Wick At Both Ends: Sunday Lunch

October 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , ,

There are few things in life as comforting as a Sunday lunch, and The Wick at Both Ends on West Street really big theirs up, with the claim that they do a Sunday roast “as good as your Nan’s.”

For those not already in the know, The Wick at Both Ends is a quirky West Street venue kitted out with mismatched armchairs and some of the comfiest corner booths you’re likely to find in a pub. The bar is decked out with fairy lights the whole year round, there’s plenty of arty graffiti on the walls, and table decorations fashioned out of peacock feathers, flowers and old liquor bottles. There’s also a stash of oldschool board games, if you fancy whiling away an afternoon playing Bizzy Bizzy Bumble Bees or Connect Four. This cosy West Street venue clearly has bags of character, but are the food and drink up to scratch?

The Wick’s menu is a three-headed beast of main courses, tapas and Sunday roasts. The main meals and tapas in particular offer a quirky take on standard pub fare; tapas-lovers can enjoy a Carpaccio of Smoked Venison, soup served in teacups or Bloody Mary Stuffed Mushrooms, while the main courses include a fresh take on that old classic Ham, Egg and Chips. However, we visited on a Sunday, so it only seemed fitting to give their roasts a whirl.

At £7.95 for the meat option and £6.95 for the vegetarian alternative, the Wick are pitching at the upper end of what you’d be willing to pay for Sunday lunch, but with a menu that boasts “real” Yorkshire puddings, lashings of gravy and locally sourced meat, it promises to deliver. Carnivores get a choice of meats, whereas veggies have just one option for their Sunday roast. This is pretty standard, but is worth bearing in mind if your party includes a fussy non-meat eater.

In addition to its offerings of tapas, roasts and main courses, the Wick at Both Ends has an exhaustive cocktail menu. Even cocktail experts should be able to find something new and exciting on the menu (a tipple made from thyme, apricot liqueur, gin, lemon juice and egg white, anyone?)

Cocktails may not be the traditional Sunday dinner aperitifs, but I couldn’t resist and ordered myself a Tow The Lime (£6.00)

This refreshing cocktail puts a fresh slant on the Moscow mule by adding homemade lime liqueur and freshly-squeezed kiwi juice. A Dark and Stormy (£5.00) was also on the cards, which was topped off with plenty of fiery ginger beer. Just what the doctor ordered on a gloomy Sunday afternoon!

The Wick at Both Ends has an enviable cocktail menu, and many of the cocktails utilize a long list of fresh fruits and herbs. If you’re a cocktail fan, you’ll be happy to spend whole afternoons and evenings working your way through the Wick’s menu. However, it is worth noting that many of the cocktails – especially the fruity ones – aren’t particularly strong. If you’re used to getting headspin from a single cocktail, then you’re better off sticking to the less extravagant options, such as the Dark and Stormy.

Halfway through our cocktails, the Sunday dinners arrived at the table. Initial impressions were mixed, for the price we’d been hoping for a belly-busting mountain of food. Both meals came with carrots and spinach, a couple of roasties, a homemade Yorkshire pud and gravy, but we agreed that the plate was missing another Yorkshire pudding, or even a few more roasties. Still, you can’t knock the Wick’s Sunday dinner for taste: the carrots in particular were delicious, tasting as though they’d been cooked in butter (you need a little fat in your Sunday lunch when it’s cold outside!) then rubbed with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Possibly the most unhealthy veggies in the world, but they were gobbled up in no time.

Now, it’s clear from the photo that the Yorkshire pudding didn’t look particularly appetizing. I was expecting a puffed-up, lumpy homemade Yorkie, but what I got was a deflated curl of batter with a suspiciously dark crust. But, never judge a Yorkshire pud by its sad, deflated cover, because the Wick’s Yorkies are delicious. A little on the burnt side, and not the prettiest of puddings, but when soaked in a little gravy the batter melted in the mouth and had that satisfying, homemade taste.

But onto the real star of my Sunday dinner – the veggie wellington. I’m not a massive pastry fan, but the Wick’s pastry was light and crispy, and soaked up oodles of flavour from the gravy. The filling was a stodgy, gut-busting blend of cheese, spinach and mushrooms. It looked a little grey and unappetizing, but the filling was actually chock full of flavour and settled in my stomach, a warm wodge of calorie-laden comfort food. I usually avoid pastry dishes, but I scraped up every last bit of gravy-sodden veggie wellington. Even if you’re a carnivore, I can heartily recommend the Wick’s vegetarian wellington.

If you’re craving some animal protein you’re in for a treat too, as the meat-eaters’ Sunday roast comes with the same buttery carrots, spinach, crispy roasties and homemade Yorkshire pudding plus, of course, hearty slices of meat (in this instance beef.) The roast beef had been cut in thick, generous slabs, and arrived at the table tender and tasty. Although a little pinker than some diners would like, there were no complaints from our table.

The Wick is a fun, distinctive venue with friendly staff and plenty of atmosphere. There’s always a few people in the cosy corner booths even on weekday afternoons, and it’s easy to see why. The cocktail menu is one of the most diverse in the city and, with three different menus to choose from, it’s not just on the cocktail-front where you’re spoilt for choice. The Sunday roasts are a little pricey, but that’s understandable when you take into account the clear quality of the grub. Hearty, tasty, and satisfying comfort food – perfect for the long winter months.

A Sunday roast where even the carrots and spinach are delicious, who’d have thought it possible?

Advertisements

Cross Scythes

October 14, 2012 at 11:47 am | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

Approaching the Cross Scythes on Baslow Road in Totley, it’s impossible to miss the ‘Sheffield’s Number 1 Gastro Pub’ banner proudly wrapped around the building. A heady accolade, and a little digging reveals this establishment was not only a finalist for Favourite Pub in the 2011 Eat Sheffield awards, but in the 2010 awards too. So, how’s it faring in 2012?

From the outside, the Cross Scythes ticks all the boxes: it’s a pretty, olde-worlde stone building with outdoor seating around the front and the back, and meticulously pruned greenery adding to the quaint, country pub vibe. Inside, the Cross Scythes has plenty of rural charm, but with a refreshing modern twist – think lots of dark wood, amber lighting and black-and-white prints of the local area back in the good ol’ days, but with a swanky cocktail menu and staff immaculately turned out in white shirts and black ties bringing the place bang up to date. It’s not a million miles removed from the ‘rustic wine bar’ atmosphere of the Wig and Pen.

As we were visiting on a weekday afternoon, we had no problems finding a seat. In fact, a quick head count revealed that the total number of occupants didn’t even stretch into double figures (and that’s including the staff!) If you like a bit of atmosphere with your meal, you’re better off visiting during peak times – from the looks of it, the Cross Scythes doesn’t do much trade during the day.

Undeterred, we got stuck into the drinks menu. Unsurprisingly, booze is pricey at the Cross Scythes – the price of spirits and wines in particular is eye-watering. By comparison, the cocktails are roughly the price you’d pay in town, so we opted for a couple of Long Island Iced Teas (£5.90) Our drinks came nicely presented in tall glasses with a fruit garnish and, despite the reasonable prices, they packed quite a punch. The Cross Scythes aren’t stingy with their measures, even when you’re ordering something that contains half the bar, like a Long Island Iced Tea. Definitely a cocktail worth checking out, if you fancy something potent with your meal.

Starving, we ordered a side of bread, olive oil and vinegar (£1.80) and requested it to be sent out as a starter rather than a side order. Our waiter was only too happy to oblige, and within a few minutes a big platter of bread arrived at our table. For £1.80, the Cross Scythes spoilt us with three different types of homemade bread: a light, fluffy sliced bread, a weighty brown roll, and a few slices of toasted bread, which arrived at our table still warm. As someone with a taste for sharp flavours, I was disappointed that the oil and vinegar arrived as an already-mixed portion in a little pot on the side. However, a few minutes later our waiter returned with the oil and vinegar bottles, and told us to help ourselves. Perfect! At £1.80 this is an absolute steal, and an impossible-to-fault side order/makeshift-starter.

We were still working our way through the delicious homemade bread when the mains arrived. For me, it was the Tomato Risotto with pine nuts, rocket, parmesan and a drizzle of tangy balsamic vinegar (£8.75) with added smoked salmon (an extra £2)

When it comes to presentation, the Cross Scythes is absolutely faultless.

More familiar with stodgy cream-and-mushroom risottos, I was pleasantly surprised by how light and refreshing this risotto was. The tomato gave the rice a fruity, fresh flavour I wasn’t expecting from a risotto, not to mention a beautiful colour. Topped off with a splash of green rocket, this dish is a real treat for the eyes.

The pine nuts gave the risotto a nice crunch, but the real star of the show was the smoked salmon. For an extra two quid, the Cross Scythes had flaked a good quantity of delicious smoked salmon into my rice, and a forkful of this salmon, mixed up with refreshing tomato and crunchy pine nuts, was absolutely delicious. Despite being full, I couldn’t stop myself cleaning my plate – and then taking some of the bread from the platter and mopping up the dregs of the risotto sauce, just to make sure my plate was doubly clean. A surprisingly light rice dish that tastes every bit as good as it looks. Highly recommended.

Also arriving at our table was a truly gourmet cheese burger (£9.75) served with Sheffield’s own Henderson’s Relish, real dripping chips, and chunky tomato chutney, on yet more homemade bread (those Cross Scythes bakers have been busy!)

Although dubious about paying just short of a tenner for a burger, when it arrived the price tag made perfect sense. The burger was a thick patty of melt-in-the-mouth meat that had a consistency more like steak than a processed burger, and was pink and juicy in the middle, topped with homemade-looking chutney. A slice of strong cheese and a slosh of Henderson’s Relish, not to mention some fresh salad and the homemade bread cob, made for a truly five star take on a fast food favourite.

The side of chips was almost a meal in itself. As they’re cooked in dripping, they were saltier and greasier than your average chip, but then, you don’t order dripping chips if you’re trying to be healthy!

The Cross Scythes is one of the pricier local eateries, especially if you like a tipple with your grub, but this becomes a moot point when you take into account the swanky, gastro pub atmosphere, the quality of the food, attentiveness of the staff and, of course, the escape-from-the-hustle-and-bustle location. A trip to the Cross Scythes feels like a real treat.

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.