BB’s

November 6, 2012 at 7:07 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 2 Comments
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As someone who enjoys both a tipple and a meal out, a restaurant with a BYOB policy is my idea of heaven. While these places may be far and few between, there are a couple in Sheffield, and even one that’s smack bang in the middle of the city centre.

Squeezed between The Old House and Fusion on Devonshire Street, BB’s may look pokey from the outside, but inside it’s a two-storey warren of tables that’s always absolutely buzzing with enthusiastic customers. And, depending on preference for atmosphere, herein lies a possible deal-breaker: BB’s is a noisy, boisterous, knocking-elbows-with-your-neighbour sort of place. If you aren’t seated next to the door, this cosy Italian can get incredibly stuffy, and if you’re seated near one of the many birthday or hen parties that pile into BB’s every Friday and Saturday night, then things can get rowdy.

This was definitely the case when we visited over the weekend. We were seated next to the door, and so got a good idea of the crowd BB’s attracts: basically an endless stream of people clutching wine bottles in one hand and gift-bags/hen party favours in the other. We were actually seated next to one of the hen parties, and halfway through our meal they cracked out the pink whistles and fluffy head boppers (not to mention an inflatable – but the less said about that the better!)

You’ll either see the noise, rowdiness, and flaming Sambuca shots that are dolled out to birthday girls and boys, as part of BB’s charm – or good reason to never, ever frequent the place. Personally, I love the atmosphere but just be aware that if you’re after a peaceful evening, then this place isn’t for you.

One of the great things about BB’s, is that it’s graced with some of the friendliest, most genuine waiters and waitresses you’re ever likely to encounter. Greeting regulars with hugs, and finding the time to get to know non-regulars like us, they’re also very eager to please. At the end of our meal, we inquired about BB’s selection of after-dinner liqueur coffees, only to be assured that they’d whip us up whatever we fancied. This is the sort of fantastic, second-to-none customer service that turns first-time diners into loyal regulars.

But, before the after-dinner drinks came the dinner itself. Seated next to the hen party and with the BYOB wine already flowing, it was time to size up the menu. BB’s menu is all about serving up traditional Italian dishes, but with plenty of variations on these old favourites. There’s a whopping nine variations on steak, six chicken dishes, and all the usual pasta dishes are present and accounted for: spaghetti, lasagna, tagliatelle, gnocchi and penne pasta.

BB’s also has a large selections of hot and cold starters, so we decided to kick off the dining experience with a portion of bruschetta (£6.20) When the starter arrived, I immediately regretted opting to share one plate. The bruschetta dish was two slabs of lightly-toasted bread piled high with heavily-seasoned, juicy beef tomato chunks and fat cubes of gooey cheese.

Maybe a little peppery for some people’s tastes, but as a lover of strong flavours, I found the heavy-handed seasoning absolutely delicious. The bread had absorbed just the right amount of fiery seasoning and tomato juice, turning it a little soft without being at all soggy. The staff offered us oil and balsamic vinegar, but the bruschetta was so good that no further seasoning was necessary. Highly recommended, just don’t make the same mistake I did – be sure to order a portion all to yourself!

Next, was a main meal of Pescatore pizza (£9.00) a mixed seafood pizza, featuring olives and love-them-or-hate-them anchovies. Although the pizza only had a couple of toppings per slice, the focus was on quality rather than quantity: full squid rings, and entire mussels and prawns. The anchovies had been shredded and carefully spread across the pizza, so the taste was never overpowering. In fact, the sharp, tangy anchovies perfectly complimented BB’s choice of cheese. The cooking process had also infused the surrounding pizza with some of the anchovy oil, which was somehow even more delicious than the anchovies themselves.

For myself, it was a Tagliatelle Al Salmone (£8.75) that, after too many dodgy homemade pasta bakes, reminded me just how amazing pasta can actually be.

The tagliatelle ribbons were perfectly cooked and tasted like fresh, homemade pasta. Doused in a surprisingly light cream-based sauce and heaped with fresh coriander, it hardly needed the smoked salmon. This was fortunate, because the salmon in my smoked salmon dish clearly wasn’t smoked, as was stated on the menu. What I ended up with was flakes of cooked salmon and, although tasty enough, it lacked the strength of flavour you get with smoked salmon.

Full marks for the delicious pasta and tasty sauce, but the dish was sorely missing a standout flavour to bring it all together.

Although we hadn’t planned on dessert, the waitress cheekily brought us the dessert menu anyway. On top of the usual pies, chocolate puds and ice creams, BB’s serve fruit sorbets in hollowed out coconut shells, oranges and lemons. Vowing to give these intriguing-sounding desserts a whirl next time, we opted for the aforementioned liqueur coffees.

With the whole bar to choose from, we ordered a Bailey’s coffee and a brandy coffee (£4.00 each) BB’s aren’t stingy with the measures, the brandy coffee in particular contained so much brandy that it completely changed the colour of the drink. My Bailey’s coffee was deceptively coffee-coloured, but still packed a stomach-warming punch. However, this hot brew was oddly finished off with a chilled layer of foamed milk, which made my first sip a bit of a nasty surprise. That minor niggle aside, the liqueur coffees were delicious, piping-hot boozy goodness and the perfect way to end the meal.

Without wine bumping up the bill, BB’s is value for money, and serves up homely Italian cuisine in authentic surroundings. The lively atmosphere (especially on Friday and Saturday nights) makes BB’s feel more like a night out than dinner. A fun, friendly, pocket-friendly evening complete with some very traditional Italian grub.

Same time again next week, BB’s?

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2 Comments »

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  1. I love BB’s and totally agree with the review. I went there for the first time on my birthday two years ago…glad to see their sambuca tradition still holds true! The staff members are so friendly… can’t wait to go back there on my next visit.

  2. […] think of my favourite places to eat in Sheffield, a few spring to mind: the Milestone, Wig and Pen, BB’s and the quirky Chimney House (not strictly an eatery, but I still have dreams about that pie and […]


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