Anello, Slaithwaite review: The town library that has been transformed into a stylish pizzeria in fashionable mill village

Slaithwaite Library has been converted into a stylish pizzeria called Anello and wow is it good, writes Amanda Wragg. Pictures by Tony Johnson.

In a previous life I made a local TV programme with singer, actor and erudite historian Tony Capstick. We filmed in the Holme Valley, a place I’d only ever driven through, so I hadn’t understood how important it was in the story of textile production. Prior to the industrial revolution, it was a rural idyll; that all changed in the 1770s when the first spinning jenny was introduced into Holmfirth and by the mid-1800s 60 textile mills had sprung up by the river valleys. The population was increasing and the area was becoming “busy with wool”.

Today there’s little to suggest the valley’s dramatic past; most of the mills are gone or derelict, but some have been repurposed and a different kind of industry is emerging. Dark Woods Coffee has its roasting sheds at Holme Mill and close by is Zapato, a brewery and beer garden by the canal between Slaithwaite and Marsden.

If you’d told me that Slaithwaite would morph into a cool town, I’d have raised an eyebrow – but the majestic Globe Mill has had a £5m spend on it and now houses stylish offices, laboratories and artists’ studios, and there’s talk of an artisan food hall. The Northern Sole Café (Wigan Casino burrito, anyone?) is a magnet for fans of the music, posh burger joint Rumpus is doing good trade from its architect-designed building and just along the canal the Handmade Bakery sells the best bread, patisserie and coffee in its charming cafe.

Anchovies pizza

And now – Anello, an effortlessly sat-back pizza restaurant which on this balmy midsummer’s evening feels more Salento than Slaithwaite. It’s a handsome fit-out with a full glass frontage, stripped floors, pale wood furniture and pops of colour on neutral walls from original artworks. Walk in to groovy Balearic tunes, a warm hello and an absolute beast of an oven hot enough to cook a pizza in less than a minute. The menu is brief and appealing, with around ten choices featuring the usual suspects (Marinara, Margherita, mushroom) and a couple of interesting additions. But we start with a classic pea and asparagus arancini, feather-light with a fabulous crunch, a dab of cooling ricotta and the heat of salsa verde. Potato croquettes are bouncy little beauties too, stuffed with smoked mozzarella and sitting on a puddle of aioli and smoked chilli jam. Freshness comes in the form of a plate of sweet Isle of Wight tomatoes – and I love the fat croutons made out of torn focaccia.

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Jim Morgan and his wife Kate are the power behind Anello. Jim’s a local lad and his parents’ involvement with Handmade Bakery fired his desire to work with food “growing up around dough-shaped my life!” he says. He ran Rudy’s pizza restaurants in Manchester before spotting the potential in the empty, unloved building that was once Slaithwaite library. They launched in August 2020 then of course had to stop/start, but kept afloat selling take-outs. Dough is made daily using flour from Shipton Mill and, whilst organic tomatoes and Fior Di Latte Mozzarella are imported from Italy, there’s a growing plot down the road from the restaurant, supplying leaves and vegetables that chime with the seasons.

Gooseberry, prosecco & elderflower jelly topped with panna cotta turns up and it’s a show-stopper, with its perfect wibble; cheers to you, bakers Fran and Miriam, beavering away in the back.

Arancini with Isle of Wight tomato salad

Swing by for a plate of Northern Cure charcuterie, graze with a bowl of Nocellara olives or homemade caraway grissini, aioli and fermented chilli dip with a glass of something chilled – a carafe of very good natural house white from Huddersfield’s hip Kwas wine shop or a Pinto de Pico beer from Zapato. But let’s face it you’re here for the main event – I’m sticking my neck out here: the best pizza in Yorkshire.

■ Anello, 8 Britannia Road, Slaithwaite, Huddersfield HD7 5HG, 01484 841720, www.anellopizza.co.uk. Open, Wednesday to Friday: , Saturday: 12.30-9.30pm, Sunday: 1-8.30pm.

affogato
Anello