunch of Yorkshire venison – perfectly medium rare. There was a venison sausage that I’d have happily eaten on its own. And a big helping of very good mash and some onion marmalade. It needed the side order of thinly sliced buttered greens.
The number of bums on seats suggests that locals are happy with Eric’s pricing but several dishes felt a quid or two expensive. Service was a bit hit and miss with there being two or three occasions during the evening where we felt we had waited a bit too long for things to happen. On the other hand, a couple of the staff were really stand-outs for friendly attentiveness.