It’s easy to forget that the Moorcock is also just a pub serving pints and bar snacks. Amanda Wragg pays a visit

Pub of the Week: The Moorcock Inn, Norland
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Much has been written about the Moorcock, some of it by me in this paper. The food that Alasdair Brooke Taylor and Aimee Turford are producing is quite extraordinary, so it’s no surprise that a table in the dining room for the tasting menu is hard to score. But it’s easy to forget that the Moorcock is also just a pub serving pints and bar snacks. Well, I say just…
Walk in off Norland Moor with muddy boots and an even muddier dog on a Sunday afternoon and the welcome couldn’t be warmer – no one cares how scruffy you are, no one’s looking twice at your windswept hair. The bar’s stone floors and chunky rustic wooden furniture can withstand any amount of welly and brolly action, but you might need sharp elbows to stand near the fire to dry off. The place is always buzzing with all sorts at the weekend – families, walkers and foodies – on a recent visit there was a table of cool youngsters working their way through the Belgian beers and the blackboard menu. Turns out they were on a ‘works outing’ from the super-cool Where The Light Gets In in Stockport.
Local and Belgian beers are the focus. Timothy Taylor Landlord and Vocation Bread & Butter are on permanently, and there are two on rotation – perhaps Northern Monk Eternal session ale and Kirkstall Black Band Porter. Keg beers might include brews by Verdant, Wylam, Cloudwater and Magic Rock. Brooke-Taylor and Turford worked in Belgium at Michelin starred In De Wulf and Turford, a talented sommelier chooses the Belgian bottles on offer. There’s a staggering number, too many to mention, but they include Westmalle, St. Bernardus, De Ranke, Rodenbach and Oud Beersel.
Bar food is marked up on a blackboard over the fire. Each time a shot of it appears on Instagram I want to grab my coat and fetch up. Much of it is foraged, caught or picked from their impressive garden, so a typical lunchtime might find squirrel in chocolate sauce, whiting pikelet, partridge with celeriac, sourdough eggy bread with cabbage and cheese or a massive steak of giant puffball, crumbed and served with roast yeast sauce and egg yolk. You won’t score chips, but the smoked roast potatoes are just a bit special.
Keep an eye on social media for the occasional quiz night – and they also sneak in pie nights and wine tastings. Coming up, live music on a Saturday afternoon with a harpist (playing contemporary music) with Champagne & oysters. Blaze a trail.
​The Moorcock Inn, Moorbottom Lane, Sowerby Bridge, West Yorkshire, HX6 3RP. Tel: 01422 832103.

About The Author

Mandy Wragg is a freelance food journalist, writing and inspecting for the Yorkshire Post, Alastair Sawday, the Morning Advertiser, the AA, Cool Places and David Hancock's Inn Places. She co-writes, an independent guide to eating, drinking and staying in Yorkshire.

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