Nowhere, Holmfirth: Restaurant in picturesque Yorkshire town which is worth getting lost to find

Amanda Wragg savours the honest, unpretentious fare on offer at Ted Andrassy’s latest Yorkshire venture, which he was headhunted to run in Holmfirth – and finds flashes of brilliance are also on the menu.

Ted Andrassy’s years of experience in hospitality have taught him three essential tenets: never compromise on the quality of your produce: taste everything, always and adapt when needed: keep your staff happy, fed and watered.

Without them there is no business. The plan seems to working – it’s tick tick tick here in Holmfirth, and he can just as confidently add ‘make sure your offer has a realistic price point, and try and do something no one else is doing’.

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During his dozen years at the coalface, Andrassy has put in time at The Riverhead in Marsden, Hop and Northern Monk in Leeds, and was GM at Friends of Ham for a number of years.

Nowhere in HolmfirthNowhere in Holmfirth
Nowhere in Holmfirth

When Myles Pinfold, the owner of the building that is now Nowhere headhunted him, he was ready.

It’s tucked away in a compact corner spot by the river, along from the Picturedrome, and worth getting lost trying to find.

Derelict for decades, it’s architect designed and a handsome, contemporary building, all glass, wood and steel, but inside there are soft edges, with the cleaned brick and stone walls, warm wood and Yorkshire flagged floors and a cast iron range.

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On the ground floor is the open kitchen and scrubbed wooden tables and benches, and on the first floor a light, airy space for eating and drinking, with lovely open views over the old town.

Pan Seared Trout PiperadePan Seared Trout Piperade
Pan Seared Trout Piperade

There’s a whiff of Scandi about it, and not one gingham tablecloth in sight. Norah Batty’s caff it ain’t. Also on this floor is a room which doubles as a cinema from time to time (Poor Things showing soon!) and a live music space – bit of jazz, bit of folk, lots of fun. For purists there are BYOV (Bring Your Own Vinyl) sessions too – yep, a lot going on, and that’s before we get to the food.

We’re here for lunch, but the place opens at 10am and stays open all day, so there’s a pretty good breakfast/brunch menu featuring the likes of Salt Pork Hash & Egg, Shakshuka, a Buddha Bowl (white beans in smoky tomato sauce, spiced chickpeas and a Chinois salad) each keenly priced at £7.50 and a good old bacon butty (local smoked streaky back in homemade bread, ketchup and a pinch of sage).

There are a dozen choices on the ‘Plates’ part of the menu and they all look good – with plenty to keep non-carnivores happy. I’m drawn to the ham hock salad but it loses over cumin-spiced lamb cutlets, which are beautifully succulent, dusted with spices with a puddle of baba ganoush to scoop up with them.

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A Lebanese Fatayer is a soft filo parcel stuffed with goats cheese, onion, sumac, mint and spinach with some peppery leaves – nicely fragrant and perfumed. Up next, an outstanding fish dish – a piece of pan fried trout perfectly seared and served with a lovely sweet piperade and polenta croutons for crunch; it says spring to me.

Nowhere in Holmfirth creates 'unpretentious' foodNowhere in Holmfirth creates 'unpretentious' food
Nowhere in Holmfirth creates 'unpretentious' food

My almost-non-meat-eating partner does a complete about-turn when a piece of braised beef cheek so tender it falls apart just looking at it comes to the table. It’s described as ‘sourdough crusted on wilted cabbage’ – all I know is it’s simply one of the best things I’ve eaten so far this year, and that beef glaze that spills over it should be bottled.

We’re not drinking alcohol today but I like the look of the wine list, short as it is: there are four whites including a Vinho Verde, and my current favourite, Grüner Vetliner, and Verdejo by the carafe or half, or glass.

Reds include an organic Montepulciano and a Garnacha-Tempranillo, and there’s a rose too. I spotted on the website that there was home-brewed beer – it’s not ready yet, but their head honcho Doug Scard, who single-handedly ran the legendary craft brewery Here Be Monsters, will be creating fine modern beers in the coming months.

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In the meantime there’s the excellent Onwards Pale and Open Eyes (Coffee Dark Mild) from Zapato in the Colne Valley, and Misfit Blonde from Three Fiends in Holmfirth. Doug also makes his own cordials including Dandelion and Burdock, which the other half – something of a connoisseur – announced the best he’s ever had – quite the complement when you consider that the Marshes pop wagon that came round the estate in 1970s Ulverston was keenly anticipated.

I have nothing but respect and admiration for this kind of operation; when some of our favourite restaurants, cafes and bars are closing at an alarming rate, here’s a place that isn’t just planning to turn a quick buck, but has integrity and heart, looking after the planet with its air-sourced heat pump and filtered water into the loos, sourcing ingredients as close as possible to the front door (they’re lucky, Holmfirth is bristling with good butchers and grocers) and providing a safe and very pleasant space for the community, with the cinema/vinyl/music events.

Oh, and once the roof terrace raised beds have been built, that’s where the salad leaves, herbs and veg will be coming from. Not so much air miles as stair miles.

Lunch was delicious; the culture mash-up works well, moving from Lebanon to the Med via France (Nicoise Salad) and Italy (spring veg risotto).

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This is honest, unpretentious food that’s a cut above what you might generally find in a corner café – there’s quite a lot going on under the bonnet here, so expect flashes of brilliance alongside the prosaic (that beef cheek wasn’t thrown together on a whim, and at £8.50 is an absolute steal.)

How much time went into the name? Was it a through-the-night, teeth-pulling, fog-plaiting session? Nah says Ted. "We just want to make sure that there’s nowhere like it.”

Nowhere, 8 Norridge Bottom, Holmfirth, HD9 7BB t: 01484 246732 Hours: Wednesday – Sunday 10am - 9pm

Welcome 5/5

Food 5/5

Drinks choice 5/5

Prices 5/5

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