A little background for anyone who doesn't know the history of Saltaire. Saltaire was founded in 1851 by Sir Titus Salt a big business man and at one point Mayor of Bradford. He decided to build a big textile mill outside of Bradford's ever increasing polluted city centre. He decided upon the Aire Valley and not far away from Shipley. Along with the mill (which he named Salt's Mill) he also built a village for his workers and various other amenities. He named the village Saltaire after his family name and the river Aire which runs through the village. Titus was determined that his workers lived a better life than they did in the city and thus discouraged drinking and gambling. He built no public house and banned ale shops, believing that a sober work force was a productive one.
Salt's Mill closed in 1986 and in 2001 Saltaire was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mill is now renovated and used for other purposes these days. You can read more about Saltaire, it's history and the mill here.
With Titus now long gone and the village no longer solely for Salt's workers pubs and shops selling alcohol have since sprung up. On the main high street one trader has turned a previous shop in to a bar/restaurant aptly named 'Don't tell Titus'.
My friend and I were hoping to have lunch at the Boathouse Inn in Roberts Park on the Sunday. However after spending late Saturday afternoon in the park and seeing how busy the Boathouse was we decided to leave the Boathouse for a less sunny day when there would be less people outside drinking.
So we found ourselves in Don't Tell Titus, it was somewhere we had wanted to try out if not purely for the novelty. It was about 12.30pm in the afternoon and we had planned to get there early so we could do some strolling in the park later, and perhaps take a trip on the tram up to Shipley Glen.
We walked in and were presented by every member of staff stood behind the bar facing us. Slightly intimidated we asked if we could have a table for two. None of the staff moved but we were told that we could chose to sit anywhere we wanted. We guided ourselves to a table and prepared to sit down when a waitress appeared and told us we might not want to sit at that table because there was a vibration underneath it. So we moved to another table... realising there was a breeze we ended up moving again to the back of the room.
A waitress appeared immediately wanting to take our drinks orders, I'd barely had time to think about what I wanted but with it being a sunny Sunday I decided to take the chance to have an ice cold glass of white wine. I asked for a Pinot Grigio... she looked at me blankly and said "That's white right?"... my friend ordered a coke. She asked us if we wanted to order food and we told her we wanted to look at the menu first.
The menu has a wide choice, including traditional English dishes and also Indian dishes. The menu states that the restaurant menu is available on a weekend and bank holidays so we felt free to order from that if we should so chose to. Ready to make our order a waitress appeared again and asked if she could take our order, we told her that someone else had taken our drinks order but we were ready to order food. My friend told her his choices and she replied that he couldn't order from the restaurant menu... slightly baffled we asked for a couple more minutes as we weren't aware this was the case.
Our drinks arrived and we were finally ready to order. We ordered a platter of crispy chorizo and new potatoes to share as a starter . The waitress was confused by this also... we had to explain we were sharing it as a starter so required it to come out first.
A waitress arrived about 10 minutes later with our dish, as soon as she set it down she asked us if we wanted to pay now or set up a tab. She wasn't very pleasant about this, but my friend took it in their stride and said we would set up a tab. She then demanded we hand over a debit/credit card. This was no problem but she came across really rude, and I was slightly put out by the whole ordeal. She took our card and gave us a key which we would need to use to retrieve our card when we wanted to pay. Obviously they have had a lot of people walk out without paying, but I wasn't thrilled with not being trusted.
In regards to the dish... I didn't like it. The chorizo wasn't the best quality, I tried to eat the potatoes instead but the grease from the chorizo had coated them and tainted them with the same flavour. My friend was more than happy to eat it however so perhaps it was just me being picky. I also didn't feel it was worth it's £4.85 price tag.
Not a great start to our meal.
For mains I ordered a Piegata, which is an italian bread and had a chicken tikka filing.
As you can see it comes with a side of salad and cheesy Doritos. The chicken was really nice, although it could have done with some more yogurt in there as the bread was really dry and I struggled to swallow it. Good job I had some wine!
My friend ordered the Rib Eye Steak sandwich which also came with Doritos and salad.
My friend enjoyed their steak sandwich but also felt that bread was really dry and also quite hard to swallow.
We both described the food as filing a hole and nothing really special. If you want a light bite sandwich with no frills this is the place to go.
It also felt a little pretentious to me, and the staff were disorganised and either poorly trained or lacking in experience. I'd probably pop in again but just for a drink and perhaps a bar snack if I was peckish. I probably won't be coming here for lunch again.
The bill came to around £25 in total.
Pictures of the decor...
Don't Tell Titus
6 Victoria Road