New evening menu is a winner at healthy-approach Filmore & Union in Harrogate

Filmore & Union owner Adele Ashley.
Filmore & Union owner Adele Ashley.

In a crowded market place, it usually pays to shout a little but Filmore & Union seems to prefer a natural approach in everything it does.

From an idea hatched in Wetherby nearly six years ago by its health-conscious owner Adele Ashley, this classy local independent has expanded rapidly and now boasts eight outlets in Yorkshire.

Set up originally as a café and takeaway - the first was opened in York’s Petergate in 2012 - its Harrogate operation was, perhaps, its boldest step into the future when it first moved from James Street to larger premises on Station Parade facing the new Everyman cinema towards the end of last year.

Standing on two whole storeys, it’s the first Filmore & Union to include its own dedicated restaurant and it’s hoping to continue its incredible success story.

To that end, as well as its scrumptious breakfasts and lovely brunches, it’s recently launched a new autumn menu strictly for dinner.

F&U founder Adele Ashley named her business after two of the owner’s favourite streets in San Francisco, a city renowned for being at the cutting edge of healthy eating.

She’s also been quoted in the past as wanting to offer food with “a healthier edge and for people with eating intolerances like gluten free and dairy free.”

And, she added, “We don’t fry anything, we don’t use cream in anything, we don’t use any additives or preservatives, we don’t use any refined sugars.”

It has to be said the place looks fantastic with that relaxing interior design style of rustic timber and open brickwork which fellow success stories such as Jamie’s Italian and Leeds-based independent Friends of Ham share.

Like the food, its bright and light but, in terms of signage, it doesn’t scream “healthy”.

For that, it’s necessary to turn to the new autumn menu itself which is packed with recipes based on delicious seasonal produce including butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, courgettes, plums, blackberries and apples.

They play a pivotal role in the new selection of mouth-watering dishes, which, like everything F&U does, cater for different dietary requirements, as well as personal tastes.

Starters include delicious Filmore beef meatballs in rustic tomato sauce with homebaked bread and the Aubergine and spinach pate served with fennel and orange salad with flatbreads.

The exciting part of cooking wild seafood is buying fish when it’s in abundance and in season, so the Hake with cauliflower rice, roast cherry tomatoes and sweet potatoes is an excellent choice from the main dishes on the new menu.

The Smoked haddock fishcakes, served with warm Asian salad, Tamari and ginger dressing is the perfect dish on a cool autumn evening.

Sides including sweet potato wedges and tzatziki, baked paprika fries and Moroccan roasted vegetables provide perfect accompaniments.

The beauty of what Filmore & Union offers is that everything tastes so nice, especially the turkey meatballs I tucked into.

Even better is the news that evening diners at Harrogate's F&U can now enjoy 'Early Bird' meals.

And there is also some great sharing platters and tasty cocktails to enjoy, too, in this temple to effortless high standards.

Sitting in the attractive second floor dining room at a table in the bay window, it’s possible to see the competition just yards across the road from where you are are sitting - part of the recent wave of larger chain restaurants and cafes to arrive in Harrogate.

If any independent can survive that influx, surely it’s Filmore & Union?