A FEW HUNDRED yards off the motorway, in a retail and office park next to a budget hotel. Frankly, it doesn’t sound like anything special but bear with us.
We’re dining at The Red Kite just off junction 39 of the M1 south of Wakefield and it was better than we anticipated. Much better.
To be honest, we didn’t expect much. My daughter had been and said it was decent but nothing special; a former colleague said much the same.
Still, we ventured on – my wife Jan and friends Rick and Val. It was 6.30pm on a Saturday and we didn’t expect it to be busy so we hadn’t booked.
We were wrong. Although the restaurant area is huge there were no places available. We did, however, find space in the bar at a tall table near the entrance which was fine.
Now The Red Kite is part of a famous chain (Vintage Inns) and it has a vast menu from sharing and grazing to steaks, stone-baked pizzas to pies, burgers to vintage classics.
There’s something for all tastes and, we found, service took a little time which is no bad thing, really, since it indicates it was freshly made.
We decided to forego starters which spanned £3.95 (soup) to £7.95 (black pearl scallop and prawns) and also included ‘blacksticks blue cheese fondue’ and prawn and lobster cocktail. Not bad for pub grub. And better than any motorway service station I’ve ever been to.
Vegetarian choices were reasonable, too, with broad bean and asparagus risotto or oven-baked Portobello and button mushrooms among the choices.
So for main courses the ladies had sirloin steak with blue cheese sauce (£14.50) and roast British chicken (£12.95). Both were good. The steak was a fine piece of meat and the sauce delicious. It came with onion rings, chips and a tomato. Vegetables would have been extra.
We expected the chicken to be sliced but it wasn’t. It was a whole chicken – not huge, but beautifully cooked and served with roasted sliced potatoes, seasonal vegetables, lemon & thyme stuffing wrapped in bacon, served with a red wine jus.
The men went for pies – steak and mushroom (£11.25) with slow-cooked beef in a red wine sauce, topped with puff pastry, served with mash and seasonal vegetables.
I had chicken pie (£9.75) slow-cooked chicken in a creamy white wine sauce, topped with puff pastry, served with spring onion mash and seasonal vegetables.
Both were fine and good value. Together with two pints of Sharp’s Doom Bar £3.35 each), a large white wine (£5.60) and half a pint of Carling (£1.85) the bill came to £63.90. Not bad value at all.
Still, it was a shame that one of our choices (Cornish kiln-smoked bacon rib) was off the menu.
With a pudding each, it pushed the bill to just over £85.
Our ladies went for coconut milk sorbet (£5.25) and Melba mellow mess (£5.75), a sort of Eton Mess-type dish, while the chaps had crème brulee (£5.25) and carrot cake cheesecake (£5.25). Not the cheapest puddings but they hit the spot nicely.
Now this place may be within earshot of the M1 but it is on Calder Park with 100 acres of parkland and Pugneys water park nearby.
Not bad for a family pub. And a pretty handy stop by the M1. Service was excellent and the food was pretty good value.
n The 2018 Yorkshire Evening Post Oliver Awards are now open, which means you can nominate your favourite restaurant for one of our awards. This is the 10th year of the awards, which strive to recognise excellence in the Leeds dining scene and provide a platform for all those who work in the industry.
According to the The Independent Food and Drink Academy, a joint venture between Leeds Beckett University and Leeds City Council, Leeds is nationally recognised for having one of the best independent restaurant, bar and café scenes in the UK.
There are 16 award categories to choose from, covering everything from ‘Best Lunch’ and ‘Best British’ to ‘Best Fine Dining’ and ‘Best Rural’. Our awards cater for all the main styles of restaurant cuisine such as Italian, Indian and European.
Most recently, we expanded the awards, creating two new categories: Best Street Food and Best Rural. Nominations are now open: we accept nominations from members of the public or from restaurants themselves. Last year, we had over 400 individual category entries, making it our most successful year yet.
* To find out more about nominating, go to our dedicated website: www.oliverawards.co.uk
Address: The Red Kite, Denby Dale Road, Durkar, Wakefield, WF4 3BB
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 8am-11pm, Sun 8am-10.30pm
Telephone: 01924 251542