Marco’s

March 3, 2016 at 7:00 pm | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
Tags: , , ,

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to get an invite to try the new menu at Marco Pierre White’s Sheffield restaurant.

Marco’s West Bar Green location looks pretty random on the map, but it makes perfect sense once you realise that it’s next door to Sheffield’s Hampton by Hilton hotel. Marco’s definitely feels like the kind of place where you’d treat yourself to a nice cocktail or an evening meal if you were visiting our city on an overnight trip, especially since Marco’s is pretty much built into the Hilton – it doesn’t get anymore convenient than that!

This was my first visit to any Marco’s restaurant and after browsing their website I’d been anticipating a ‘nice restaurant’ vibe. But Marco’s turned out to be even nicer than I was expecting, to the point where I was actually glad I’d booked in for lunch, because if I’d visited in the evening I’d have felt a bit underdressed.

The glossy interior, immaculately laid-out tables, smartly-dressed staff and light piano music tinkling away in the background all come together to create a very suave and sophisticated atmosphere, which would make this the perfect place to celebrate a special occasion. 
Marco's interior

Marco’s new menu is a pretty decent size, with the standard ‘Main courses’ section plus separate sections for steaks, pizzas, pasta and salads. The food is on the pricier side, but when you’re sat in such nice surroundings, spotting a £30 steak on the menu doesn’t come as a shock.

For my starter, I opted for the calamari with spring onions and chilli (£7.50).

marco's calamari

This starter is a nicely-sized portion of juicy squid in a lovely light batter. I particularly liked the sprinkling of spring onions and chilli, which gave this starter a burst of freshness and heat that made this much tastier than your typical calamari.

My dining companion went for the New York buffalo wings with blue cheese dip (£7.50).

marco's buffalo wings

The buffalo wings were tasty and not in the least bit greasy, but the best part of this starter was the accompanying blue cheese dip, which was insanely strong. If you love your blue cheese, then you need to try Marco’s blue cheese dip – you won’t be disappointed!

Onto the mains and I couldn’t resist the incredible-sounding yellow fin tuna steak alla Sicilian, which came with lemon, black olives, spinach, capers and fresh coriander (£18.25).

marco's tuna

Just looking at this photo is making me crave this tuna steak all over again – no mean feat, considering it’s currently 7.30am!

Marco’s tuna steak is pretty much happiness on a plate. It was lightly cooked so the insides were pink and juicy, and all-around melt-in-the-mouth perfection. This tuna is served with seriously sweet, juicy tomatoes and moreish creamed spinach (who knew spinach could ever be described as moreish?)

My only gripe is that the tuna also comes with capers, and although the capers do add an extra vinegary dimension to the dish, this just didn’t work for me as I hate capers.

But capers aside, this tuna steak is incredible and I can’t recommend it enough to anyone who loves fish in general, or tuna in particular. My only problem is that after eating tuna this good, my home-cooked tuna steak (which I’d previously been pretty proud of) tastes like the most boring thing imaginable. So, cheers for ruining that for me, Marco’s!

My buddy went for the Hickory smoked baby back ribs, which come on a bed of fries with a crunchy, tangy Russian coleslaw (£17.25).

It looked downright terrifying.

marco's ribs

The plate itself was enormous – and the rack of ribs was still hanging off the sides! My friend said this was the only plate of food that had ever scared them, and it’s easy to see why.

Even after they’d gnawed their way through this super-sized portion of delicious smoky ribs, they still had to contend with an equally ridiculous amount of fries. Despite being described on the menu as a ‘bed’ of chips, this was more like a meal in itself.

Only order Marco’s ribs if you have a serious appetite, because this is a truly daunting amount of food.

So what do you do after tackling a mountain of ribs and chips? Order hot Italian donuts with chocolate sauce (£5.75), of course!

marco's donuts

These donuts were fresh and tasty, although a tad doughy in the middle. The accompanying chocolate dipping sauce was perfect though, rich, dark and silky – basically everything you could ever want from chocolate sauce.

After initially telling the waitress that I didn’t have any room for pudding, she somehow managed to twist my arm into ordering the Sicilian lemon sorbet with frozen limoncello (£5.95) by promising me a light and refreshing dessert.

And she was absolutely right, as the lemon sorbet delivered exactly the blend of icy, citrusy goodness I needed after so much rich and filling food.

marco's lemon sorbet

The sorbet itself was eye-wateringly sour (yum!) and soaked in lots and lots of limoncello, so this was basically a dessert and an after-dinner cocktail rolled into one. And really, who doesn’t want that?

The whole thing was topped off with a few curls of sweet-and-sour candied lemon that added a nice bit of crunch to this otherwise smooth dessert.

Despite being light and refreshing, this lemon sorbet was packed with flavour, and I’m so glad the waitress recommended it to me – especially since this isn’t something I’d normally order.

And so concluded our experience of Marco’s new menu.

Despite putting away a whopping 6 courses between us (!) we left Marco’s with very little to nit-pick about. The only thing I wouldn’t order again was the calamari, because although it was good it wasn’t quite as good as the tuna steak and sorbet. And “I liked the starter, but I liked the main and dessert so much more” isn’t much of a criticism!

True, Marco’s is a bit more expensive than your typical restaurant so it’s not the kind of place I’d eat at every week, but the quality of the food and general loveliness of the surroundings means that it feels well worth those extra few pounds.

If you have a special occasion coming up, or you just feel like you deserve a treat then I can highly recommend a trip to Marco’s Sheffield.
four stars

Advertisements

Sakushi lunch

September 21, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

I feel like maybe I should just go ahead and create a dedicated ‘Sushi’ section on this blog, considering how often I post about sushi in general, and Sakushi in particular.

Just in case it isn’t already blatantly obvious, Sakushi is one of my favourite places to eat in the whole of Sheffield. This Campo Lane restaurant serves fantastic sushi, sashimi and other Japanese treats, is conveniently located in the city center, and has a conveyer belt of sushi. All of these things make it the perfect place to grab a speedy lunch during the working week.

But when I visited Sakushi last week it wasn’t to grab a quick bite during my lunch break, it was for a long and lazy lunch with friends (i.e the good kind of lunch). We ended up ordering a mixture of different sushi, sashimi and cooked food and then just shared everything, so I got to try a few things I’d never ordered from Sakushi before.

I even tried a new drink!

jasmine tea

Sakushi’s jasmine tea is very light and refreshing, and is served in a very traditional-looking teapot with matching tea bowls. Sipping fragrant herbal tea out of a Japanese tea bowl just felt more fun and authentic, as opposed to the glass of vino or pint of cola I usually wash my sushi down with. I’ll definitely be taking my Sakushi sushi with a bowl of jasmine tea from now on!

Sakushi’s menu features the disclaimer that your food will come out as and when it’s ready, rather than as the defined starters, mains and sides you’d normally expect in a restaurant. Due to this policy, our dining experience was a bit random so I’m just going to run through the food as it came out of the kitchen. 

First up was the miso soup.

miso soup

Sakushi’s miso soup (£2.50) has a strong, salty, almost stock-like flavour and contains a decent amount of seaweed and spring onions, as well as a few teeny weeny cubes of tofu.

Although the bowl was a bit on the small side, Sakushi do offer unlimited refills so if you’re left craving more miso, all you need to do is ask for a refill. Considering this soup only costs £2.50, this is good value for money.

Although I did get to try lots of new things from Sakushi’s menu, a few old favourites did make an appearance, because I don’t think I can physically set foot in Sakushi anymore without ordering a Chirashi-Don (£13.45).

chirashi don

Sakushi’s chirashi-don is a big bowl of sushi rice topped with slices of sashimi and colourful fish roe. It’s my favourite thing to order from Sakushi, as I love sashimi but feel like slices of raw fish just isn’t a filling meal. I love how the chirashi-don combines sashimi with a massive portion of sticky, filling sushi rice.

I’ve eaten more chirashi-dons than I care to count and have never been disappointed, and this chirashi-don was no different. I particularly loved the raw salmon, which had a really buttery, melt-in-the-mouth consistency I hadn’t encountered with raw salmon before.

Another dish I’ve enjoyed many times before, is the Sakura Sashimi platter (£16.95 for 16 pieces). This is a platter of tuna, salmon, seabass, ika/squid, tako/octopus and hokkigai/surf clam sashimi.

sashimi platter

Since we were going all out, we ordered two sashimi platters to share. Both platters looked incredible.

sashimi platter 2

I love the thick wedges of salmon and tuna that come with this platter, although I’m not a massive fan of the tako, as I always find boiled octopus chewy and bland. But even with the boiled octopus, this makes a great sharing platter for a group of people, or a seriously indulgent meal for one.

Of course, no trip to Sakushi would be complete without sushi – lots and lots of sushi!

Sakushi serve their sushi as small plates containing two pieces of your chosen sushi, which range in price from £2.00 to £4.00. You can either order sushi from the menu, or if you like the look of something on the conveyor belt, you can just grab it as it sails past your table.

The first sushi plate of the afternoon was some Spicy Tuna Gunkan (£4.00).

spicy tuna gunkan

This gunkan consists of diced sashimi generously flavoured with shichimi. According to Google shichimi is a traditional Japanese spice mix made from 7 ingredients, which explains why the tuna gunkan has such a complex heat.

Shichimi is a hot spice, but it isn’t just hot for the sake of inflicting pain, it also adds a unique flavour and depth to the tuna gunkan (while also inflicting a little pain). The earthiness of the tuna and the deep, dark and satisfying heat of the shichimi is a winning combination.

Shichimi also makes an appearance in the Spicy Sake Gunkan (£3.00).

spicy salmon gunkan

This gunkan is made from raw salmon rather than tuna, and the lighter, brighter flavour of the raw salmon works with the shichimi spices in a completely different, but still very tasty way.

The third and final gunkan of the afternoon was Fresh Crab Gunkan (£3.00).

fresh crab gunkan

This gunkan is completely different to the shichimi-spiked salmon and tuna, as it’s made from light, fresh shredded crab meat and cooling mayo. While mayo may not be the most traditional sushi ingredient, it does add a creaminess that works really well with the fresh crab.

Also winging its way to our table was some Unagi Nigiri (£4.00).

unagi nigiri

This grilled eel sushi has a very distinctive flavour that you’ll either love or hate. Personally, I’m not a fan of this one!

Another plate, another kind of sushi. This time it was Sakushi’s own maki roll.

sakushi roll

This Sakushi Roll (£4.00) is less opinion-dividing than the eel sushi and much nicer to look at. Each roll is made from a combination of crunchy tempura prawn and melt-in-the-mouth avocado, wrapped in the obligatory rice and seaweed, and topped with a generous piece of raw salmon.

I love all the different flavours and textures that are going on in these rolls, and the sashimi topping gives the Sakushi Roll a burst of that intensely fishy flavour you can only get from sashimi. Plus, these rolls look fantastic.

Not quite so easy-on-the-eyes was the Ebi Tempura Inari (£4.00).

ebi tempura inari

Personally I find this one of the stranger types of sushi on Sakushi’s menu. When you order the Ebi Tempura Inari, you get two parcels of sweet, marinated tofu filled with rice and tempura prawns.

I’ve tried Sakushi’s Ebi Tempura Inari before and I’m simply not a fan (in my mind, tofu is savoury and the concept of sweet tofu is just plain wrong) so I knew to give this one a wide berth. However, a few people at the table did try some of the sweet tofu, and one of them enjoyed it so much they said they’d order it again.

Now, the main misconception surrounding Japanese restaurants like Sakushi, is that it’s all raw fish and seafood. True, Sakushi do serve fantastic sashimi, but they also offer a selection of cooked mains and meat dishes too. A few people at the table weren’t massive sushi fans, so they decided to order a couple of Sakushi’s cooked mains.

First up was the Peppered Ika (£5.25).

peppered ika

This peppered squid was perfectly cooked, and covered in a light and crumbly, almost tempura-like batter that was seasoned with lots and lots of black pepper. Even though I love my sushi and sashimi, the peppered ika was so good that I might end up ordering it for myself at some point.

Next up, was Tori-karage (£5.25). Despite the exotic-sounding name, this is actually Sakushi’s take on breaded chicken.

Tori-karage

The chicken was very tender and expertly cooked, and came with a lemon wedge and accompanying mayo dip, both of which worked really well with the Tori-karage.

While I wouldn’t order this for myself, the chicken did get a big thumb’s up from my non-seafood-loving friend, so it’s worth bearing in mind if you’re eating out with someone who isn’t wild about fish and seafood.

Thus concluded our Sakushi sharing experience. I love Sakushi and have eaten there many times before, but recently I’ve fallen into the bad habit of ordering the same thing everytime, so it was nice to try lots of different things, including one or two dishes I wouldn’t normally order.

From the slices of fresh sashimi to the breaded chicken with mayo, everything was nicely cooked, fresh and tasty. Even if I wasn’t keen on a few things (like the sweet tofu parcels) other people at the table enjoyed them.

Sakushi is still one of my favourite places to eat in the whole of Sheffield, and based on my latest trip I can’t see this changing anytime soon!

four-stars

Bill’s brunch

August 16, 2015 at 3:37 pm | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Who doesn’t love brunch? After a full working week where breakfast never gets more exciting than a bowl of cereal and a hastily-gulped cup of tea, it’s nice to finally dedicate some real time to the first meal of the day.

The only downside? You have to get up early(ish) on your day off, to make sure you don’t miss out on brunch completely. Last weekend, I made sure I was up and in town at a reasonable hour, just so I could sample the breakfast menu at the recently-opened Bill’s restaurant at St Paul’s Place.

When I first looked at their website, I’d been surprised by the sheer number of Bill’s restaurants there are in cities all over the country. Somehow, I’d managed to avoid Bill’s completely, to the point where the Sheffield restaurant was the first time I’d even heard of them, so I was interested to find out what makes Bill’s so popular!

Bill’s Sheffield restaurant is smart, shiny and clearly brand spanking new, with a few characterful flourishes in the form of exposed metal pipes and walls lined with assorted bottles and jars. This is a massive venue with a pristine finish, but these quirky touches prevent it from feeling sterile.

By the time I’d dragged myself out of bed and into town, Bill’s had already been open for a few hours. Despite this, it was still on the quiet side when we arrived. The fact that the staff outnumbered the customers (at least initially) had its benefits, and its downsides. While we did enjoy lightning-fast service, we also had at least three waitresses popping by our table to ask whether our food was okay, did we want to order anything else, how were we for drinks….and so on.

Although the staff were very polite and friendly, the service was on the verge of becoming overbearing. Thankfully, Bill’s did start to fill up shortly after we arrived, so the staff had more customers to keep them occupied and we could enjoy the last part of our brunch in peace.

Onto the food and drink, and breakfast just isn’t breakfast without caffeine, so we kicked things off with a round of tea and coffee.

I went for a pot of tea and was offered a choice of English Breakfast, Earl Grey or Rooibos (£2.10). My tea arrived very nicely presented in a quaint tin teapot that contained enough tea to refill my cup four times – bargain!

My brunch buddy opted for an Americano (£2.00) plus the mysterious-sounding Bill’s Green Smoothie (£3.35).

11831821_611220919031_2322751076044411090_n

Although green smoothies immediately make me think of health drinks made from things like raw kale and spinach, Bill’s green smoothie tastes fruitier than your typical health drink. Whatever’s in this stuff, it doesn’t taste as sugary as plain fruit juices such as orange or apple juice, but it still has a distinctly fruity tang. Bill’s green smoothie is the perfect light and refreshing fruit smoothie to have before breakfast.

Bill’s breakfast menu is pretty big and features the usual cooked breakfasts, things-on-toast, and healthier options like granola and porridge, or you can treat yourself to eggs Benedict, Royale or Florentine.

On this particular day there was only thing on my mind: Bill’s blueberry and buttermilk pancakes with banana, strawberries and maple syrup (£5.95).

These pancakes sound incredible on the menu, so I was expecting great things – but when they arrived they were even better than I’d been expecting. Just look at them!

11822279_10153176824648802_9188384020168561257_n

Bill’s pancakes are nice and thick, and the generous helping of strawberries, blueberries and sliced bananas add a burst of juicy freshness that prevents the pancakes from feeling stodgy and heavy going. The banana slices in particular were delicious, and had gained a sweet stickiness from the accompanying maple syrup.

My only complaint is that Bill’s were a bit tight with the maple syrup, and they didn’t provide a jug of additional syrup so I could rectify the situation. This was a shame as a few extra glugs of syrup and these pancakes would have been sweet, comfort food perfection. They were still good, but halfway through I did begin to really notice the dryness and doughiness of the pancakes – at this point I’d have normally added more syrup to break up the taste, and continued eating. Instead, the taste of plain pancakes got a bit too much and I decided to call it a day.

My brunch buddy had also been tempted by just how amazing Bill’s pancakes sound on the menu, but they’d chosen to add some bacon to their pancakes (an extra £1.50).

11836804_611220938991_4475103841445019322_n

They raved about how well the sweet pancakes and maple syrup went with the saltiness and smokiness of the bacon – although they agreed that Bill’s had been a bit mean with the maple syrup.

Impressively, they managed to polish off all their pancakes and bacon, whereas I was completely defeated by my third and final pancake. This is a lot of stodgy food, especially so early in the morning. In fact, by the time I’d walked home all I wanted to do was crawl back into bed and take a nap (I resisted, but it wasn’t easy!)

I also ended up skipping lunch because I was still too full to contemplate eating anything. I usually live by three meals a day, so skipping a meal isn’t something I do lightly – but Bill’s breakfast pancakes kept me full until tea time.

If you want to give breakfast the time and attention it deserves, then Bill’s is a great place to do so. It’s a lovely venue with a varied breakfast menu, and if you love pancakes then you need to sample Bill’s take on this breakfast treat.

In short, Bill’s serve a breakfast that’s worth getting out of bed early for – even on your day off!

Three and a half stars

The Great Gatsby

August 11, 2015 at 3:51 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 2 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Great Gatsby may not be the first place that springs to mind when you have a street food craving, but this is exactly the kind of food the Gatsby serve at their ‘Shy Boy cantina.’

If you haven’t visited the Great Gatsby in a while, you may have missed their recent makeover. This Division Street venue is now all shiny copper surfaces and contrasting blue walls. It’s a quirky look, and one that suits the Gatsby down to a T.

Great Gatsby

When it comes to food, the Great Gatsby keep things simple with a concise menu that’s split into four sections: burritos, tacos, large plates, and small plates, which are perfect for a snack or as a side to have alongside your main. And, if you have room for dessert the Great Gatsby also serve several flavours of Yee Kwan ice cream.

The Great Gatsby’s menu is on the smaller side (particularly compared to the mammoth menu on offer at fellow Sheffield cantina Revolucion De Cuba), but all the Mexican street food classics are present and accounted for, and there’s a good variety of vegetarian food too.

Case in point, my veggie chilli burrito (£7.50).

Great Gatsby veg burrito

This massive burrito is stuffed with so much good stuff, that it’s actually a challenge to try and eat it without the sauce and veggie filling dripping onto your plate. After a few awkward bites I had to resort to cutting my burrito into more manageable chunks, just to make it less messy to eat.

This is a mammoth portion of food that’s well worth the £7.50 price tag.

Great Gatsby stuff all their burritos with red rice, black beans, cheese, guacamole and sour cream, plus your choice of veggies or chicken, beef or pork. My veggie filling consisted of tomatoes, onions and peppers, which added a refreshing edge to the stodgy, comfort food flavours of the cheese, rice and thick sour cream.

My only niggle is that the Great Gatsby’s burritos aren’t particularly spicy. My veg burrito did come with a green chilli dip that had a hum of heat to it (not to mention a really unique sour note) but even after dunking my burrito into this sauce I still didn’t get that fiery kick I’d been craving.

Thankfully, if you’re like me and prefer your spicy food to verge on the side of painful, then Gatsby do provide a good selection of additional condiments that you can use to give your burrito that extra kick.

Despite the spice being on the milder side, the Gatsby’s veg burrito is a jumbo portion of pure comfort food that left me completely stuffed and very, very happy.  

Also arriving at our table was something a little bit different; courgette and quinoa fritters (£5) from the ‘Small plates’ section of Great Gatsby’s menu.

Great Gatsby courgette and quinoa fritters

These fritters reminded me of the black bean bombers that cropped up on a previous incarnation of the Gatsby’s menu, and they’re every bit as good.

Beneath their crispy coating, these fritters have a light and crumbly texture that’s clearly quinoa-based. Their unusual texture makes these tasty, savoury bites well worth trying – particularly if you have a soft spot for quinoa.

The final meal arriving at our table was a plate of wild mushroom quesadillas (£7.50).

Great Gatsby wild mushroom quesadillas

These quesadillas looked incredible to start with, but when my friend cut into them they somehow managed to look even better.

Great Gatsby close up quesadillas

The tortillas themselves were light and fluffy, and the filling was a delicious mix of wilted spinach and perfectly seasoned mushrooms, with just enough melted cheese to give this light filling a feel of creaminess and indulgence.

If you’re not feeling hungry enough for one of Gatsby’s super-sized burritos, then these quesadillas deliver all those quintessential Mexican street food flavours without making you feel like you need to have a lie down after you’ve finished eating.

I loved everything about our Mexican street food lunch, and if you have a soft spot for this sort of cuisine then the Great Gatsby should be high on your list of places to check out.

Even though the venue may not scream Mexican street food, don’t let that fool you – the Great Gatsby really do make a mean burrito!

3 and a half

Revolucion De Cuba

July 21, 2015 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Cocktail Bar, Restaurants | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Revolucion De Cuba is one of those places I used to be obsessed with, to the point where I discovered that you really can have too much of a good thing. Consequently, I had to take a bit of a break from the Mappin Street venue formerly known as Buddha Bar/Bai Hoi.

But after stuffing my face with a tonne of tacos courtesy of Revolucion De Cuba’s all-you-can-eat Taco Tuesday, I’ve rediscovered why I liked Revolucion De Cuba so much in the first place. So I was really excited to attend the launch of their new menu, together with some other Sheffield bloggers and newsy types.

Right off the bat, I’ve got to say that Revolucion De Cuba know how to make a special occasion fun, as we arrived to find our table decked out with funky pineapple glasses and straw hats. Cheesy it may be, but I love this kind of stuff.

Revolucion de Cuba hats and glasses

Glasses donned and selfies snapped, it was time to kick things off with a cocktail from Revolucion De Cuba’s ginormous drinks menu. Even though I had every intention of branching out and trying something new, after reading the menu from front to back I still couldn’t resist ordering the exact same thing I always go for.

Revolucion de Cuba pornstar rumtini

I just love the tartness of this Pornstar Rumtini, as it’s fruity without being too sweet, plus it comes with a shot of sparkling wine on the side, which can only be a good thing.

Since we’re smack bang in the middle of a heatwave, my dining companion opted for a frozen Banana Daiquiri (£7.25). This cocktail comes with a chocolate flake, and the daiquiri itself is so thick and icy that it can support said flake without any issues.

Revolucion De Cuba Banana Daiquiri

This banana daiquiri is pretty much a dream for anyone with a sweet tooth, and it’d make the perfect, refreshing pudding after you’ve finished stuffing yourself with spicy Cuban grub.

As we sipped our cocktails, we were treated to a trio of moreish nibbles: banana chips (£1.50), pork crackling, (£1.50) and spicy mixed nuts (£1.50).

Revolucion De Cuba nibbles

These nibbles are great if you fancy something to crunch on while you peruse the main menu, particularly the pork crackling which is something a bit different from your bog-standard bar snacks.

Onto the hot food, and Revolucion De Cuba brought out lots of tapas, sides and mains for the whole table to share, so brace yourselves because we have lots to cover.

First up was a plate of Smoky Aubergine Quesadillas (£5.00). These quesadillas were packed with lots of yummy melted cheese, and came with a very fresh and homemade-looking tomato and onion salsa.

Revolucion de Cuba quesadillas

For £5.00 this is a filling tapas dish that I can imagine eating on its own as a snack or even as a starter when I’m feeling particularly hungry.

For the meat eaters, there was a main course of Havana Chicken Salad (£9.50). The chicken was tender, juicy and nicely-seasoned but what really caught my eye was the colourful side salad.

Revolucion de Cuba havana chicken salad

This vibrant salad consisted of quinoa, green lentils, peppers, carrots, tomato, cucumber, black beans, edamame beans, yellow beetroot and leaves, finished off with a homemade spinach and kale dressing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a salad that looks quite this good!

Sometimes I feel like restaurants use side salads just to fill up the plate. Not so with Revolucion De Cuba! They’ve clearly gone all out to create a side salad you’ll actually be excited to eat.

This side salad appears in several other main courses and you can even order a ‘Cuban Salad’ on its own, which might just be one of the few occasions I’d actually consider ordering a salad in a restaurant.

This Cuban salad made a repeat appearance at our table, as part of a Baked Halloumi (£11) main course.

Revolucion de Cuba baked halloumi

This main is essentially a super-sized portion of halloumi, marinated in soy and ginger, and then served in a banana leaf with a helping of that awesome Cuban salad.

I’m mad about halloumi anyway, so I was always going to enjoy a main that’s mostly just a massive piece of halloumi, but the soy and ginger marinade gave this particular piece of halloumi a powerful, salty and very distinctive taste. This is easily the best halloumi I’ve ever had.

If you’ve got a soft spot for halloumi or you just love strong, salty flavours, then you need to try Revolucion De Cuba’s baked halloumi. You won’t be disappointed!

Next up was everyone’s favourite Tex-Mex snack: nachos. These Nachos Del Sol (£5.50) take crunchy tortilla chips and cover them in black beans, guacamole, homemade Roquito and Manchego cheese sauce, and chunks of mango.

Revolucion de Cuba nachos

I can’t remember ever having fruit on nachos before, but the mango added a welcome sweetness to this otherwise very savoury snack. I might just have to try sprinkling some mango on top of my own nachos in the future.

The nachos were followed by yet more tapas, in the form of some Iberico Ham Croquettes (£5.50).

Revolucion de Cuba Iberico Ham Croquettes

Apparently Iberico is a special kind of Spanish ham that’s salted and air dried for 12 months (thanks, Google) which explains why these croquettes had such a strong, salty flavour. The Iberico croquettes are particularly nice with a dollop of the accompanying garlic aioli dip.

I was already feeling pretty stuffed, but it turned out there was even more food for us to sample. An entire platter of it, in fact.

Revolucion de Cuba mojo chicken

This was roughly the point where I started to wish I’d been more restrained around that baked halloumi.

The first plate on our platter was sticky glazed Chorizo in a rich red wine and honey sauce (£6.00). This is hearty, comforting tapas with a slight kick to it, and I can imagine this really hitting the spot during the colder months.

Also on our super-sized platter was a side of sweet potato fries (£3.00). Like the halloumi, sweet potato fries are something I love anyway, so I knew I was going to enjoy these – but they were even better than I was expecting!

These sweet potato fries were perfectly cooked: crispy and nicely-salted on the outside, but fluffy and sweet on the inside. They also went really well with Revolucion De Cuba’s homemade rum sauce, which has a nice kick to it, not to mention the kind of freshness you simply can’t get from a supermarket-bought bottle.

Revolucion De Cuba rum sauce

The final side on our mega-platter was House Rice (£2.50). This is something I loved the last time I visited Revolucion De Cuba and it was every bit as good as I remembered, particularly the topping of finely-chopped, crispy fried onions, which were incredibly moreish.

At £2.50 this is another fantastic side dish. Revolucion De Cuba are really getting their sides spot on at the moment.

But the main event was an enormous Half Chicken in Mojo Sauce (£11, with two side dishes). This is a massive portion of nicely-cooked chicken, but if you’re seriously hungry then apparently you can go one step further and order an entire chicken!

This was when the lovely Revolucion De Cuba staff broke the news that there was even more food to come. In fact, we hadn’t even had our main course yet (!) as everyone would be getting the chance to prepare their own burrito.

But what’s the perfect thing to do before trying your hand at a new culinary skill?

Shots, of course!

Revolucion de Cuba rum tasting

Okay so this isn’t as heinous as it looks. This was actually a quick rum tasting session where we got to sample three different rums from Revolucion De Cuba’s extensive collection.

Despite the fact that I’m not a massive fan of drinking anything neat, this turned out to be lots of fun. This is the second rum tasting I’ve attended, and both times I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the range of rum that’s out there, from the painful-to-drink, to the dangerously easy drinking.

Speaking of painful, the first rum (Matusalem Platino) was so harsh that finishing a single measure felt like a major accomplishment. Thankfully it was all uphill from here as the second rum (Ron de Jeremy) was smoother, and the third rum (Gosling’s Black Seal) had a faintly butterscotch aftertaste that I enjoyed so much, I could actually see myself drinking this again!

If you’re interested in checking out what rums Revolucion De Cuba have to offer, you’ll find a complete list at the end of their drinks menu.

Okay, so three measures of rum dispatched and obviously the time was right to try and roll the perfect burrito. This went predictably…..wrong, but at least all the ingredients that went into my sloppily-rolled burrito were good!

Revolucion de Cuba burrito ingredients

In the end, my burrito consisted of refried beans, garlic mushrooms, fried veggies and spring onions, plus generous helpings of sour cream, grated cheese and house rice, so it wasn’t a million miles away from Revolucion De Cuba’s own Mushroom, Bean and Spinach Burrito (£9).

When it came to wrapping my concoction, I discovered that it’s much harder to roll the perfect burrito than you might think, which is why I’m not going to show you a photo of my handiwork. Instead, here’s a photo of my dining companion’s chicken burrito, for the simple reason that they did a much better job than me.

Revolucion De Cuba burrito

And thus concluded our Revolucion De Cuba feast. I left feeling like I’d eaten Revolucion De Cuba’s entire menu, but after consulting their website I realise that I’d barely even scratched the surface.

Revolucion De Cuba’s mammoth menu features tapas, sides, burritos, half and full chickens cooked in a variety of spices, hamburgers, a “fast and fresh” Rapido Lunch menu, a Fiesta Cubana three-course set menu, all-you-can-eat Taco Tuesday, plus a tonne of other main courses that don’t fit neatly into any of the above categories.

With so much choice, you might think that this is a case of quantity over quality, but everything I sampled from Revolucion De Cuba’s new menu was delicious, and there wasn’t anything I wouldn’t order again.

Revolucion De Cuba serve great food and great cocktails, in a lovely venue with some amazing special offers – if you love a bargain then you’ve got to visit them on a Sunday, when it’s 2-4-1 on all tapas and the majority of cocktails.

I can’t think of anything negative to say about this place, so if you have a soft spot for this kind of Cuban-inspired food, or you just love great cocktails, then you should make a point of paying Revolucion De Cuba a visit!

four-stars

The Wick at Both Ends: Spring/Summer 2015

May 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , , , ,

This review is long overdue, due to my phone going whappy and losing all my photos – including those I took at the Wick at Both Ends’ new menu launch.

Thankfully my phone is now back up and running, so I can (finally) share my thoughts on the Wick’s new spring/summer menu!

The new menu has the same rustic, gastro pub feel of previous Wick menus, although there does seem to be more meat and fish this time around. The Wick at Both Ends haven’t completely forgotten about vegetarians, though – there are a couple of veggie-friendly mains inbetween all the ox tail and kidney pies, sausage and mash, and butter roasted plaice. There’s also a selection of meat-free sandwiches, plus the Wick’s trusty flat field mushroom and goat’s cheese burger, which has been my favourite thing to order there for years. If the Wick ever get rid of their mushroom burger, I’ll be very sad.

One thing I’ve noticed about the Wick’s menus, is that the starters tend to be more adventurous than the mains. The spring/summer menu is no exception, featuring unusual starters such as pan fried calves liver, pickled mackerel, and pistachio and prune terrine.

One starter that really caught my eye was the warm potted crab (£5.50). I love potted shrimp but I’ve never tried potted crab before, so I knew I had to give this a go.

This is a big starter!

the wick at both ends potted crab

My ramekin was jam-packed with lots of fresh and tasty crab meat that had a lovely, velvety texture. If you’re not a fan of strong seafood then you should probably give this one a miss, as the crab is seriously strong.

My only issue with the potted crab is that it’s just so filling! After I’d used the accompanying slices of bread and butter to scrape up every last morsel of delicious crab, I was left wondering how I was going to find room for my main course.

This is such a generous portion that I think the potted crab would work really well as a stand alone snack – possibly after one too many Wick cocktails have given you a case of the beer munchies!

For a seafood fanatic like myself, this potted crab starter felt like the ultimate treat. In fact, I have a few seafood-loving friends who I’m going to drag to the Wick at the earliest opportunity, because I know they’ll love this starter every bit as much as I did.

For my main course, I continued the fish and seafood theme with some Smoked Haddock Kedgeree (£8.95).

This wasn’t just the first time I’d had kedgeree at the Wick, it was the first time I’d had kedgeree ever, so I was really looking forward to trying something completely new.

The Wick’s vibrant yellow kedgeree is certainly nice to look at.

wick at both ends kedgeree

I’d found the potted crab a bit heavy going, but this kedgeree was even richer. This is another massive portion, and the rice is really rich and creamy. Like the potted crab, this is food strictly for those who enjoy strong, fishy flavours.

Even though I was getting uncomfortably full, I just couldn’t stop eating this. The Wick’s kedgeree really is too good to waste.

Meanwhile, my friend had opted for the 8oz Onglet Steak (£11.50), which was another new addition to the Wick’s menu.

After some Googling it became clear that onglet steak is the same as hanger steak, which they’ve also just started serving at the Wick’s sister venue, Anchorage (if you’re interested, Anchorage’s hanger steak is amazing and you can read about it here).

The Wick’s onglet steak has a really intense, rich flavour. If you like your steak, then you need to try this onglet/hanger cut, as it’s stronger and tastier than your average steak.

wick at both ends onglet

The onglet steak came with a stack of chubby, perfectly-seasoned chips, a super-sized serving of parsley butter, and a token bit of greenery in the form of some grilled baby gem lettuce. These are all pretty standard sides when you order a steak, but then the Wick throw a curveball by adding a single battered oyster to the plate.

The oyster was nicely cooked and had a really intense flavour (this seems to be a theme with the Wick’s new menu!) but there’s no getting around the fact that this is more batter than oyster.

Now, I know that for £11.50 you can’t expect such a fantastic steak, fat chips and a pile of oysters, and yes oysters are always going to look smaller with the shell removed – but this single battered oyster did look a bit odd on its own.

wick at both ends battered oyster

Despite mixed feelings about the battered oyster, the onglet steak was well received, and for the price you do get a big plateful of grub and a superb cut of meat.

The Wick’s latest menu continues the tradition of big portions of quality food at reasonable prices, with a few quirky ingredients thrown into the mix. The starters are on the pricier side, but my potted crab starter was worth every penny.

The Wick is one of my favourite places to grab a bite to eat in the city centre, and judging by how much I loved their kedgeree and potted crab starter, this isn’t about to change anytime soon.

If you haven’t already, you can check out the Wick’s new menu online.

four stars

Anchorage: Spring/Summer Menu

April 18, 2015 at 2:44 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , , , ,

I’ve pretty much fallen in love with Anchorage over the last couple of weeks following a string of amazing meals there.

On my last visit, I had one of the best vegetarian Sunday lunches I’ve ever eaten, and my friend had a hanger steak they’re still talking about weeks later. So when I heard Anchorage were releasing a new spring/summer menu, I had high hopes.

Anchorage’s menu is “East Coast” inspired, so the food has an American feel. They also offer a “build it yourself” meat and cheese platter, where you get to choose exactly which cured meats and cheeses you want. Doesn’t a bottle of wine and a build your own cheese platter sound like the perfect way to spend a sunny afternoon? Yet another reason to look forward to summer!

But today wasn’t the day to eat cheese and drink wine, I was here to sample Anchorage’s new menu – and drink wine.

anchorage wine

Since it was early on a Wednesday afternoon, I was sensible and resisted Anchorage’s cocktail menu, but if you’re in the mood for a cocktail then I highly recommend their dirty martini (£8).

I’m not usually a fan of martinis as I always feel like they’re burning my taste buds off, but Anchorage’s martinis are smooth and dangerously easy drinking. Plus each dirty martini comes with a side of strong blue cheese, so it’s a drink and a snack!

anchorage martini

After taking a look through Anchorage’s new menu, I opted for the 6oz Tuna Nicoise steak, which came with green beans, egg, olive, anchovy and tomatoes (£15).

anchorage tuna steak

The 6oz tuna steak looked incredible – and it tasted every bit as good as it looked. The tuna was delicately cooked, so it was still juicy and pink on the inside, and it was heavily seasoned with lots of salt, so every bite was packed with flavour.

Just how good was the tuna steak? Well, since my visit to Anchorage I’ve found myself craving tuna and cooking it at home at least a couple of times a week. Anchorage has single-handedly got me hooked on tuna steaks!

The tuna came with a long list of added extras, including sun dried tomatoes and a breadcrumb-covered egg. Beneath the light breadcrumb coating, the egg yolk had just the right amount of runniness. I wish I could cook eggs this perfectly!

My tuna also came with a salad of lettuce, green apple, and pear. The pear slices were melt-in-the-mouth ripe, and were a nice contrast to the crispness of the green apple. This isn’t your typical boring salad of iceberg lettuce and tomatoes! Why can’t all salads be this good?

The tuna also came with a handful of walnuts, which turned out to be the most unusual and interesting part of the meal. Some of the walnuts had a tart, vinegary flavour, as though they’d been pickled, while others were crunchy and sweet. Whenever I picked up a walnut, I had no idea whether I was going to get sweet or sour.

The whole thing was finished off with fancy swirls and dollops of different purees and mousses, which brought even more flavours into the mix.

If you have a passion for new and interesting flavours, then Anchorage’s tuna steak is your perfect meal. After wolfing down the delicious steak, I thought the best part was over – but then I moved onto the different accompaniments, and every forkful was something new and interesting.

At £15, this tuna steak is at the top end of Anchorage’s menu, but it’s worth every penny. I can’t think of one negative thing to say about my meal – it was perfect.

Also arriving at our table was the Amish Chicken (£13) which promised half a chicken served with cream sauce, whipped potatoes and green beans.

When Anchorage say half a chicken, they mean half a chicken.

amish chicken

Even the photo doesn’t do justice to just how much chicken was on the plate. This is one of those mountains of food where no matter how much you eat, you never really seem to make a dent in it.

As if half of the world’s biggest chicken wasn’t enough, this meal comes with a super-sized portion of rich and creamy mashed potato.

Only order Anchorage’s Amish chicken if you’re seriously hungry – you’ve been warned!

After our massive main meals, we didn’t have room for pudding, so we wrapped up our Anchorage experience with a round of lattes.

anchorage coffee

Anchorage’s coffees are beautifully presented, with a few sugar cubes and a bourbon biscuit on the side. If you don’t have room for pudding, then this is the perfect way to end your meal.

I’ve never had a bad meal at Anchorage, and their new menu continues this tradition. The tuna steak is perfect for an adventurous eater, and the Amish chicken is guaranteed to leave you stuffed.

While looking through the new menu, I spotted a few more things I’m eager to try, so I’ll definitely be returning to Anchorage again soon. And of course, as soon as the sun comes out I’ll be treating myself to that long-awaited Anchorage cheese platter and glass (bottle…) of wine!

5-stars

Revolucion De Cuba

April 16, 2015 at 5:14 pm | Posted in Cocktail Bar, Restaurants | 1 Comment
Tags: , , , ,

When I first moved to Sheffield, I got a bit obsessed with Revolucion De Cuba’s Sunday offers. 2 for 1 on cocktails and tapas all day, every Sunday? What better way to stave off those back-to-work-in-the-morning blues!

But if you do something too much it no longer feels special – and that’s exactly what happened with me and Revolucion De Cuba. Turns out it actually is possible to get bored of Sunday afternoons spent sipping mojitos and eating tapas (who’d have thought it?)

So apart from the odd cocktail I hadn’t spent that much time in Revolucion De Cuba lately. This meant I was completely unaware of their ‘Taco Tuesday’ deal, where you get to eat as many tacos as you want for £10. So when the nice folk at Revolucion De Cuba got in touch and asked if I’d like to come along and eat tacos, I was looking forward to my first Taco Tuesday experience.

Revolucion De Cuba occupies the Mappin Street building that used to be Bai Hoi back in the day. It’s a massive venue that’s all super-glossy wood, shiny tiles, colourful artwork and the kind of super-sized ceiling fans that make you think of hotels in places sunnier than Sheffield. In fact, everything about Revolucion De Cuba makes me feel like I should be wearing flip flops, with a rolled-up beach towel in one hand and an all inclusive cocktail in the other (if only….)

When me and a friend arrived early on Tuesday evening, there was already a few large parties happily tucking into rounds of cocktails and tacos, and a live band in full swing. The band were fun and certainly added to the party atmosphere, but the music was so loud that me and my friend spent most of the evening shouting at one another across the table.

If you’re after a chat and a chilled out Tuesday evening, then Taco Tuesday isn’t for you.

The idea behind Taco Tuesday is that you can order as many platters of chicken, pork or vegetarian tacos as you want, so I went for the veggie option while my partner in crime opted for the pork. The deal also includes a soft drink or a can of Pistonhead lager. No prizes for guessing that I went with the boozy option!

Revolucion De Cuba Pistonhead

As well as the usual beers, wines and spirits, Revolucion De Cuba has a massive cocktail menu full of quirky and unique concoctions. If you’re a cocktail fan, then it’s worth making a trip to Revolucion De Cuba for the drinks menu alone.

As soon as I polished off my Pistonhead, I got stuck into the cocktail menu and ordered a Pornstar Rumtini (£7.95). While I’m not a fan of the name, I loved the tangy, fruity taste of this cocktail – not to mention the shot of prosecco that’s served on the side.

revolucion de cuba rumtini

My friend opted for Revolucion De Cuba’s take on the Bloody Mary – the Bloody Pirate (£6.95). This cocktail has just the right amount of spice, and the tomato juice is really light and refreshing.

This is one of those drinks that feels as though it’s doing you good, rather than just getting you tipsy. If you’re into the whole hair of the dog thing, this would be an amazing hangover-buster.

revolucion de cuba bloody pirate

Our first round of tacos arrived pretty sharpish.

revolucion de cuba veg taco

Both sets of tacos came with a surprise side of rice, which I hadn’t spotted on the Taco Tuesday menu. The rice is rich and delicious, but it’s also really filling so I had to stop myself from eating too much of it.

If you want to get your money’s worth, then go easy on the stodgy rice – at least until you’ve polished off a few rounds of tacos!

Speaking of tacos, the main part of my vegetarian taco filling was seasoned mushrooms, instead of a veggie mince or bean chilli filling. Also making an appearance in my soft-shell tacos, was a diced tomato and onion relish, and tangy red onions that had an unexpected, almost pickled taste. I hadn’t been expecting this burst of sourness, but it gave my tacos a delicious added bite.

Revolucion De Cuba were a bit stingy with the filling, but this wasn’t a major problem as I knew I could always order more if I was still hungry (and I was!)

The pork tacos didn’t have this problem; these tacos was generously filled with pork, and topped with those unique, sour onions.

revolucion de cuba pork taco

Since Taco Tuesday is all you can eat, it would have been rude not to have a second helping!

revolucion de cuba second round

The filling in our second round of tacos was much warmer, and we also got a much bigger helping of onions. Both me and my friend agreed this second round of tacos was nicer than the first.

When anything is “all you can eat,” you’re always going to get a different kind of food than your typical restaurant fare, but to say this was all-you-can-eat-for-£10 with a drink thrown in too, I was really impressed with the quality of the food.

Inbetween stuffing my face with tacos, I had a look at Revolucion De Cuba’s main menu, and they’ve definitely given their food a revamp since the last time I visited. The menu now promises treats such as sea bass cured with lime and chilli, blue cheese burgers, and sweet potato and feta enchiladas – all of which sound amazing.

If you’re in the mood for a fun and filling night out that won’t break the bank, then Taco Tuesday is value for money, and the quality of the food is good considering you can eat as much as you want.

With a great cocktail menu and a tempting main menu, I know it won’t be long before I pay Revolucion De Cuba a repeat visit for some non-all-you-can-eat food action.

rating-3-star

Anchorage: Sunday Lunch

March 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 3 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I’ve eaten at Anchorage in West One Plaza a few times before and have always enjoyed it, so when I realised they did Sunday dinners too, I knew I had to give them a bash.

Sunday lunch is something I always enjoy, but rarely cook for myself (far too much washing up for my liking) so a city center venue offering Sunday lunch is always something worth getting excited about. I was particularly intrigued by Anchorage’s menu, as it hinted at an American twist on the traditional Sunday roast.

Unfortunately, I had a bit of a mental block and wandered into Anchorage without a reservation on mother’s day. (Just in case you’re wondering, I took my mother out for lunch a few days prior to this, so I didn’t forget about mother’s day completely). Thankfully, I’d been looking forward to my Sunday lunch so much that I’d insisted on getting to Anchorage at 12 o’clock sharp, so we were pretty much the first people there and managed to snag one of the very few tables that weren’t reserved. Phew!

I’ve written about Anchorage before, so I won’t go into detail about the venue here (if you want to read about that, I talk about it my previous Anchorage post). Safe to say it’s a nice place that has some of the Wick at Both Ends‘ quirkiness but with a more polished finish. I feel like you could treat someone to a special meal at Anchorage and it’d go down well  – and judging by all the people celebrating mother’s day there, I’m not the only person who thinks this!

I’d been looking forward to my Sunday lunch all morning, so I didn’t even need to look at the menu – I already knew I’d be ordering the vegetarian Sunday roast. However, my dining companion fancied a starter first, so before I could get my hands on that longed-for Sunday roast, it was time for a glass of white wine and a starter of crispy squid with chipotle mayo (£5.50).

PreviewScreenSnapz001

The batter was light enough that it didn’t overwhelm the squid – always a good thing! The squid was tender and juicy, and the chipotle dip had a tanginess that complimented the squid perfectly. However, the batter did have an unusual, faint flavour that I couldn’t quite put my finger on – and I couldn’t make up my mind whether it was something I liked or not. The jury’s still out on this one!

Then, it was finally time for the Sunday roast I’d been craving.

The menu promised a plateful of nut roast, taters, green beans, squash, lima beans, popovers and veggie gravy (£9.00).

veg Sunday lunch

After some Googling, it became clear that popovers are basically Yorkshire puddings (you learn something everyday). This solved one mystery, but I still wasn’t sure why there were carrots on my plate, when carrots weren’t mentioned on the menu; and the lima beans that had been on the menu, were nowhere to be found.

This wasn’t a big deal for me personally, as given the choice I’d opt for carrots over lima beans anyway, but it would have been nice for the staff to mention this swap when I was placing my order. Who knows, I could have really been looking forward to those lima beans!

Missing lima beans aside, I was really pleased with the size of my roast dinner. For £9.00 this is a big plate of food!

The roast potatoes were fluffy on the inside with a delicious crispy skin, and the Yorkshire pud (or popover, if you prefer) was massive and misshapen – just like all good homemade puds should be.

When it came to the nut roast, I didn’t have high hopes. I love my Sunday dinners, and if you order a vegetarian Sunday dinner then 99% of the time you’re going to end up with a nut roast. It’s just that most of the time, you end up with a dried-out piece of nut roast that tastes like it’s been hanging around the back of the freezer for ages, waiting for the day when someone finally orders a vegetarian roast. Even at its best, to me nut roast just tastes like stuffing – give me an extra helping of roast potatoes or some mash any day!

So I was pleased to discover that Anchorage’s nut roast is actually really good.

This nut roast was far tastier than any stuffing I’ve ever had, and it was perfectly cooked – moist on the inside, with a nicely-roasted exterior. Anchorage were also really generous when it came to portioning out their nut roast, as I got three big patties of the stuff.

I can’t remember ever enjoying a nut roast so much. I even let my meat-loving friend try a forkful of nut roast and they loved the taste, too. Now that’s when you know a nut roast is good!

Anchorage once again nailed the whole vegetarian thing, with their veggie gravy. This kind of gravy can sometimes be a bit thin and anemic-looking, but Anchorage’s was thick and packed with flavour. Good gravy can make everything on a Sunday roast even better, and this gravy certainly did that! The bottom of the Yorkshire pudding/popover was particularly good, as it had been sat soaking in the gravy.

Although we’d originally planned to come to Anchorage for Sunday lunch, my friend opted out of ordering a roast at the last minute, when they spotted a 10oz hanger steak (£14.00) on the menu.

hanger steak

According to the menu, a hanger steak is an unusual cut that butchers traditionally keep for their own table – clearly, butchers have been saving the best for themselves!

hanger steak close up

Anchorage’s hanger steak is an intense and rich cut of meat that’s stronger and far tastier than your average steak. The words “best steak I’ve ever had” were even uttered!

The steak came with a few accompaniments – fries, a rustic slaw that tasted like it was made from celeriac, and a second helping of chipotle mayo. But really, this meal is all about the steak – and Anchorage’s hanger steak was perfection. If you’re the carnivorous sort with a fondness for steak, then you owe it to yourself to try this!

When it comes to Sunday roasts, I really can’t recommend Anchorage enough. They serve big platefuls of pure comfort food that’s seriously filling, and I can see many more Anchorage Sunday dinners in my future. After all, why bother to cook myself a Sunday lunch, when I can just pop to Anchorage and get something this good for £9.00? (And no washing up, either!)

This is easily the best Sunday roast I’ve had in a long time, and the hanger steak looked incredible. I can’t fault Anchorage – and I can’t wait to return!

5-stars

Ginseng

March 10, 2015 at 7:34 pm | Posted in Restaurants | Leave a comment
Tags: , , , , ,

Sometimes, you just want something a bit different from your usual, sit-down-and-order meal out. I’m a big fan of Chinese hot pot restaurants, where you order a pot of stock and then cook your own seafood, meat and veggies by dipping them in the stock – so I can’t believe it took me so long to try Ginseng!

Located in West One Plaza, Ginseng is a Korean BBQ restaurant where you grill your own food. It sounded like a fun night out, so I was excited about my upcoming trip to Ginseng. In fact, I was looking forward to it so much that I downloaded the menu well in advance – and I’m so glad I did!

Ginseng’s menu is a whopping 32 pages long (although that does include lots of photographs) With so much choice, it’s definitely worth taking the time to read the entire menu in advance. The other thing worth knowing about Ginseng, is that it isn’t open all day during the week. From Monday through Thursday, it opens for lunch (12-3pm) and then it’s closed until 5pm.

Inside, Ginseng is bright and modern, and much larger than you’d expect from the outside. Our waitress showed us to an empty table next to one of the eye-catching, super-sized fish tanks that dominate the downstairs dining area, and handed us a copy of that whopping 32 page menu.

sheffield eats gingseng

Obviously, a large part of Ginseng’s menu is dedicated to BBQ food. You can order various platters of meat, seafood or vegetables to BBQ at your table, or you can opt for one of Ginseng’s set dinners, all of which include the option of a BBQ course.

If you’re not in the mood for BBQ, then Ginseng also offers noodle and teriyaki dishes, soups, casseroles, and a selection of “hot stone pots” which look really intriguing.

Basically, this is one of the most impressive menus I’ve ever seen! I can’t imagine anyone struggling to find something they fancy on this mammoth menu.

Since this was my first foray into Korean food, I decided to order one of the set dinners as they seemed to offer a good mix of different Korean delicacies.

I went with set dinner A, which consisted of roasted barley tea, one pickled side dish, soup of the day, boiled rice, a starter, and then either the main course of your choice or a BBQ platter (£14.95).

My friend also opted for a set dinner, but went with the slightly more expensive set dinner B (£19.95). Those few extra pounds bought him one additional pickled side dish, ice cream for dessert, and a wider selection of starters and mains to choose from.

First to arrive was our combined pickled side dishes, plus some dipping sauces.

sheffield eats pickle dishes

The pickles were quickly followed by a pot of roasted barley tea.

sheffield eats roasted barley tea

I’ve never tried roasted barley tea before, but after just a few sips I was hooked. Ginseng’s barley tea was really light and refreshing, with a unique taste. I’m not sure whether the barley tea was unlimited, but our waitress didn’t hesitate to bring us another pot as soon as we’d finished our first, which was an unexpected bonus.

Both our set dinners came with sticky rice, which was the perfect size for a side order.

The soup of the day was seaweed and tofu, which tasted exactly like miso soup. It was strong, salty and delicious. My only complaint is that the portion wasn’t big enough! It was so good, I wanted more.

Next up was our starters. For me, that meant a seafood pancake.

For a starter, this was massive! The pancake had just the right amount of crispiness without being burnt, and was really tasty – although I have to say I didn’t get much seafood in my seafood pancake!

My friend’s starter was something extra special: seasoned sea snails.

sheffield eats sea snails

As you can see, it looked amazing. Apparently, it tasted every bit as good as it looked. This is definitely something I want to try on my next visit.

Now what I’d really come to Ginseng for – the BBQ!

For our first Korean BBQ experience, me and my friend both opted for a platter of marinated squid.

sheffield eats squid

Just so we’re clear, that isn’t a snap of our combined squid – that’s how much we got each!

So, how does this BBQ thing work?

Each table is kitted out with a metal plate, and when it’s time to BBQ the staff remove the plate’s cover and turn the heat on. They then place a grill on top of the plate, brush it with oil, and that’s it – you’re ready to BBQ.

Eating each piece of squid straight off the grill meant it tasted extra fresh, but the best thing about our squid BBQ was the strong, tangy marinade. I couldn’t quite put my finger on what was in the marinade – but whatever it was, it was delicious!

The squid was so good, we both polished off our super-sized platters in no time.

The BBQ process does get a bit messy (try as I might, I couldn’t stop bits of burnt squid from sticking to the grill) but Ginseng’s staff kept a close an eye on things. They were always on hand to spread more oil on the grill, and halfway through our BBQ they even swapped our messy grill for a fresh one – without us even having to ask!

My first ever Korean BBQ experience was over, but my friend had one course left to go. The waitress explained he could choose any two flavours of ice cream for pudding. He opted for two of the more unusual-sounding flavours: one scoop of lemongrass, and one scoop of lychee.

sheffield eats ice cream

Ginseng’s ice cream was more like a sorbet, but that made it the perfect, light and refreshing way to end to such a big meal.

So, that was was my first taste of Korean BBQ – and I loved every minute of it! Cooking our own food was lots of fun, and made the meal feel more like an experience, rather than just popping out for a bite to eat. All of the food was delicious, the menu is huge, and the set dinners offer amazing value for money.

I can’t wait to go back!

5-stars

« Previous PageNext Page »

Create a free website or blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.