Shibden Mill Inn, Halifax

It’s all gone tits.

Well, not quite just yet, but the complete dickwod that is potential redundancy is hanging forebodingly over the old head, bringing with it – and let’s make no bones about this – tendencies of the miserable bastard variety.

On the bright side I’ve always been tight, which could come in handy. And there are, of course, worse things happening in the world. Like Wimbledon.

But the whole arduous process was beginning to take its toll until, over a milk-less cup of tea (the halcyon days of pricey dairy are, for now, limited) I had a little word with myself, decided “fuck this shit” (which I think may also have been the title of one of S Club 7’s lesser known B sides), and baggsied a table at the Shibden Mill Inn.

shibdensign

Now, granted, it’s unlikely that MoneySupermarket.com’s “how to be fiscally prudent” section will suggest you “sack it all and order the specials”, but bubbling over with a new-found sense of carpe diem, and some beer, that’s precisely what we did. A move that was, initially, sobering.

Like a Hemsley and Hemsley groupie, a brace of langoustines looked buff and inviting enough but, ultimately, lacked any real substance. All that showy-off cracking and snapping of the shell proved fruitless – meatless – to the tune of £9. Or as I like to now call it “half of my water bill.”

shibdenlango

Sweet and fresh Whitby crab, given balance from juicy-not-juicy semi-dried tomatoes (liked ‘em) and crunch from seaweed sourdough (could’ve done with more sea or sour, but sound texture) was more satisfying, although another 9 quidder.

shibdencrab

I suppose this stuff’s not cheap to buy in, and I’m all for paying a fair price, but for a bustling, sturdy old Inn like this, those starters felt a little, well, tight.

A couple of robust main courses thankfully redressed the balance, simultaneously appeasing my inner Scrooge McDuck and demonstrating what good can come from not arsing about too much with good raw material.

I seem to be eating a lot of fish these days (not for much longer LOL) probably in a failed effort to appear cultured, and a whole grilled plaice, succulent and luxuriously lubed with a wild garlic butter was cooked on point (£17). Shrimp added bounce and chew, and, if you insist on boiling potatoes then earthy and nutty Jersey Royals, on this showing, are possibly the only way to go.

shibdenplaice

Simple pub grub done with a bit of oomph and a lot of cheese is rarely a bad thing, and equally as satisfying (might as well go full Countryside Inn mode and stick in ‘hearty’ and ‘wholesome’ while we’re at it,) was a buttery-topped, creamily-filled fish pie, spiked with fennel, that two of us failed to knock off between us.

shibdenfishpie

I’m sure that second-to-none fish pie I had at Green’s in Whitby (RIP) was under the £16 we paid here, and for that I blame the rogue langoustine pushing the price up. But this wasn’t far off that level at all. Perhaps not the wisest choice for one of the hottest days of the year, but we can’t stick that one on the kitchen.

Like the other handsome old boozers sitting under the Great Inns umbrella – bucolic settings, beamed roofs, open fires blazing for 11.5 months of the year – you’re as welcome to while away an afternoon getting slowly steaming as you are to get amongst the fodder: indeed, it’s nearly OK to drink Black Sheep at places like this.

As such, dessert consisted of half a litre of good red, and then another, in the busy beer garden. Screw you, fiscal prudence.

PS: any jobs going?

employ me

Shibden Mill Inn

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