The Stubbing Wharf
Highly Recommended Canalside Treats
Ten minutes walk along the towpath from Hebden’s centre, the Stubbing Wharf is a thriving pub situated between the River Calder and the Rochdale Canal. Children, dogs, walkers and boaters are welcome. On sunny days you can sit on wooden benches beside the canal, gazing out over colourful narrowboats and wooded hillsides. During chillier months a real fire keeps the olde worlde interior cosy. The wood panelled ceiling, mismatched wooden tables and simple red/cream décor create a homely feel. There’s a good range of guest ales and probably the finest selection of ciders in town.
The food is far better than standard pub fare, featuring a good number of vegetarian and/or gluten free dishes, and a smaller selection of vegan options. There are light meals, sandwiches, pub classics (pie, steak, fish and chips, lasagne), and more unusual dishes (game stew with Yorkshire pudding, giant spicy beanburger). An effort is made to source meat locally; the chips are peeled and chopped in the pub kitchen. A Specials menu offers variety throughout the week, Sunday night is steak night (two steak meals and a bottle of wine for £25), and there’s a simple earlybird menu with two courses for £10*. Smaller, discounted portions are available for children.
Starters range from tasty soup with hot crusty bread for £4.25 to black pudding and goat’s cheese for £5.50. Mains are £8.50 (beanburger) to £16.50 (fillet steak). “Lighter meals”, at £5.50-£8.50, include linguini, risotto, seafood salad and perfect-for-sharing nachos; “Significant sandwiches” (hot and cold varieties) are served in baguette, ciabatta or granary bread, with chips and salad, for £5.50-£7.50.
When we last visited the Stubbing Wharf, starters from the Specials board included a fig, feta and pomegranate salad (a divine cacophony of contrasting flavours) and a warm chicken, chorizo and bacon salad (extravagantly meaty, yet somehow still light and delicate). The lamb Henry combined cooked to perfection tender meat with winter veg that hit the right still-slightly-crunchy spot. The jalapeno nachos beat us (nicely spicy; too big for one).
For afters you can choose from an imaginative variety of tarts and puddings, or a simple icecream or cheeseboard. We chose a lemon tart with strawberry icecream, and a fruit cake with rum-raisin icecream, cherries and kirsch. They were probably the best pub puddings we’ve ever experienced. The presentation was outstanding (starters and desserts) and the service was really good – the staff seem to genuinely care about providing a good experience for their customers.
Booking ahead is essential to be sure of a table… if you just turn up, you may have to sit on the towpath and wait awhile for your food.
Food: Mon-Fri noon-3pm & 5-9pm, Sat noon-9pm, Sun noon-8pm
*The earlybird menu is available Mon-Fri noon-2pm and 5-7pm (not bank hols or December).
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