315, Huddersfield

315, Wakefield Road, Lepton, Huddersfield, HD8 0LX

http://www.315barandrestaurant.co.uk

315 is housed in a former pub made out of stolid West Yorkshire stone, and where there was once a pool table, Space Invader machine and one arm bandit, it now boasts – these gastro places are all about boasting; boasting about the chef, boasting about the manner of cooking a signature dish, boasting about the Michelin star and the positive Tripadvisor rating, and, for the clientele, boasting that you’ve been there, I came, I dined, I posted on Facebook – a spa and hotel, as well as the restaurant which had brought me out on a drizzly evening in mid-March.

The decor is comfortingly expensive, if on the bland side. I got the impression of lots of stripes in lavish colours; as if George IV had done the makeover using tins of paint from his Dad’s shed. It reminded me of an affluent older person’s home whose ideas are slightly out of step with the times, so that even when they buy something new it seems dated. 315 offers a reproduction of the 1990s aiming for a country house style, done on a generous budget (Heal’s rather than SCS). A bit of imagination seems due.

There is a nod to the 21st Century in some heavily patterned wallpaper that I’m sure the older Managing Directors and their wives, who I felt constituted a major proportion of the clientele (I’m stereotyping and jumping to huge assumptions here, but so what), would refer to as ‘funky’ and, feeling flush with the Château Clerc Milon, consider trying themselves, perhaps tentatively as an accent wall in the orangery. It’s presence was a bit like when a divorced man gets a new (and younger) girlfriend who’s moved in and put a bit of her stamp on the place, the rest of the furnishings looking on, polite but hostile, sensing it’s got a fight on its hands.

Overall, 315 leans more towards corporate re-assurance than boutique bravura. Which is a shame, considering the quality of the grub they serve.

The menu felt slightly limited (the evening menu provided six choices). Included was a signature menu that came with (at £50 per head – or per mouth) specified drinks designed to complement the dishes served, or without the booze for £35. It’s a good idea, but restricted to only one series of choices, makes me wonder how many people it will suit (I’m not sure how often it changes). At a nearby table a couple who had obviously seen some merit in the notion (financial? Gastronomic?) had abandoned their Homemade Irish Cream & Chocolate Truffle Terrines, untouched. Perhaps they were more Golden Syrup sponge pudding and custard people. The dictatorial menu doesn’t allow for this. Like the politics of the Soviet Union in the 1940s, it’s Fillet of Beef Topped with a Pate Herb Crust, Brown Cap Mushrooms Cherry Tomato Confit & Hand Cut Chips Served with Merlot Wine Sauce with a The Crusher Pinot Noir, or on your bike, comrade.

And they don’t offer ‘any kind of stout’, the pregnant maître d’hôtel and potential secret police informer for Egon Ronay, informed me after I’d asked for a Guinness, the comment delivered as if I’d just requested the Ketchup. Stout is perhaps the gastronomic equivalent of wiping your arse on Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book in this culinary dictatorship.

The food – Pork Tender loin, Parma Ham & Slowly Braised Shoulder, Served on Creamed Leeks & Roasted Parsnips with Apple – was delicious and surprisingly generous (this was a definite meal as opposed to a strictly academic dining experience, for which 315 should be commended). There is a slight premium on the bill (two mains, one glass of white wine, one large bottle of mineral water and two pints of Ossett Yorkshire Blonde (£3.95 per pint!) set us back £54.25), but both quality and quantity compensate for this relatively minor hit to the wallet.

You can tell by the fastened top buttons on polo shirts and the un-seasonal outing of décolletage that this is a ‘night out’ kind of place. Somewhere to come for a significant event – Valentine’s Day booked, Mother’s Day, a Christmas party, that sort of thing. But for me, as much as I enjoyed my meal, 315 doesn’t quite deliver on ambience. Don’t get me wrong, the food was excellent and I’d be happy to return, but I came and went without feeling – other than the generous bowel movement I enjoyed the following morning – that I had interacted with the place.

Occasion – Fine dining
Food – 8/10
Choice – 5/10
Decor – 6/10
Prices – 7/10
Ambience – 6/10
Total – 32/50

Visited Saturday 18th March 2017