A mill built beside a canal in 1831 lends itself really well to conversion into an hotel with business facilities and a restaurant. When we arrived there was a wedding reception in full flow; by dinner time, as the waiter said, a few had staggered down for a drink but otherwise all was as placid as the ducks and geese on the water.
There are several Italians in key positions in the restaurant, named Prego but in no sense to be confused with Prezzo. Hotel guests have a choice of bed and breakfast or, as we had, half-board. Next time – and there will be – we may consider b&b but still eat in the restaurant, with a choice of table d’hote or a la carte. Either way prices are very reasonable, and the food is – in a double sense – overwhelming.
Our stay was not a holiday but to visit a daughter in hospital; the Waterfront nonetheless gave us something akin to a holiday. The miraculous sunshine (in Yorkshire!) certainly helped, as between visits we managed a picnic lunch in idyllic conditions. There are three levels of accommodation, standard, executive and de-luxe, with single or double options in standard. I would recommend executive or de-luxe, at no great premium, as we found our standard double not over-generous. It was adequate, however, with desk and chair in addition to the usual furnishings. There were plenty of coat hangers, not often to be found in budget accommodation.
The canal-side location offers pleasant walks before or after a meal; for other needs a Sainsbury’s supermarket is five minues’ stroll away, with Tesco (plus petrol station) a short drive round the town centre. Brighouse is having something of a face-lift after the near-disastrous flood of a couple of years ago and repays exploration, and the Dales are a short drive or bus ride away. It claims to have over 170 businesses, both national and local. There were plenty of Continental business people in residence.
So, to the food: unfortunately the camera was not with for the first night’s meal; the half-board deal is two courses followed by coffee, with wine or dessert as optional extras.
We went for both the first night. Wine begins with a very reasonable and tasty house selection at £14 a bottle. Our choices from the menu were bruschetta with a variety of grilled plum tomatoes in garlic, olive oil and fresh basil pesto, and a sautee of mixed mushrooms with garlic, white wine and cream. In many a restaurant these would have been main course quantities, but more was to follow. Pollo alla griglia seemed to be rather more than the simple breast as advertised, and came with roasted vine tomatoes and onions; branzino Mediterraneo offered two beautifully grilled sea bass fillets with broccoli, sun-blushed tomato and a delicious almond pesto, plus a salsa of tomato and shallot. How we managed the tasting selection of desserts I still don’t know: perhaps the coffee helped – it was splendid.
Wanting to vary our choices, we looked to the pizza and pasta side of the menu on the second evening. Enough pizza for two, or possibly four, was a major challenge for my wife, though as she said delicious with goat’s cheese, caramellized red onion, pine nuts and spinach. Most of the topping disappeared but sadly less than half of the crispy base. Perhaps it was the Caesar salad with chicken first course that did the damage. I had chosen a mixed flesh fishcake with salad leaves and lemon mayonnaise, lighter but still substantial, and followed it with the house-style fettucine Prego, which has chicken, asparagus tips, spring onions and peas in a cream sauce. There was no chance of a dessert afterwards. I should add that a choice of side dish comes with the main. This comprises chips, seasonal vegetables or salad.
Breakfast offers Continental or full English, and many people seemed to take both. Some of the cooked food is buffet-style but a variety of eggs are freshly prepared, included poached on haddock. Coffee can be freshly made or taken from the buffet where a selection of teas is also available.
Service, whether in the restaurant or the hotel at large, is willing and attentive but never effusive. For a moderate price – our two nights with extras at dinner came to £162, and we are offered a discount next time – the Waterfront is hard to beat.