Banking on Success: Bar Biccari in Horbury

In July 2018, my partner and I took a short trip over to Horbury to sample the treats on offer at Bar Biccari on behalf of TopicUK magazine. Read my review below.

OK, there are going to be some changes around here! Now that TopicUK magazine has a Yorkshire-wide distribution, I’ll need to explore what’s on offer in other towns and cities around the county. But with a whole region available for me to pick from, the choices of where to go next are dizzying so I’m open to suggestions! If you’d like your restaurant, gastro-pub or diner to be covered in these pages, do get in touch.

I’m going to start my wider investigation of Yorkshire’s eateries with an Italian restaurant and bar in the centre of Horbury: yes, I know, it’s still part of the Wakefield metropolitan district, but, baby steps and all that: I have to begin somewhere!

The written history of Horbury appears to start with the Domesday Book of 1086 in which it is recorded as Orberie. The fact that the settlement already existed to merit an entry in Domesday suggests, of course, that the town’s history goes back even further. The name derives from the Old English word ‘horu’ which means dirty or muddy land and ‘burh’, or burg, which means a fortified settlement or habitation. So, Horbury can be said to indicate some form of stronghold on muddy land. Its proximity to the River Calder probably attests to its strategic and etymological origins – it was possibly a place where the river could be forded before bridges were built.

Today, Horbury is a busy town of around 10,000 inhabitants with an interesting and eclectic mix of buildings dating from medieval to modern times and with some fine Georgian and Victorian properties, including the handsome St Peter and St Leonard’s Church by John Carr (1723-1807), often referred to as ‘John Carr of York’ (where he was to become Lord Mayor in 1770 and again in 1785) but who was actually a son of Horbury.

Bar Biccari is one of the more prominent buildings on the town’s High Street, not least because this former bank building is situated in a commanding position on the junction of Highfield Road and Westfield Road. Boasting an imposing domed tower and oculus window, the building, in brick and stone with leaded windows featuring stained glass, dates from 1910 when it was built for the United Counties Bank (absorbed by Barclays in 1916). When the bank moved out, the building became a pub for a while but was transformed once more some eight years ago when Bar Biccari opened its doors for the first time.

The business is owned by David and Judith Rayner together with Lindsay Dawson. On a day-to-day basis, it is managed by general manager Wil Frost who looked after my partner and me on the night of our visit one pleasant summer’s evening in July (just a week before Wil’s wedding to David and Judith’s daughter!).

We were greeted by bar man Eddie who quickly made us feel at home as we ordered some drinks and perused menus while we waited for our table. The restaurant was already throbbing – all the tables were either occupied or reserved (so take a hint and book early if you don’t want to be disappointed!). Meanwhile, a garlic-and-tomato pizza bread helped to stave off the hunger pangs and a few minutes later head waiter Massimo was showing us to our seats and taking our orders.

Sometimes, it’s the simplest dishes that satisfy and my partner began with an Insalata Caprese (buffalo mozzarella, fresh beef tomatoes with balsamic reduction, fresh basil and green oil) while I had Bruschetta ai Pomodorini (toasted slices of altamura bread topped with vine cherry tomato, garlic and finished with basil oil). Both were fresh and light, getting us off to a very good start.

For mains, we moved on to sample a vegetarian Pasta Forno (slowly baked penne pasta with mushrooms to ‘nonna’s secret recipe’ – also available with meat!) and a Gnocchi Ortolano (baked roast vegetable gnocchi with crumbled goats’ cheese). Again, both perfectly cooked by head chef Gianluca Chiarelli and his team.

Gianluca hails from Settimello, a little village seven miles from Florence. He trained in Florence and gained experience working in restaurants in Italy and on board a cruise ship where Gianlucca met his English partner. In England, Gianlucca has worked in a number of successful restaurants, including Gordon Ramsey’s in Chelsea, The Box Tree in Ilkley with Simon Gueller and Oulton Hall in Rothwell. This led him to open his own café bistro which he ran for 4 years before taking up his current position at Bar Biccari.

By now we were beginning to feel the pull on our waistbands but couldn’t resist the desserts – a classic Tiramisu for my partner and Italian Gelato for me. Coffees to finish the meal and we were replete. All that was left was to speak to Wil about the restaurant to get some more background on the restaurant and the family.

First the name: Bar Biccari takes its name from Biccari, a town in southeast Italy where, it turns out, David Rayner’s mother comes from, so Biccari is a place with which the Rayner family (and now Wil) are very familiar, so it is no surprise that they wanted to recreate something of the feel of Italy in their restaurant. Wil explained that they would like to open an Italian-style deli counter within the restaurant from where they can sell imported Italian foods to local residents. He feels there would be a demand for quality Italian foodstuffs, and I’m sure he’s right.

Until then, customers will just have to make do with having their meals cooked for them in the restaurant which can accommodate 50 diners at a time and is open evenings Tuesday to Sunday and lunchtimes Thursday to Saturday. There’s an à la carte menu, a mid-week menu (with two courses for £12.95 or three for £15.95) and a specials board.

If you’re just looking for a drink and light nibbles, there is a spacious upstairs Prosecco Bar with an outside terrace, where a range of drinks, antipasti and pizzas can be enjoyed. There are also special event nights – have a look at the website for details.

So there you are. Bar Biccari was a real treat and we enjoyed our visit. If you’re looking for good food and a friendly welcome, try Bar Biccari. I’m sure that you too will love it. In fact, you can bank on it!

My partner and I dined as guests of Bar Biccari.

Bar Biccari, 2 Highfield Road, Horbury, WF4 5LU

Website: www.barbiccari.co.uk Telephone: 01924 263626

With Cream on Top: afternoon tea at Wakefield café Mocca Moocho

Always something to tempt at Mocca Moocho!

In June 2018, I had something to celebrate – and Mags and Jamie Blackshaw, owners Wakefield café Mocca Moocho invited me and my partner in as guests to help make the occasion even more memorable. I wrote up my experience with a review for TopicUK magazine – and you can read it here.

There’s something quintessentially British about the idea of ‘afternoon tea’. It conjures up images of delicate finger sandwiches, fancy cakes and scones with jam and cream, all served on fine chinaware in a lovely sunny setting on a summer’s day or cosily by the fireside in the deep of winter: lashings of hot tea, the chink of cup against saucer and the sound of sparkling conversation.

Historically, our notions of afternoon tea can be traced back to Anna, the 7th Duchess of Bedford who is reputed to have started the trend back in 1840. Apparently, she felt a bit peckish one afternoon and asked her staff to bring her something light to eat with a pot of tea. This became a habit and she started inviting friends in to join her. (In those days, dinner at the finest houses was served around 8 pm, so they needed something in between lunch and dinner).

Before you could say ‘cream scone’, the habit had become a tradition – and a fashionable one at that. By the 1880s, the refined ladies and gentlemen of high society were dressing in their elegant clothes to share tea, sandwiches and cakes at formal afternoon teas served at around four o’clock each day.

Now, of course, most of us are too busy to take a formal afternoon tea every day so the words ‘afternoon tea’ have become synonymous with refinement and elegance and perhaps most of all they hint hint at something that’s a touch special. The best china, the tiered cake stands and the fanciest of cakes are brought together to create a moment of calm when friends and family can indulge a love of cake while catching up with each other on their latest news.

There’s an afternoon tea for every budget and, however mouth-watering the food, some of the prices charged by the poshest hotels can perhaps best be described as, well, eye-watering! But, ladies and gentlemen, I’m here to tell you that you don’t have to spend a fortune to enjoy a quality afternoon tea! I’ve found somewhere where it’s possible to sample some delightful sandwiches, some delicious cakes and the fruitiest of scones, all served with tea or coffee, for under £10! Where, I hear you ask, is such incredible value available?

Well, right in the centre of Wakefield is the answer. Yes, at the long-established and well-known café Mocca Moocho, it’s possible to enjoy a lovely afternoon tea for just £9.95 per person. If you want to add a bit of fizz, and you can afford it at these prices, you can spoil yourself with a glass of sparkling Rosé wine for just £5 extra – and what a treat you will have!

My partner and I enjoyed such a treat one afternoon in early May when we called in to see proprietors Mags and Jamie Blackshaw who opened the business some ten years ago (they won a Wakefield Civic Society Design Award back in 2009 for their premises) and now employ 15 staff, a number that goes up to around 20 during the summer months to meet the extra demand.

Some readers may remember Mags and Jamie running August Day in the Ridings Centre and before that when they ran Colonel Mustard in Wood Street. Altogether, they’ve been part of the Wakefield catering scene for some 30 years but they first came together a couple of years before that while working for a large national retailer, something they’d been doing for many years. They discovered a shared a dream of running a business of their own. Mags took a catering management degree course to prepare and they found their niche in Wakefield in the coffee and café trade. The rest, as they say, is history.

Today, their fully licensed café in Cross Square is a hive of activity with business people dropping in for a coffee and a chat with colleagues, shoppers resting their feet and their bags over a cuppa, and visitors to the city perhaps having a breather from sight-seeing.  Whether you’re looking for breakfast or lunch, or just a coffee and a bun, there’s plenty of seating in the café – there’s a large upstairs space as well as the seating on the ground floor, and, of course, you can sit out front where you can people watch from under the awning. Whether you’re there to chat or to work, there’s free wi-fi available. Should you venture upstairs, look out for Jamie’s bookshelves from which he offers second-hand books for sale from his personal collection of hand-bound Folio Society editions.

The café is open from 8 am until 4.30 pm Mondays to Saturdays and from 9 am until 4 pm on Sundays. Group bookings are possible, both during opening hours and for special events outside these times – just get in touch to enquire.

So, what was out afternoon tea like? Well, it was, of course, truly scrumptious. We were there as guests of Mags and Jamie but as it was part of a personal celebration too, we just had to have that glass of Rosé to get things started. Yes, we had the tiered cake stands, which always add a touch of style, and, believe me, they came fully laden! In fact, we were defeated and ended up asking for the proverbial doggie bag to take some of the cakes home with us for later. All in all, it was a very enjoyable afternoon and I think the Mocca Moocho afternoon tea must be one of the best-value treats in Wakefield!

If you fancy experiencing a Mocca Moocho afternoon tea for yourself, please note that you will usually need to book at least 2 days in advance. You can do this by telephone or via the café’s Facebook page.

Mocca Moocho, 10 Cross Square, Wakefield, WF1 1PH.

Facebook: www.facebook.com/moccamoocho/

Telephone: 01924 361755

Start your afternoon tea in style!
A stack of tasty treats!

These scones take some beating!

The New Inn at Walton is a thriving pub and restaurant at the heart of a very old village

The New Inn at night

In March 2018, I visited the New Inn at Walton on behalf of TopicUK magazine. This is my review.

There was a time when you could have reached The New Inn at Walton by land or by sea. OK, that last part might be a bit of a stretch, but Wakefield was once an inland port, navigable to (and from) the sea, and the canal system enabled boats to reach just about anywhere inland. The Barnsley Canal, dug in the late 1790s used to connect Barnsley and Wakefield and passed close by the pub until the canal was closed in 1953. Although the canal has long gone with some sections filled in and even built on, there is a group, The Barnsley, Dearne & Dove Canals Trust, who are campaigning to get the canal re-opened. Until that lucky day, though, the only way to get to The New Inn is by road.

The name ‘New Inn’ seems a misnomer for such an old building although it must, of course, have been new once upon a time. Walton is known to have been settled in Anglo-Saxon times (when it was known as known as Weala-tun, meaning ‘village of the Welshmen’) and is recorded in the Domesday Book of 1086 as Waleton.

Records show that there were at least six licensed houses in Walton at one time. As well as The New Inn, there were The Cross Keys, The Star Inn, The Rose and Crown, The Boot and Shoe and an apparently unnamed beer house on Greenside, not to mention numerous other unlicensed ones.(1) That there were so many thriving pubs in the past can probably be attributed to the fact that many navvies came to the area to help with building the canals and later the railways, adding to the number of agricultural labourers and coal miners already working in there.

Today, though, The New Inn is the only pub in the village and is run by husband and wife team Ria Brooks-Bell and Iain Bell. They bought the property in November 2011 and invested heavily in the premises and the business to create a thriving village pub and restaurant that offers visitors a warm welcome in comfortable surroundings.

Ria, who is a native of the village, and Iain each have a background in the licensed trade and were both working for the Slug and Lettuce chain when they first met ten years ago – Ria was employed in sales and marketing while Iain ran one of the chain’s pubs in Leeds.

Having ‘teamed up’ the couple took on responsibility for running the Slug and Lettuce in Deansgate, Manchester, but then, around seven years ago, Ria’s father, Adrian, drew their attention to the fact that The New Inn was being offered for sale and, with a bit of help from the bank of mum and dad, the couple decided to make an offer, which was accepted.

The pub is today very much a family affair; Ria’s father and two brothers help to keep the business running (if mostly by doing their socialising in the bar) while Ria’s mother, Jacqui, does the office work, allowing Ria to focus on running the pub and Iain to lead in the kitchen where he is head chef. It is perhaps a mark of their success that the pub now employs some 28 staff: it was certainly very busy when my partner and I dined there one Wednesday evening at the end of March as guests of the establishment.

As I’ve mentioned before, the life of a restaurant reviewer is not without its challenges. To do the job right, you have to work your way through three courses and so it was that we set about ordering our meals. For a starter, I opted for Salt and Pepper Halloumi Slices in batter. These come with a salad garnish and chilli chutney (although I had mine with ketchup!). I followed this with a Vegetarian Shepherd’s Pie served with ‘seasonal vegetables’ and then topped it all off with Caramel Apple Pie and custard. Had I been paying, that would have set me back £21.65, which is not at all bad for a three-course meal and typical of what you can expect to pay there.

Meanwhile, my partner chose dishes from the specials menu. He started with a Bread-Crumbed Brie Wedge, with mixed salad leaves, and for mains chose the Penne Pasta with Pesto, topped with rocket leaves and parmesan shavings. For dessert, he went with the ice cream. Again, the meal would have cost around the £20 mark. The specials’ menu is changed daily while the standard menu is refreshed every six months (so by the time you are reading this, the summer menus will be in use – you can check the menus on the pub’s website).

Should you be visiting at lunchtime, there is the option of a main course from a lunchtime specials menu for just £6.95 and even the offer of a sandwich, chips and a soft drink at the same price. No wonder the place does good business. Or how about an afternoon tea – you have to order these at least a day in advance but at just £12.95 per person (£17.95 if you want it with Prosecco), it certainly looks like good value.

The New Inn can cater for groups in the main restaurant area or there’s the option to book a private room – the Chef’s Table, which seats up to eight people for a private dining experience. Or try the upstairs dining room, Lock Eleven, named after the Eleventh Lock on the afore-mentioned Barnsley Canal which was closest to the pub, where you have the choice of dining inside and experiencing the cosy surroundings, or outside on the open air terrace enjoying views of the surrounding countryside. Lock Eleven can be booked for private groups of up to 20 people.

The New Inn is open from 12 noon until late, seven days a week, and food is served until 9 pm. There’s an extensive garden area with lots of seating and a large car park, there’s plenty of room for everyone. Taking the dog for a walk? Well, provided your pooch is well behaved, you’ll find your four-legged friend is even allowed into the tap room!

So, there you are. If you’ve not yet sampled The New Inn for yourself, there’s really no excuse. The service is friendly, the food is good and the price is right. The canal may no longer be there, but the road still leads to Walton….. Why not follow it there?

My partner and I dined as guests of the New Inn.

(1) Source: A History of Walton by Peter Wright Published in 1985 by Countryside Publications.

The New Inn, 144 Shay Lane, Walton, Wakefield, West Yorkshire WF2 6LA

Website: http://www.thenewinnwalton.co.uk/

Telephone: Tel. 01924 255447


With the opening of Robatary, Wakefield’s reputation for stylish new restaurants goes up another notch

A stylish interior creates atmosphere

In January 2018, I was asked to review Robatary, then Wakefield’s newest restaurant, on behalf of TopicUK magazine. Here’s what I wrote at the time (and I have been back several times since!).

You may already be familiar with 25-27 Northgate in Wakefield. For many years the premises operated as the popular, if unassuming, Qubana Restaurant and Grill – but the building fell quiet when Qubana picked up its skirts and moved across town to the spacious former Barclays Bank building at the end of Wood Street just over a year ago.

Since then, the Northgate premises have lain empty and were even boarded up for a while as work started on a major refurbishment project. The only clue to what was happening was the mysterious word ‘Robatary’ etched across the front. The business is still owned by Jenny Thompson and Matthew Burton, who also own the new Qubana, but they needed a different brand for their ‘old’ restaurant, and Wakefield’s bon vivants waited with breath abated to see what would emerge.  

Finally, the shuttering was removed and all was revealed. Just a week before Christmas 2017, the new place opened its doors to the paying public. And that word ‘Robatary’? It turns out to be the name of the restaurant!

The word actually has a Japanese origin (although that is the only connection the restaurant has with that country – the food is British, albeit with a twist). Apparently, a robata is a sort of charcoal grill used to prepare food in Japan. Robatayaki is a form of cooking in which food is cooked over hot charcoal, rather like a barbecue but, in the case, indoors. The charred taste that the hot coals infuse into the food, be it meat, fish or vegetables, brings the flavours to life.

Keen as ever to sample something new, I booked a table for two and my partner and I went along to see what it was like.

From the moment you step inside, it’s obvious that everything has changed! In fact, the only carry-over from the old Qubana is manager Gareth Quinn whose task it was to look after us as we sampled the food and I spoke to the customers and generally wandered around the place with my camera aloft.

Gareth brought us menus and took our orders. For a Tuesday evening, the restaurant was nicely busy, despite it being a very wintry night. (Honestly it was! Snow was falling outside as we arrived and not even in Wakefield were people taking advantage of the outdoor seating!), Seating inside is a mix of open plan and private booths (we had a booth, giving us a slightly raised vantage point to see what was going on) and, when the weather turns warmer, the glass doors facing onto the street can be opened up in the European manner.

One thing that Jenny and Matthew do well is style. Visitors to the new Qubana have been very impressed with what has been achieved with the old bank but here at Robatary, the more modern building needed something contemporary. There’s a mix of textures, wood, (faux) concrete – one wall reminded me of the Hepworth!, ceramic tiles, glass, chrome, and steel, giving off a slightly industrial vibe, but reined back and softened with velvet and leather upholstery and fluffy cushions. Carefully chosen background music adds a touch of class and even a slightly sultry mood.

But of course, we were there to sample the food, not just ogle the soft furnishings. The menu was still slightly experimental at the time of our visit and was being updated after the pre-Christmas opening. The intention is that the menu, devised by executive chef Craig England, will follow the seasons and will be updated throughout the year.

To begin your meal, you can select from a number of nibbles, breads and charcuterie dishes or go straight to the starters. Although a ‘grill’, the restaurant caters well for vegetarians. The main courses are listed under three headings – Land, Sea and Earth (for which read meat, fish and vegetable) – and there’s a fourth section offering a variety of steaks. All can be ordered with side dishes and sauces.  There’s a handful of desserts (or ‘treats’ as they are listed) from which to select to finish off your meal.  Prices are £5 – £7.50 for starters (nibbles range from £3 to £4.50), and mains run from £12 to £17 – but be prepared to pay more for a steak! Sides and accompaniments are charged extra.  Desserts are all priced at £5.

As regular readers would expect, my partner and I opted for the vegetarian dishes. For starters, I had the grilled spiced courgette skewers (the spiciness dialled right down which, for me, was good) while my partner had the goat’s curd (which looks and tasted better than it perhaps sounds!). These were both light and beautifully presented, setting us up well for the main courses: wood-roasted aubergine in my case and homemade gnocchi for my partner. For desserts (sorry, treats), we had Key lime tart, served with clotted cream, (me) and wood-roasted rhubarb, served with ice cream. These were served ‘deconstructed’ and again very artistically arranged. The cost of our meal would come in at a little over £20 per person plus drinks, which is very reasonable.

So, what did we think? Well, in terms of style, the friendliness of the service, food quality and overall presentation, Robatary comes out very well indeed; it will certainly give some of the local competition a run for their money. And that wasn’t just our verdict. Chatting to some of the other customers, they also thought very highly of the establishment.

The restaurant is conveniently located and is at the heart of the city’s burgeoning restaurant scene. It is open daily from 12 noon (until late) and small groups can be catered for but, as Gareth pointed out, the restaurant is really designed to provide for a more intimate dining experience.

Gareth also told me that his ambition is to make Robatary the best restaurant in Wakefield. On the basis of our evening there, he’s well on the way to achieving that goal.

My partner and I dined as guests of Robatary.

Robatary, 25-27 Northgate, Wakefield, WF1 3BJ. Tel: 01924 211904.

Website: www.robatary.co.uk

Art on a plate – the Hepworth Wakefield Café is now ‘under new management’

I think it is fair to say that, before the arrival of the Hepworth gallery, Wakefield had rather turned its back on the River Calder. Unlike other towns and cities, we weren’t making very much of our ‘waterfront’. The railway line high on the embankment from Kirkgate Station and running parallel with Ings Road rather delineated the city centre – why would anyone want to venture down to the riverside?

That all changed when The Hepworth Wakefield opened its doors back in the spring of 2011 but despite its success at bringing visitors to the city, the gallery still feels like it’s a bit out on a limb, part of Wakefield’s cultural offer and yet slightly apart from the city itself. That too will change in the not-too-distant future if, as expected, the eagerly awaited plans to convert the former Rutland Mills into “a vibrant mixed-use creative quarter for collaborative partnerships in music, film, TV, design and new media” come to fruition: the Hepworth Wakefield will find itself part of a much bigger waterfront ‘arts scene’, complete with boutique hotel.

Galleries and cafés go together, of course, but the newly re-vamped The Hepworth Café is something a bit different from the usual offering. Since 20th October 2017, the management of the café has been in new hands: independent Leeds coffee shop House of Koko (Shanshan Zhu and Chris Ball) has partnered with Wakefield’s MasterChef quarter-finalist Chris Hale and his wife, Sophie Mei Lan, to take over the running of The Hepworth Café.

New management, new approach and totally independent: the café is a mix of café and restaurant. It offers a simple range of dishes that will appeal to both vegetarian and vegan palettes but which can then be augmented with a number of extras and side dishes to cater for the omnivores among us. For example, when I visited the new café back in November 2017, I had the ‘The Full Vegan’ (£8.45) which consists of homemade baked beans, sweetcorn fritters, half an avocado, and crispy red onions, salad and toast. (It also comes with tomato and chilli jam, but I passed on this as I never did acquire a taste for chilli.) While this was a real plateful in itself – warming on a cold day and nourishing – you can, if you wish, add a poached egg for £1.50 or smoked salmon, crispy bacon or smoked chicken for £2 each. Skinny fries at £2.95, coleslaw at £1.95 or a side salad (also £1.95) can also be added to any dish.

Meanwhile, my partner opted for the ‘Homemade Baked Beans’, a dish which consisted of chick peas, butter beans and kidney beans with toasted pumpkin seeds, all served on sourdough bread. The dish can be had with or without shaved parmesan. This had a menu price of just £6 but again can be ordered with any of the extras mentioned above.
Among the other dishes available, there’s also a Steak and Ale Pie for £8.95, Corn Fritters and Avocado Stack for £6.95 and a couple of salads (Chicken Caesar and Autumnal Salad, £6.95 and £5.95 respectively).

For desserts, you can choose buttermilk pancakes or select from a range of cakes and pastries available at the counter. Sophie told me that they wanted to keep the menu simple to start with and then build it up once they got to know their customers better. She takes great pride in pointing out that ingredients are sourced from local suppliers wherever possible.

Alongside a range of beers and Fentimans soft drinks, The Hepworth Café builds on the experience of Shanshan and Chris from House of Koko in bringing speciality coffee to Wakefield – something of a first for the city. As with House of Koko, The Hepworth Café serves North Star Coffee‘s Czar Street seasonal espresso. A brew bar offers single origin coffees from around the globe. Tea drinkers are not forgotten: the café serves 20 loose leaf teas, all weighed, timed and brewed to perfection – and there’s always a good cup of Yorkshire tea on hand.

The café employs a team of 20 friendly staff. The business partners each have distinct roles but show a willingness to lend a hand wherever it is needed: Shanshan is in charge of front of house management while Chris Hale works in the kitchen as Executive Chef. A quarter-finalist in the 2016 MasterChef TV competition, self-taught Executive Chef Chris continues to run his Pop-Up North catering and pop-up restaurant business alongside his work at the café while Sophie leads on the media and public relations aspects of the café. Chris Ball from House of Koko is responsible for marketing and design. (Sophie is a blogger and freelance journalist who is also part of the editorial team for the Wakefield edition of TopicUK, for whom I originally wrote this article.)

The café retains the dark wood chairs and tables that regular visitors from the past will be familiar with but there are also soft squishy sofas and even ‘work stations’ for people who want to sit and work while drinking their coffee.

Wherever you sit, you’ll find yourself amid potted and hanging plants which add a welcome touch of greenery and visual contrast while also helping to soften the space and making it feel more intimate. All around the café you will see unusual houseplants, succulents, cacti, ferns, concrete pots and plant hangers supplied by Yorkshire-based plant specialist geo-fleur and these are available to buy. Additionally, The Hepworth Café sells its own range of gifts with produce from across Yorkshire – from the best pickles and condiments to sweet treats – and they also offer hampers. There really is no need to go away empty handed!

So, there you have it – a gallery café which can claim to be a destination in itself. But don’t just take my word for it: get yourself down to The Hepworth Café and try it out. Oh, and while you’re there, you might just want to take in some art as well…..

My partner and I dined as guests of The Hepworth Café. A version of this article first appeared in the January 2018 edition of TopicUK magazine for Wakefield.