CLEVERLY situated within a catfish’s whisker of Leeds Bradford Aiport, Murgatroyds provides a convenient and much better value alternative to the usually dismal travellers’ fayre.
"Murgatroyds has deviated from the standard fish and chip restaurant format in a way that is surprising and successful"
As a girl who grew up in a coastal town, I like to think I know my bass from my elver, and to be confronted by a 250-seat industrial strength fish restaurant, landlocked on the edge of the Pennines, my authenticity radar was full on.
Murgatroyds doesn’t attempt to affect seaside décor, which would be absurd, but instead has chosen a low key art-deco theme, pulling on the site’s history as a woollen mill whose owner - Billy Murgatroyd - now lends his name to the restaurant.
Murgatroyds has deviated from the standard fish and chip restaurant format in a way that is surprising and successful.
The restaurant was clearly busy as my companion and I arrived, but we were seated immediately by a pleasant and welcoming waitress. We ordered drinks; a pot of filter coffee (£1.75) and a tall, refreshing lemonade (£1.30) which were brought to us along with a side plate of bread (for chip butties, of course). My partner requested unbuttered, and he was brought an extra plateful immediately.
A classic Prawn Cocktail (£4.95) seemed a good if slightly retro place to start, and it was properly 70s camp. It was also pink and creamy, although the bread it was served with was a little stale. My partner plumped for a bowl of moules mariniere (£4.25) served in a sharp wine and parsley sauce. This wasn’t the freshest he’d tasted, but was flavoursome without being overpowering.
Fish And ChipsOpening just in time for lunch (11:30am - late) and with an all day bar, Murgatroyds offers an exceptionally wide range of beverages; speciality teas and coffees, wines, liqueurs, spirits and soft drinks, when compared to the usual chippy. This extends to its menu in general and a variety of dishes, including chicken and vegetarian options available for non-psecetarians (although that rather defeats the object of coming here).
For main course, I opted for one of the exciting fish cake dishes; haddock and smoked applewood cheese (£8.25), served with salad instead of chips. I was concerned the smoked cheese might smother the more subtle fish, but the flavours proved to be very complimentary.
My companion had the ‘Billy Murg Special’ (£11.95); a plate of traditional but super-sized haddock, chips and plump marrowfat mushy peas with a free tea or coffee. The fish was rather bland, but the batter was crisp and not too greasy. It was the hand-cooked chips made from quality, starchy potatoes that really made the meal though.
Throughout the visit, portions were generous and the cooking quality excellent. Our waitresses were helpful and very keen - at one point trying to remove a plate which wasn’t quite finished with. So, whilst I can’t agree that Murgatroyds lives up to its claim as ”Britain’s Finest Fish and Chip Restaurant - it will always be beaten on freshness - it does a great job at providing quality food, good service and pleasant but functional surroundings.
ALL SCORED CONFIDENTIAL REVIEWS ARE IMPARTIAL. £1000 to the reader who can prove otherwise, and dismissal for the staff member who wrote a review scored out of twenty on a freebie from the restaurant.
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