Engine Social Dining | Why Sowerby Bridge should be your next foodie destination//= get_the_date( 'dS F Y' ); ?>
Engine Social Dining | Why Sowerby Bridge should be your next foodie destination
Nestled in the picturesque market town of Sowerby Bridge, this historic pub-turned lively restaurant blends comfort and style like a glossy Panna Cotta. Engine Social still has a vibrantly fresh flavour, after enjoying seven months of packed tables and empty plates. Ran by culinary double-act Chef Mark Kemp and Manager Wil Akroyd, we caught up with Wil, who left no doubt as to why their coveted Saturday tables have an 8-10 week booking wait, to experience their global small plates menu.
If you ever had the pleasure of sampling Gordon Ramsey’s F Word famous El Gato Negro, before the switch from Ripponden to Manchester, you’d had definitely sampled some of Mark’s mouthwatering Spanish small plates.
What’s On The Menu at Engine Social Dining?
Talking to Wil about their restaurant, his exuberance about food shines through. The core ethos of this warm eatery is one without airs and graces. Here they have created a sophisticated snug that gives the feeling of relaxation at home, but as Wil says: “we want our customers to experience food they can’t or wouldn’t make at home. There’s no point going out to eat something you could have made from your cupboards at home. We bring specific mixes of exotic spices, along with the chefs’ passion, to create gloriously surprising dishes. Everything arrives fresh in the morning and is cooked to order, and we think this really shows through the flavour of the food.”
With a menu that reads like a greatest hits of global flavours, all tied together under the small plates/sharing style of eating. A few dishes from our last visit included soft shell crab, nduja stuffed Padron peppers plus roasted cauliflower and homemade cornbreads fresh from the wood-burning oven, all expertly cooked by Mark and the team. Not to mention those heavenly sweet potato wedges with goats cheese, figs, chilli, pomegranate and balsamic. Their wonderful specials change daily and these provide the fabulous combinations of flavours and textures the chefs do so well.
We asked Wil about the extensive vegan menu, which is a greater portion of the overall selection than you’ll see in most places. “We had the idea for the vegan menu from working in previous places and found it unfair that those dishes were relegated to the end of the menu, or even on a separate menu altogether! We wanted to be more welcoming and inclusive of people’s needs – not treating vegans like second class citizens! And as we see it, you don’t have to be vegan to enjoy vegan food – so we avoid putting animal products in dishes if we think there’s really no need for them. There are loads of alternatives, so we wanted to experiment with these. Not using protein as the feature of a dish makes the chefs be more inventive anyway, giving our food a more unique quality.”
The Engine Social Team and Atmosphere
Not only is the food freshly made to order, but the ideas for it are also just as fresh too. Wil told us the chefs find inspiration in everything they do – even dreams! “We let the chefs have miles of creative space with the menu, and Mark is a visionary with fusing flavours together. If there’s a spice or ingredient the chefs need but we don’t have, we always go looking for it so they can make the best dishes possible. They’re all so passionate and imaginative.”
The team at Engine Social have created an atmosphere of collective, social dining that strips away the clinical edge indicative with Michelin Starred restaurants. “I hate feeling pressured when I eat – you know those kinds of places where you’re afraid to speak, and you can even hear the glasses and cutlery clinking. Our restaurant transcends this, perfect for romantic meals or cosy family dining.”
With delicate lighting and warm, characterful service, together with all the theatre of an open kitchen and wood-burning oven. Engine Social create an air of positivity that leaves you wanting nothing more. “There’s no pretentious divide between the chefs and customers, they actually spend a lot of time chatting with the dinners.” Something we know well ourselves after being treated to a chefs counter spot whilst dining, watching them busy at work preparing each delicious dish.
Future Plans for this Sowerby Bridge Restaurant
Despite being so busy, Wil and Mark are eager to make big changes and have exciting plans to transform the currently empty upstairs room into a chic cocktail bar with charcuterie canapés. The perfect place to stop for a drink after a stressful day at work, when warmth, smooth cocktails and moreish bar snacks are all you can think about. They hope that this new space will encourage people to enjoy more time at Engine Social Dining: “No one likes to be sat in a restaurant for more than a couple of hours. But if we have a cosy snug space upstairs for relaxed drinks and tasty nibbles, our customers can get a change of atmosphere and then enjoy longer conversations.”
What Wil and Mark have been able to do with this previously disused pub is truly remarkable – their passion for food shines through, everything from the flavours to the service. With Engine Social having a whirlwind of success since opening we’re guessing it’s only a matter of time before their neighbourhood restaurant and global small plates extend across the region. While that may be a bit off yet, a trip to Sowerby Bridge should be your next foodie destination.
Engine Social Dining Opening Hours, Menu, Address & Contact Details
Address: Engine Social Dining, 72 Wharf St, Sowerby Bridge HX6 2AF | Tel: 01422 740123 | www.enginesocial.co.uk
Words by Yorkshire Food Guide’s Jozef Ashley, Pictures provided by Engine Social Dining
YOU MAY ALSO LIKE…