So much has already been written about Where The Light Gets In, a relatively new addition to the Northern eating scene but one which has caused a tsunami sized culinary splash. If you’re the sensible sort and choose to avoid the Trip Advisor ‘I Prefer A Good Carvery’ nonsense and instead trust in far more talented food writers, you’re probably already booked in. Or have already visited. This is not your common or garden set menu three courser but something far more special. Some meals exist to be savoured, revelled over and remembered weeks later.
The food is without a doubt spectacular. Twelve courses – plus home cooked crisps, petit fours and a cocktail – of sublime explosions of flavour, nurtured and cajoled into existence by a very talented team. The food comes without pre-amble, there’s nothing so pedestrian as a game giving away menu.
The WTLGI chefs skilfully source the best ingredients they possibly can and create magic, surprising guests with a tasting menu of local and wider British finery. I was lucky enough to visit with one of the UK’s best food writer-bloggers and am hereby holding up my hands as there’s no way I could dream of writing a better full review of the evening. I implore you to head over to Cheese & Biscuits immediately for a full and proper run down of each dish.
Highlights for me? The juicy crab taco wrapped in cabbage. Dammit, why wasn’t I born to a tropical island surrounded by crab meat and sunshine? The fat red radish on cod’s roe bringing back memories of my childhood. Ok, the radish at least. We weren’t quite posh enough for roe on my Lancashire avenue. A lovage salad, green and punchy in it’s healthy but satisfying richness. Strictly speaking the bread wasn’t one of the courses, but when loaves are baked as well as these, they should be. There’s no setting these aside ‘in case you get full’ let me tell you, it’s impossible not to scoff the lot slathered in butter. We totally scoffed the lot. Slathered in butter. The pigeon demanded to be eaten, stretching out one claw in a come hither fashion. Tender pink breast meat and a not for the fainthearted sidekicking foot.
Safe to say, we cleaned our plates to within an inch of their ceramic lives.
Not wanting to cast aspersions on the manners of Southern food bloggers, let me just make clear that we were asked, nay, instructed to drink from the bowls. So of course we did.
Setting the food aside, there’s much more to delight guests who appreciate a good interior. An unassuming cobbled street entrance which we completely missed on arrival, only to be beckoned by Emma waving us up steep concrete steps to a door which almost hangs in mid air.
The deep blue entrance hall, suspended gilt lettering and kokedama moss balls hollers contemporary decor but a step through into the cavernous restaurant space whisks you back to Lancashire’s industrial past.
Giant beams span the room, triangulating an enormous timber vaulted roofline with all the rafters, purlins and boards exposed. It’s a wonderful view. Magical, as buildings go, with a stripped back honesty. Simple but well thought out and effective lighting drops down at perfectly spaced intervals, and doesn’t fight with the airiness of the space in any way. If I hadn’t been so taken with the food, I’d have been quite happy just staring up all evening. Total roof construction envy.
Remember when restaurants didn’t just cram as many bums on seats as possible and had seating areas where you sat and waited for your table, sipping a chilled aperitif before eating, rather than standing in a queue waving a numbered rooster on a stick? Thank you WTLGI for reintroducing such a civilised start to dining. Their mini living room, complete with log burner, cushions and ferns is a very cool mix of mid century modern, Scandi cool, modern industrial and just a hint of 70’s rattan. Whoever elegantly threw it together knew exactly what they were doing. Insta heaven.
The semi-plastered white lower wall works as a fabulous contrast to all the exposed brick and the very simple and inexpensive square white tiles with a contrasting dark grout demarcate where the kitchen area starts. The backdrop of brick arches displaying all manner of preserves, pickles and fermentations show mean this is a wall working for it’s living, there’s no spurious decor to be found.
Normally open kitchens clatter and rattle, they shout and steam, but not so here. There’s an air of calm, so much so that the staff appear like swans, gliding happily around each other with an almost unflappable air. It’s pretty rare to watch a kitchen at work and actually feel de-stressed by it, surely? Maybe it’s like that every night or maybe we struck lucky, I don’t know, but it was a joy to watch and feel part of.
It’s likely that this young restaurant prepared itself for opening on a tight budget, with stark white choices and inexpensive fittings but unlike many other places which do things ‘on the cheap’, everything about WTLGI is executed immaculately. From the cool copper pipe taps to the scaffolding plank bathroom fittings, the finish was balanced, architectural and cool throughout. Lots of ideas to steal, keep your phone handy 😉
We had a spectacular meal, perfect wines, a throughly enjoyable evening hosted by superlative staff AND I liked the decor. Bit of an all round success really. I guess for most of us it’s a treat night at £75 per head, but for all those amazing courses and such a fabulous all round experience, and of course the bread of all breads, in my book this is a *highly recommended*.