Redbrick Mill is one of those places you don’t really think about as a lunch/restaurant destination.
Baring testimony to the fact, emblazoned on a huge billboard in the carpark is a white-on-black quote from The Telegraph, which reads: “Quite simply the best all-round interiors destination outside London.”
I have perhaps been a little too judgemental about the things which are offered for sale within Redbrick’s walls, because clearly there must be a market for it, although it’s anyone’s guess where that market is, sandwiched as it is between Batley and Dewsbury.
In many ways, Redbrick is an anomoly. It sticks out like a saw thumb. Founded by the late, great Stephen Battye, the man behind the Mill Village just a mile or so down the road in Batley, he had big plans for Redbrick and the surrounding area, part of which involved developing Savile Street, which runs adjacent to the often congested Bradford Road - he even mused about standing as an MP. Sadly, he died in August 2010, but his legacy lives on and Redbrick is part of it.
If you’ve never visited, please do. It’s an experience in itself. It’s the kind of place you can imagine designer and former Dragon’s Denner Kelly Hoppen feeling at home, which is apt because she just happens to have an outlet there.
Redbrick itself is all high ceilings, steel girders and uprights and solid-as-you-like wooden floors. Nestled among the exotic furniture and taking up one tiny corner, you will find a branch of Filmore & Union, which is draped in sunshine when we visit, its whitewashed walls echoing its minimalistic menu, which runs to just four sides but includes a big enough array of dishes to satisfy most.
It’s open plan, too, so it has the feel of one of those ‘pass through’ places you get in airports and train stations, which is not to pass judgement on those in any way - merely to point out that’s part of the vibe. Another way to look at it would be to say it’s prime people watching territory. So, while you sit there sipping your latte and scoffing an expensive bun, you can surreptivcously watch people as they shop. It’s very additive, let me tell you.
But I digress. You see, I went to Redbrick to visit Filmore & Union on purpose. Firstly, because I’d heard good things about it and secondly, because I used to live in Batley and so know a lot about the area and its people, the late Mr Battye being among them. To the menu then: if you manage to get there before 11am, there’s the possibility of the Filmore English breakfast (£12), which I imagine will be the healthiest cooked brecky you’ve ever had, given that healthy eating is part of their ethos. Failing that, there’s egg white omlette (£10), which comes with asparagus, feta, spinach, tomato, dill, mixed leaves and toasted rye bread. You get the idea. There’s also pancakes with fruit and yogurt (£9), hummus eggs (£10) and plenty of add-ons all guaranteed to tick the healthy box. We ordered the bread board from the sharing section (£9), which came with hummus, feta cheese, tomatoes, chutney, oils and balsamic vinegar. We asked for this to come as a starter but it was actually delivered with the rest of our order - no matter, the selection of breads and dips was superb, my only reservation the thickness of the balsamic.
For our main dishes, we went for the very affordable bacon begel (£5), the bacon was well done with nice crispy bits delivering a satisfying salty smack, the begel fresh and slightly spongy. We also ordered the turkey burger (£13), with a deli salad on the side. The burger came with sweet potato fries (wedges really) and was slightly underseasoned but more than filling. There was also Rom’s Chicken Schnitzel (£8.50), plus fries (again, sweet potato wedges), which was spot on.
They save the best till last, here, however, so let me highly recommond any of their buns/cakes. We tried three: Vegan Brownie (£4.25), Carrot Muffin (£4.25) and Orange and Lavendar Cake (£4.25). What can I say, this was heaven on a plate, each mouthful was like divine revelation for your tastebuds, the orange and lavendar cake working particularly well, but the carrot cake running a close second, while the vegan brownie, which I had expected to be dense and unrewarding was light as you like and packed full of chocolate moorishness.
All told, with coffees and teas and whatnot, the final bill (for three) rolled in at an eminently affordable £70.50. Service was smooth, self-assured and with a smile. I’d go back just for the cakes and the coffee. Seriously. Filmore & Union a credit to Redbrick and a credit to the area.
FILMORE & UNION, REDBRICK MILL
Address: 218 Bradford Road
Batley, WF17 6JF
Telephone: 01924 671431
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am-5.30 (late night Thursday until 8pm), Sat 9am-6pm, Sun 10.30am-5.30pm