Edo Sushi

May 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm | Posted in Takeaway | 1 Comment
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Tucked out of sight on High Court Chambers (just next to Pizza Hut on Sheffield High Street) Edo Sushi specializes in sushi, sashimi and assorted cooked Japanese dishes to take away. Although off the main road, it draws a devoted lunchtime crowd. If you’re planning to pick up their lunchtime special ‘Edo Sushi Box,’ make sure you’re there at the start of the lunch hour. The staff make up some boxes in advance, but they always sell out fast. Thankfully, if you’re slow off the mark the helpful staff are more than happy to put together your box as you wait – you can’t get any fresher than that! Usually priced at £5.50, nab one of these boxes during your lunch break and the staff not only knock £1 off, but they throw in either a miso soup or a green tea, to boot.

As you’ve probably already guessed, it was Edo Sushi Boxes that had us shooting out of the office at 12 noon on the dot this week. Getting there early meant we plucked our boxes straight off the shelf.

For a takeout meal, Edo Sushi Boxes are smartly presented and come with pickled ginger and soy sauce on the side. The specials change on a monthly basis, but there are some familiar faces that keep cropping up. Expect to see plenty of shinko maki, a veggie sushi roll made from tangy pickled radish, and kappa maki, the cucumber-filled equivalent. Creamy avocado and salmon-filled california rolls are also a staple. The Edo Sushi Box is finished off with one larger item, usually either inari zushi, or if you’re lucky one of their mouth-watering salmon nigiris.

The staff at Edo Sushi are friendly and efficient; even if they have to knock up your lunchtime sushi fix from scratch you’ll rarely be waiting longer than ten minutes. The takeaway itself is pokey; you’ll find yourself awkwardly squeezing around other customers during the lunchtime rush, but this is all part of Edo Sushi’s charm. There’s plenty of personal touches that’ll have you warming to the place in no time, including greeting cards hand-drawn by the staff and a cheerful note telling you to put your money in their lucky cat moneybox if you want to buy a card. The eagle-eyed will also notice a painting by Sheffield’s own Wildago hanging on the wall.

But ultimately, it’s all about the sushi! Our Edo Sushi Boxes were made up of shinko maki, kappa maki, california rolls and a wedge of inari zushi. Edo Sushi do have a tendency to skimp on the fish (5 pieces of our sushi were just cucumber and pickled radish rolls) but at £4.50, this is understandable.

The inari zushi will divide opinions. Personally, the combination of sweet tofu and savoury rice wasn’t to my liking, and I ended up peeling off the batter and just eating the plain rice. But other members of the Sheffield Eats team raved about it, and the tofu was certainly perfectly cooked, forming a light skin around the rice.

While you’ll either love or hate the inari zushi, sushi lovers are guaranteed to wolf down the california rolls. Our boxes contained six helpings of california rolls, which were crammed with melt-in-the-mouth avocado and fresh, raw salmon. It’s worth shelling out on the box just for these six mouthfuls of sharp sashimi and smooth avocado alone! Delicious, and surely some of the freshest sashimi you’ll ever pluck off a shelf during your lunch break.

The meal was topped off with a complimentary miso soup. Although it may look like a murky cup-a-soup in a polystyrene cup, it’s not to be missed.

This lip-smackingly salty soup has hidden layers of seaweed and crispy spring onion, and is the perfect accompaniment to sushi.

The next time you’re craving a lunchtime sushi fix, do yourself a favour and track down this takeout sushi haven. It’s cheaper, fresher and far, far tastier than any of the prepackaged stuff you’ll find in the big stores in town.

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The Sheaf Island

May 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Pub Grub | Leave a comment
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The UK is now in a double dip recession, which sounds kind of fun, but is actually a Very Bad Thing.

We’re all feeling the pinch, so what’s to be done when it’s the week before payday, but you still want to eat out? The answer is pub grub, and Wetherspoons is surely one of the UK’s best known purveyors of budget nosh. For our penny-pinching evening out, the Sheffield Eats team descended on Sheffield’s newest Wetherspoons, the Sheaf Island on Ecclesall Road.

My major bugbear with Wetherspoons, is that they tend to be rather dark (I’m looking at you, The Benjamin Huntsman) but not the Sheaf Island; the floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of daylight (and let you nosey at the people walking past.) The decor has an historical Sheffield slant that makes this Wetherspoons feel less corporate-chain, and more like your friendly local pub, which is a nice touch. Our table agreed that the Sheaf Island is one of the nicest Wetherspoons we’ve ever visited (and as ex-students, this is a real accolade!)

The menu at the Sheaf Island is pretty much a carbon copy of every other Wetherspoons out there, but it still reads like a list of all-time pub faves: scampi and chips, curry, bangers and mash, steak and kidney pudding, fish and chips. For the adventurous, there’s even nods to more modern cuisine: customers can choose from a very healthy-sounding superfood wholewheat pesto pasta, or a lentil, mushroom, mozzarella & pumpkin seed roast. Yum!

We kicked off our food order with a five bean chilli (£4.60) which came with rice and tortilla chips. The chilli was a generous mix of butter, kidney, haricot, cannellini and pinto beans in a satisfying tomato sauce. The rich and spicy sauce in particular got an enthusiastic thumbs up from our reviewer.

Also arriving at our table was a ‘Simple Steak’ (£7.20) a no-frills 8oz rump steak with chunky chips, and a drink included in the price.

And the deals just kept on coming, as my veggie burger deal (£4.99) also came with a drink.

However, when we began tucking into our steak and veggie burger, we hit a snag: the food was only lukewarm and, worse, it had that overbaked taste of food that’s been left under a hot plate for too long.

The veggie burger was packed with sweet potato and lentils, and would have sat nicely in my stomach; a wodge of pure comfort good – if it had arrived at the table hot. By the time I got around to the chips, they’d gone completely cold. Even the stingy portion of salsa dip that came with the chips wasn’t enough to give them that fiery kick. The steak was juicy and came with plenty of chunky chips but again, it was a rush to finish the meal before it went cold.

Between us, we’ve eaten in the Sheaf Island a few times, and have always been impressed by the speedy service (perfect for when you’re ravenous after a long day at work), cheapness, and quality of their pub grub. However, there’s no excuse for serving food that’s clearly been stood cooling for a while. On this occasion, the Sheaf Island’s budget eats left us feeling short changed.

Yama Sushi

May 13, 2012 at 7:21 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 3 Comments
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Sushi is definitely in our list of Top 10 Favourite Foodstuffs at Sheffield Eats HQ. But, pick up a box of ready-made sushi on your lunch break and you’d better have some notes in your wallet: it doesn’t come cheap! So, when we heard rumours of a sushi restaurant located on London Road that was – shock – reasonably priced, we had to find out if the legends were true.

Yama Sushi doesn’t look much from the outside, or to be fair, from the inside, either. The handful of tables are squashed together, so there’s a very real danger of bumping elbows with the person at the table next to you. Our party were shown to a table at the back of the room and we squeezed into our seats. Not a great first impression, but all that changed when we were handed the menu. Wow! This place has the most exhaustive and exotic sushi menu I’ve ever seen, and all the rumours about the prices are true.

The only thing the Yama Sushi menu lacks is a mixed sushi platter, you can only order a type of sushi by the plate full, which typically means 6 pieces. It’s worth pulling up the menu online and doing a little research before visiting, so you don’t end up ordering a big plate of something you don’t like. As there were a few members in our party, we decided to treat ourselves to a long list of different dishes, and then share the bounty between us. This works out as an inexpensive option if you’re dining in a large group, and means you get to sample types of sushi you wouldn’t normally order.

We started our meal with a selection of sashimi: salmon (£2.30) prawn (£2.50) tuna (£3.20) and scallop (£3.00) to be precise. These are served in pairs and are the perfect way for sushi lovers to take the next step and try some sashimi. The portions are extremely generous, especially the tuna sashimi, which turned out to be a thick wedge of dark tuna atop a formidable chunk of rice. Also on order were Yama Dragon Rolls (£7.90) an unusually crunchy take on sushi thanks to some delicious tempura batter.

On a roll now, we ordered some Sake and Avocado Maki (£6.00) which was layered with creamy avocado and succulent fresh salmon – quite simply the tastiest sushi I’ve ever had! This geneous eight-piece portion was polished off in no time, and we couldn’t resist ordering another plate of the stuff.

Although it’s not the first thing to jump off the menu at a sushi restaurant, Yama Sushi’s edamame beans are well worth a whirl. The bowl of steamed soy bean pods, perfectly seasoned with salt, was a surprise hit at our table.

If you’re not a sushi fanatic, Yama Sushi offers a range of cooked meals, too. The Tofu and Vegetable Udon (£6.50) is a fragrant blend of crunchy bamboo shoots, mushrooms, carrots, spring onions, tangy seaweed, miso soup noodles and some of the best tofu I’ve ever tasted. Of course, it can’t stand up to the restaurant’s sushi.

When eating out, it’s often the drinks that bump up your bill, but at Yama Sushi the staff bring you a teapot of green tea as soon as you take your seat, and are only too happy to keep topping it up with fresh leaves and hot water throughout your meal, all at absolutely no charge. They even provide traditional Hohin cups, a nice touch that really makes the meal feel authentic. If you fancy something stronger, Yama Sushi has a limited drinks menu, but they do serve red, white and rose wine at a reasonable price, I ordered a glass of rose for £3.

Yama Sushi has some stiff competition from its London Road neighbour WasabiSabi but, despite the more polished surroundings of the larger WasabiSabi, Yama Sushi’s bargain prices and the sheer freshness and tastiness of its generously-sized sushi portions, means it really is the best place to get sushi in Sheffield. If you like sushi, you really need to visit this place – go on, you deserve it!

Mud Crab

May 13, 2012 at 3:40 pm | Posted in Cocktail Bar, Restaurants | Leave a comment
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When news first reached Sheffield Eats HQ that Felicini was closing and opening in its place was newcomer Mud Crab, we were all shocked. Felicini always seemed to draw a healthy crowd, and besides, aren’t Mud Crabs those pesky little blighters who mob you everytime you go anywhere near water in Skyrim??

So, not sure what to expect, we made a trip to Mud Crab over the opening weekend, in search of nourishment and a few cheeky pre-dinner cocktails. Firstly, Felicini fans will be happy to learn that the interior is still recognizably Felicini, just with more pictures of motorbikes and some vaguely nautical flourishes, such as exposed iron rivets that look like they’ve come straight from the Titanic. The staff are very friendly – one of the waiters had seen our party wandering around Ecclesall Road earlier and joked that he was convinced we were stalking him, and the bar staff were eager to chat while mixing up our cocktails.

To kick off our Mud Crab initiation, our thirsty party ordered a platter of cocktails. The Chocolate and Banana cheesecake cocktail (£6.50) is an absolute must for those with a sweet tooth, tasting like a creamier version of a Bailey’s. Just be sure to tackle this one on an empty stomach; it’s like pudding in a glass!

We also ordered a Jalapeno Margarita (£6.50) – cocktail connoisseurs that we are, we still have to admit that this is a new one on us. A refreshing mix of ice, tangy lime and jalapenos, this is aimed at those with an adventurous palate, and it split opinions at the table.

We also sampled some daiquiris (£6.50), which come in a range of flavours. We opted for a creamy banana daiquiri and the blackberry version, which seems to be made from real blackberries and not syrup, judging by the blackberry seeds. The cocktail menu isn’t particularly extensive, but it contains many you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Sheffield, which makes the Mud Crab a must for cocktail fans.

But enough about the cocktails – onto the food! Mud Crab specialises in “custom built burgers and other essentials.” Customers can choose from a mouth-watering list of toppings for their burger: double mature cheese, chopped jalapenos, fried egg, cream cheese… Here, we hit a snag: there’s no veggie burger on the menu, and I don’t eat meat. Neglecting to include a veggie option is a major oversight. The burgers coming out of the kitchen looked amazing, so hopefully this is something they’ll sort out soon. Unfortunately, this lack of veggie options isn’t restricted to the DIY burgers: if you’re a vegetarian, the only thing you’ll be able to eat on the menu is a posh cheese and tomato pizza. Disappointing.

Personally, I’m a bit of a cheat and still eat fish and seafood, so I opted for the yummy-sounding monkfish and prawn thai curry (£14.50) which didn’t disappoint. The dish was a regular melee of seafood and veggies, topped with toasted coconut flakes which gave the dish a nutty edge. The pile of veggies and juicy seafood came on a bed of noodles; I would have preferred rice (better for soaking up that creamy curry sauce!) but overall, this was a unique and delicious take on the traditional thai curry.

Our table also ordered some “good fries,” which were beautifully presented in a rustic mug wrapped in greaseproof paper (£3) and the slow cooked chili beef brisket, served with corn bread, sour cream, cheese and salsa (£10). This is the only place I’ve seen in Sheffield that serves this American favourite, so if you fancy a twist on the traditional beef dish, get yourself down to the Mud Crab! One member of our party called it the best meat dish they’d ever tasted, so you won’t be disappointed.

The Mud Crab puts a fresh slant on the restaurant staples of burgers, curry, sarnies and meat dishes, and we thoroughly enjoyed everything that was served (they just need to add a few veggie alternatives.) Mud Crab is also a wonderful addition to Sheffield’s ever-growing cocktail bar scene. If you’ve exhausted the menu at Browns and Revolution de Cuba, then you owe it to yourself to venture down to Mud Crab.

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