Dining out at H's Restaurant and Wine Bar
PUBLISHED: 11:01 06 August 2013 | UPDATED: 11:19 06 August 2013
Our reviewer discovers a unique venue and a varied menu in the heart of Bakewell
If ever there was a dining destination that was just as suited to a relaxed lunch or convivial daytime refreshments as it was to an intimate evening meal or champagne celebration, then H’s in Bakewell would most definitely be it.
Located in the centre of this attractive market town, the aptly named H’s Restaurant and Wine Bar has been owned by Helen Hartley for more than 20 years. Outdoors, the building blends in with its surroundings beautifully and sits sandwiched between Bakewell Pudding Factory - a bakery and coffee shop also owned by Helen - and Wye Accessories.
But it is inside where the venue really comes into its own. The ground floor cafe, with its exposed floorboards and relaxed atmosphere, lends itself as the perfect place to enjoy a light lunch, while upstairs there’s a cosy wine bar and a more intimate, formal dining room with exposed brick walls, crisp white linen covering the tables and window side seats from which to enjoy the view of the street below. There’s also a small first floor terrace, ideal for al fresco dining on a balmy evening.
H’s also attracts a varied clientele - guests on the Saturday evening of our visit included young couples enjoying a quiet drink and a large party celebrating a special occasion – and the dining options are ravishingly varied. Breakfasts, snacks, lunches and afternoon cream teas are available daily, while evening meals are served from Thursday to Sunday between 6pm and 11pm. The restaurant’s flexibility doesn’t end there; it specialises in both English and Italian cuisine, under the guidance of head chef Achille Travaglini, and caters for celiac diets.
The European-style menu is divided into starters, pastas and risottos, salads, mains and char-grill options, burgers and homemade stone-baked pizzas – all of which sound equally tempting. Choices on the night included Capriccio dello Chef (oriental-style seared squid), sea bass in almond crust served with new potatoes, lobster linguini, a hot salsiccia pizza with roast potatoes and broccoli, plus a mouth-watering variety of steaks and fillets.
A crisp glass of Ancora Chiaretto and complementary bread served with olive oil and balsamic dip made the short wait for our starters all the more pleasant, but you can also order nibbles such as olives or garlic bread for £3.95.
I opted for the red onion and goat’s cheese tart to start (£5.25). The piquant and creamy mix of ingredients was complemented by a thin and crumbly short crust pastry base – a winning combination. Across the table, my dining companion enjoyed earthy mushroom soup and homemade bread, drizzled with a decorative ‘H’ (£4.75).
Robust flavours characterised our main courses. My friend chose ‘The Veggie’ burger (£8.95), a rich-tasting dish with a mighty tower of components – including tomato ‘compost’, mushrooms, halloumi cheese and red onion - packed between crispy ciabatta bread, with chips and homemade beer battered onion rings to accompany.
My own dish of char-grilled chicken breast (£10.95) was served with spinach, melted mozzarella cheese and thick sliced ham. The cooking method ensured the succulent chicken was full of flavour and the meat arrived alongside creamy mashed potato with a mix of salted mini corn, green beans, peas and carrots. Tangy blue cheese sauce was the perfect accompaniment.
The plentiful portion sizes had left just enough room for dessert, so we chose two classics to finish – apple pie with ice cream and crème brulee with homemade shortbread and red berries, priced at £5.25 each. Fittingly, the town’s famous Bakewell pudding and Bakewell tart were also on the menu.
A steaming cup of coffee rounded off an excellent meal and one that had left us hoping to return soon, possibly to make the most of the outdoor terrace in the warmer weather. H’s appeal just keeps on growing!
H’s Restaurant and Wine Bar, Wye House, Water Street, Bakewell DE45 1EW Tel: 01629 815107 www.hswinebar.co.uk