THE humble mill town of Nelson has been in the news a lot recently after being ‘adopted’ by Mary ‘haircut’ Portas.

The self-styled Queen of Shops wants to inject new life into the town centre which is brilliant if it comes off.

But we shouldn’t forget that progress has already been made in the pre-Portas era in the form of the Ace Centre in the town.

At its heart lies an eating establishing which more and more discerning diners are discovering.

The Courtyard Bistro has a continental feel to it with plenty of space between tables and comfortable basket-weave style chairs.

The menu is a mixture of the predictable – jackets, sandwiches and burgers – and the surprising – black pudding and chorizo salad anyone?

I went for one of the house specials, the beef sizzler at £6.50. You could hear it arriving across the restaurant. The beef was served separately in a cast iron dish, spitting venom. I also got a beautifully presented plate with warm torillas with little dishes of hummous, sweet chilli dip and mustard mayonnaise.

Be warned, you cannot ‘build’ a wrap with anything approaching elegance, so just tuck in an enjoy.

The beef was very nicely cooked and with peppers and onions added to the torillas and all the bits proved to be extremely filling.

A nice latte with a wafer biscuit served as pud although I was tempted by one or two cake offerings at the counter.

Nelson may not be the obvious choice for lunch out but it’s worth a detour.


  • Food: 8
  • Drink: 8
  • Service: 8
  • Atmosphere: 8
  • Value: 9