Dining out brought back memories of Crete. The Pear Tree in Mirfield
You can’t blame me for wanting to prolong my holiday just that little bit longer.
After 10 days on the Greek island of Crete I had become a convert to the Mediterranean diet.
Salad fresh from the fields, the ripest olives, rustic bread and, of course, the most virgin of olive oils.
“It’s the secret of a long and healthy life,” I was told.
I would be economical with the truth if I let you believe that’s all I ate on holiday. No, I indulged as well – the ice creams were to die for – but I really bought into the healthy stuff.
So much so that it was compulsory that we brought home the extra virgin olive oil that Crete is famous for.
So when I saw a Mediterranean slant to the menu at the Pear Tree, a pub and restaurant in Mirfield, it was a way to be transported back to that pretty, sun-dappled taverna where we lunched like locals.
My partner Sian and I were joined by our friends Stan and Nancy and I always like to ensure we sample the widest spread from a menu.
My starter was the sweetest and smoothest hummus, pitta bread, salad, a generous stack of black and green olives (without stones) and a dipping bowl of olive oil (£4.95).
Where Mirfield scored over Crete was the removal of the stones from the olives.
There are weekly specials at the Pear Tree along with the traditional pub menu. Starters on the specials board included a black pudding, cherry tomato and bacon tower, pan-fried calamari and warm chicken and pineapple salad.
The special mains included stir-fried duck breast with ginger and sweet chilli and smoked salmon penne carbonara.
Sian immediately zeroed in on the duck – I was tempted too – but when it came to ordering the waitress apologised and said all the duck had gone, and so had the salmon. That was a shame on a Thursday night when only two other tables in the restaurant were taken.
Sian had the calamari (£5.95) which she wolfed down with relish while Stan had the Thai fish cakes (£5.95).
I don’t think he was expecting the spicyness which took his breath away for a minute. It was crispy and delicious nonetheless.
Nancy opted out of a starter but helped herself to a few of my olives.
I was feeling quite chuffed with my healthy option and continued the theme with my mains.
Again from the specials board I picked the roasted peppers stuffed with cous cous and feta cheese (£9.95).
The peppers were topped with an Italian-style tomato sauce which had a depth and a tang paying a tasty compliment to the feta.
Sian had the lamb kebab which was tender and juicy.
Nancy joined the party with an old favourite, fish and chips (£8.50), served on a greaseproof “newspaper” headed The Daily Catch. And, yes, it also came on a plate.
The haddock was beautiful inside crunchy beer-batter and though the chips looked a little brown and over-cooked they tasted just fine.
Stan’s crusty steak and ale pie (£8.25) was filling and not over-powering. He had been concerned that his pie would be drowned in gravy but he was reassured by the waitress that his gravy came in a jug and he would be free to pour as much, or as little, as he wanted.
The current trend in pub-style restaurants is for mammoth portions but here the servings are just right, allowing adequate belt space for pudding.
The desserts are traditional and tempting, coming with a choice of custard or ice cream. At only £3.45 each they are a bargain, too.
My choice was the sticky toffee pudding with custard, which was gooey and rich, while Sian’s chocolate fudge cake disappeared in quick time.
Stan was disappointed the apple, pear and cinnamon crumble had all gone and he was encouraged towards the spotted dick.
“It doesn’t look like how I remember spotted dick,” said Stan when it arrived.
But this modern take on an old classic soon vanished, however, spots and all.
Back home I insisted on rounding off the meal as they do on Crete with a quick snifter of raki, a traditional spirit made from distilled grapes.
Another import from our holiday, raki is good for the digestion and best downed in one. Yamas!