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Meson La Pepa
Restaurant Address:

Wood Street

Visited On:

23rd November, 2010, 6.30pm

Reviewed By: Vikki of Almondbury

Spanish restaurant Meson La Pepa is a newly opened addition to Huddersfield’s growing list of independent restaurants. Located on Wood Street, the restaurant was previously Italian Mona Lisa’s and is close by to popular bars Vox and Verve. On-street parking is available immediately outside the restaurant and in neighbouring roads, and is free after 6pm. It is around 5 minutes walk from Huddersfield railway station and bus station.

My friend and I were greeted with a warm welcome as we entered the restaurant on a cold Tuesday evening.
Anticipating our arrival, the waiter/manager greeted me by name having made the booking a few days before. We were kindly shown immediately to our table, located in a cosy corner of the small and rustic premises and handed the extensive menus.

Despite it being early (both in the week and in the day) the restaurant was already hosting other diners – some of whom were sat at the bar enjoying a post-work beer and selection of small tapas – in a truly Spanish style.

The décor feels authentic – quite rustic and, as the restaurant is fairly small with different corners of tables, cosy and intimate. Lighting was fairly low and the Spanish music was a nice addition.

Surveying the extensive menu, we were both spoilt for choice – luckily with it being tapas it was possible to try lots of dishes! As well as cold and hot tapas, the menu also includes several starter and main course options, including tasty sounding fish dishes and chicken too – all reasonably priced, plus paella (which needs to be ordered in advance due to a 40 minute cooking time).

Our attentive waiter informed us that we could start with 5-6 dishes and could always order more if we fancied. Keen to try a wide range we picked 6 dishes to share, plus bread and dips. The dishes we chose were manchego cheese, patatas bravas (fried potatoes with a spicy tomato sauce), deep fried calamari, prawns in garlic and chilli, cod in a rioja sauce and chorizo in red wine. As a former vegetarian, the only problem I found with the menu was that vegetarian dishes were not marked and in some cases it was not clear whether they would contain meat without asking (for example, stuffed peppers).

Upon ordering we were brought a small dish of tasty olives and some toasted bread and a few minutes later the dishes began to arrive. With tapas, the dishes arrive as they are ready rather than all together – this is great as it creates a more leisurely meal and chance to enjoy each dish individually. All of the dishes were extremely tasty, with strong flavours and lots of garlic! The cod with rioja sauce was a particular favourite of ours, we both said we would choose that again next time.

Throughout our meal as the dishes kept arriving, the waiter remained attentive and friendly – telling us about some of the dishes and ensuring that we liked everything we had ordered. During our visit, other tables began filling up, creating a lovely informal and relaxed atmosphere.

Although the service was attentive, we were never felt rushed with our meal and would hope that this would be the case even on a busy Saturday night. When I asked for some tap water, a bottle of chilled water was brought to the table with two glasses – nicer than just a glass of water.

After the table was cleared our waiter asked whether we wanted dessert, he told us the three choices and was happy to let us leave it ten minutes before ordering. Upon making our order, a dark and white chocolate ganache cake to share, we were delighted with our choice, it was rich and certainly big enough for two! The only criticism would be that as it came straight from the fridge it was a little hard, however the waiter soon noticed this and brought us a knife to cut it into smaller slices.

After we had eaten dessert we requested the bill and unfortunately were then told that with the restaurant being newly opened they did not yet have a card machine. Having planned to pay by card we had to walk to a cash machine around the corner, as we had enjoyed the meal so much we did not mind this and to our delight were greeted with the offer of a free aperitif when we returned.

The total price for our party for 7 tapas, 2 soft drinks and 1 dessert was £32, which we felt demonstrated excellent value for money considering the quality of food and service.

With regards to the facilities, the ladies toilet was a little cold but very clean and with the nice touch of lovely hand cream and individual hand towels. The only drawback to the premises are that to enter the restaurant you need to go down a small flight of stairs, no doubt an issue for disabled diners and it was not clear whether there was another entrance.

My friend and I had a truly enjoyable meal and will certainly be going back in the near future. I would recommend this restaurant to anyone who would like an authentic Spanish experience – from the laid back and friendly service to the extensive menu. We will be back!

To see this restaurant on Virtual Huddersfield click here > Meson La Pepa

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