Rhubarb and Mustard

May 2, 2016 at 12:12 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | Leave a comment
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Walking down Ecclesall Road a few months back, I was surprised to see that Smith and Jones is no more, and in its place is a new restaurant: Rhubarb and Mustard.

Once I got home, I wasted no time looking up their website and found a sample menu packed full of unusual ‘gastro pub’ style ingredients such as nettle puree, blood orange gel, squid ink puree, and honeycomb and pistachio dukkah. Rhubarb and Mustard’s menu isn’t a million miles removed from the Wig and Pen, or the Milestone. I love both of these restaurants so I knew I had to give Rhubarb and Mustard a try.

It was a rainy weekday evening when I finally made it to Rhubarb and Mustard. Despite the fact that it was a school night and a miserable, drizzly evening to boot, there were quite a few people tucking into delicious-looking Rhubarb and Mustard grub, which is always a good sign.

Me and my friend fancied something to snack on before our main meals, so we decided to share a starter. The waiter took our order and then immediately returned with some complimentary homemade breads and dips, which were delicious and vanished in no time at all. A freebie is always appreciated, especially when it’s this tasty!

bread and dip

When our starter arrived, it became clear that Rhubarb and Mustard is the kind of restaurant that serves small, perfectly formed portions rather than food that’s going to leave you stuffed. The Salt and Pepper Squid (£7) was a lot smaller than I’d been expecting.

rhubarb and mustard squid starter

Despite feeling pretty conspicuous, sat there sharing such a small plate of food, the salt and pepper squid was fantastic. The squid was perfectly cooked, so it was really tender and juicy, and the batter was light, crumbly and had a delicious salt and pepper taste.

The squid was served with a Thai-inspired slaw that had a satisfying crunch, a light and zesty creme fraiche, and a handful of cashew nuts. The whole thing was finished off with a helping of homemade sweet chilli jam that had a serious kick, and worked really well with the cooling creme fraiche.

Sure, for £7 this isn’t a lot of food, but this is definitely a case of quality over quantity, so the salt and pepper squid feels like it’s well worth the £7. I would order this again – I just wouldn’t order it to share, as there’s not nearly enough salt and pepper squid to go around.

Onto the mains, and me and my friend committed the cardinal sin of food blogging and ordered the exact same thing. Not ideal when you’re checking out a restaurant for the first time, but neither of us could resist Rhubarb and Mustard’s incredible-sounding Scallop and Crab Burger (£17).

rhubarb and mustard scallop and crab

Straight away, I’ve got to say that £17 is a lot to pay for a burger, but one bite and I was in a seafood lover’s paradise! The burger patty tastes like pure scallop and crab meat, with no filler, and is possibly one of the strongest and most delicious seafood-based things I’ve ever tasted.

And the big flavours continued as the patty was topped with a salad that’s pretty much all coriander. There was also a sprinkling of coriander on top of the brioche bun, finely-sliced coriander on the chunky chips, and flakes of coriander scattered across the plate, just for good measure. Pretty much every mouthful had coriander lurking in there somewhere, so don’t order this if you’re not a coriander fan!

The crab and scallop patty is served in a tasty brioche bun and comes with two sauces: a vegetable relish that was a bit on the bland side, and a fiery sriracha chilli that I just couldn’t get enough of. This is the kind of chilli sauce that you suspect might be doing your tastebuds some permanent damage.

This scallop and crab burger is all about those big, bold flavours: from the searing chilli sauce, to the seafood burger patty, to the great big handfuls of coriander that seem to be lurking in every bite. This is the kind of burger you’ll either love or hate. I love strong flavours, so this was right up my street, although it wouldn’t hurt Rhubarb and Mustard to cut back on the coriander.

Would I pay another visit to Rhubarb and Mustard? Yes but only for a special treat, as the prices are on the steep side. Rhubarb and Mustard is one of the more expensive eateries on Ecclesall Road, but the higher prices make sense considering their gastro pub-style menu.

If you’re a fan of venues such as the Milestone and the Wig and Pen, then you’ll definitely want to check out Rhubarb and Mustard.

rating-3-star

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The Lescar

November 29, 2014 at 2:06 pm | Posted in Pub Grub | Leave a comment
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Do you find that yourself drawn to certain pubs, when the weather starts to change?

To me, the Lescar on Sharrow Vale road is an autumnal pub. It’s just one of those places that seems to get more cosy and inviting, the colder it gets outside. The Lescar is all about the real ale, comfort food, and Sunday roasts – a winning combination on a cold autumn day!

The other thing I love about the Lescar, is its ‘friendly local pub’ vibe – right down to the books they provide for customers to browse and borrow. It’s hard to believe this place is just a few minutes walk away from busy Ecclesall Road!

The Lescar is one of those places that’s much bigger than it looks from the outside. It also has a very interesting layout, with different areas that almost feel like they were separate rooms at one point. Just when you think you’ve seen everything the Lescar has to offer, you turn a corner and find a massive function room, complete with second bar.

The Lescar’s menu has a very rustic, pub rub grub feel. All the classics are present and accounted for: cottage pie, burgers, fish and chips, sausage and mash, and steak. However, the Lescar put a little twist on these comfort food classics – here, the fish is done in tarragon batter, and the mash is made from celeriac.

In addition to the pub grub mains, the Lescar also offers a variety of sharing platters, plus a good selection of small dishes ‘to start, snack or share.’ I’ve ordered a few things from the ‘start, snack, share’ menu when I’m suffering from the beer munchies, and I’ve always been impressed. I can highly recommend the salt and pepper squid, which the Lescar serves with a tangy and delicious lime mayonnaise (£5.25).

The Lescar also have a Saturday brunch menu, which I’m desperate to try. Again, it’s classic comfort food with a gastro pub twist – the boiled egg soldiers are served with bacon jam, and the Lescar’s version of mushrooms on toast is Paris Brown, Flat and Oyster mushrooms served on rye with stilton cream.

The Lescar have a lot to offer, but on this particular day it was all about the Sunday lunch. This is something I never really cook for myself, so Sunday lunch out always feels like a special treat.

The Lescar offers the usual trio of meats (pork beef, and chicken) plus the obligatory nut roast vegetarian option. I opted for the veggie nut roast (£9.75) which according to the menu is made from cashews, peanuts, almonds, walnuts, cheddar, veggies and herbs.

My nut roast Sunday dinner came with veggies, stuffing, roasties, Yorkshire pud, and gravy. Don’t you just love the sight of a big plateful of Sunday dinner?

lescar sunday lunch

It’s amazing the difference good gravy makes to a Sunday dinner. The Lescar’s gravy had the perfect consistency, not too thick and not too thin, and it was really tasty. If I could make gravy half as good as this, I wouldn’t have to go out for my Sunday lunch!

The vegetables were perfectly cooked, and I loved the combination of leeks, carrots and courgettes. The roast potatoes were crispy and salty on the outside, but light and fluffy on the inside – exactly what you want from a roastie. The Yorkshire pudding was big, misshapen and ugly, the surefire sign of a homemade Yorkshire pud. It also tasted even better for having been sat soaking in that delicious gravy.

The nut roast had a nice, herby taste that reminded me of stuffing, and it was packed with nuts. The portion was also very generous, but it’s a good job because the nut roast had been overcooked to the point where I could only get my knife through the bit in the middle!

Luckily, this was such a big plateful that after eating the middle of my nut roast, plus all the trimmings, I was pleasantly full and still felt like I’d got good value for money.

I’d recommend this Sunday roast to all the veggies out there – although hopefully your nut roast won’t have spent quite so much time in the oven as mine!

At the other end of the table, it was a less traditional Sunday lunch: a West Country beef burger, sesame seed brioche bun, melted Taw valley cheddar and fries (£9.25) with smoked bacon (an extra £1.25).

the lescar burger

This is more of a gourmet burger, as oppose to the weird-combination-of-toppings burger that places like the Harley and Bungalows and Bears specialise in. The brioche bun was tasty, the meat was nicely cooked, and the smoked bacon lived up to its name, packing a really strong, smoky flavour. My Sunday lunch buddy was also impressed by how much bacon he got for £1.25.

It may not be your traditional Sunday lunch, but this burger got a big thumbs up nevertheless!

We left the Lescar pleasantly full, and plotting return visits so we could sample the Saturday brunch menu, plus an afternoon drinking session with added bar snacks. You know a place is doing something right, when you’re planning the next visit on your way home!

The Lescar serve up filling, tasty comfort food in a warm and welcoming environment that’s perfect for this time of year. If you’re craving pub grub, real ale, and relaxed surroundings, then it’s well worth paying the Lescar a visit.

three-and-a-half

Bungalows and Bears

November 2, 2014 at 4:09 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 2 Comments
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If you love burgers (and really, who doesn’t?) then you’re spoilt for choice at the moment, as there’s currently a tonne of Sheffield venues doing some really unusual things with this fast food favourite. Bungalows and Bears on Division Street is one of these places.

At Bungalows and Bears you can grab a classic bacon and cheese burger, or branch out and try burgers filled with everything from peanut butter to Monster Munch crisps!

If that’s not adventurous enough for you, Bungalows and Bears also offer a wide selection of additional toppings, ranging from smoked chipotle jam, to sauerkraut, mac and cheese, houmous, and much more, all a snip at an extra £1. You can even build your own burger by choosing your patty (either beef, char-grilled chicken, or a vegetarian ‘hippy’ patty) and then adding whatever toppings take your fancy.

Bungalows and Bears do other food besides burgers, but the burger section is so massive that I never even get around to looking at the rest of the menu! And this particular day was no different, because it was burgers all around at our table.

One of the things I love about Bungalows and Bears’ burger menu, is how vegetarian friendly it is. Vegetarians can choose from a trio of meat-free burgers, or you can build your own veggie burger by selecting a ‘Hippy’ spinach and lentil patty, and then piling on the toppings.

In the end, I opted for one of Bungalows and Bears’ own creations; a Shroomaloomi burger (£7.45) of flat field mushroom and halloumi.

Shroomaloomi Bungalows and Bears

My first challenge was working out how to tackle this king-size burger! The field mushroom was also very slippery, so whenever I tried to cut my burger, the mushroom slid away from me, taking the rest of the toppings with it. In the end I gave up and got stuck in with my hands. It was messy, but this burger is worth getting messy for.

Whatever halloumi Bungalows and Bears use, it’s the best I’ve ever tasted! Bungalows aren’t stingy with their delicious halloumi either, as my Shroomaloomi was generously filled with thick wedges of the stuff.

This is one incredibly filling burger, but it’s also too good to waste, so I battled through and polished off every last bite of my burger.

All of Bungalows and Bears’ burgers are served with a portion of chunky, skin-on chips, which are my favourite kind of chips. They also put a selection of hot sauces on each table, so I got to splash three kinds of Tabasco onto my skin-on chips, which is pretty much my idea of heaven. I was already completely stuffed from my burger, but the chips were just too good to waste; I couldn’t resist eating them all!

This is one of the best burger and chips combos I’ve had in a long time. In fact, it’s almost as good as the Wick’s mushroom burger, which is my favourite Sheffield burger. My only complaint is that my Shroomaloomi burger arrived lukewarm rather than hot, so it went cold long before I’d finished eating it.

Also arriving at our table was a Ruby Jean’s burger (£8.95) of smoked bacon, emmental and onion rings.

Ruby Jean's

The Ruby Jean’s was every bit as big as my Shroomaloomi. The combination of smoked bacon, emmental and onion rings worked really well, and the onion rings themselves were nice and crispy, without being greasy.

The only complaint was that the burger wasn’t cheesy enough; my friend would have preferred more emmental on his burger, or maybe even a stronger-tasting cheese altogether.

Once again, this is a massive portion of burger, chips, and hot sauce that was just too good to waste. They followed my example and stuffed themselves silly, rather than leaving any food on their plate.

The third burger to arrive at our table wasn’t your typical burger – it was a burger filled with peanut butter and a fried egg (£7.95).

fried egg and peanut butter

If you’ve never had peanut butter with egg on a burger before, trust me it’s not as disgusting as it sounds! Peanut butter and fried egg is one of those strange combinations that actually really works, especially as the runny yolk helps combat the dryness of the peanut butter, to make one very tasty burger.

If you’re open minded about food, then this is something you need to try!

If you think a peanut butter and egg burger is strange, then how about a burger of emmental and pickled onion Monster Munch crisps (£8.45), with a bonus deep-fried pickle on the side (£1)?

Monster Munch Bungs and Bears

The burger sauce had a nice tang to it, and the distinctive taste of pickled onion Monster Munch works really well as a burger filling (who knew?) Bungalows and Bears really do have a knack for these quirky combinations!

My friend also loved the deep-fried pickle they’d ordered on the side, as they could still taste that distinctive, sour tang of pickle through the batter.

If you order a burger at Bungalows and Bears, you can be certain of two things: you’re going to get very full, and very messy. These burgers aren’t for the faint hearted!

You can’t knock Bungalows and Bears for the choice they provide, particularly as this choice includes so many weird and wonderful combinations. Even if you’re a vegetarian, you’ll be spoilt for choice by their burger menu, which is a very rare thing!

The negatives? Personally, I’m not a fan of the way Bungalows and Bears serve their burgers in plastic baskets. I find this makes food more difficult to eat, especially when the food in question is a precariously-stacked burger. The drinks at Bungalows are also on the expensive side, so if you’re counting the pennies you may want to order a soft drink with your burger. However, when it comes to the actual food, I can’t fault them!

Finally, if you love a bargain then be sure to visit Bungalows and Bears on a Tuesday, when they do a 2-4-1 deal on all burgers. Considering how big and filling these burgers are, this is fantastic value for money.

four-stars

The Harley

May 13, 2014 at 8:08 pm | Posted in Pub Grub | 2 Comments
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Sheffield burger fans are spoilt for choice at the moment, with The Wick at Both Ends, Bungalows and Bears, and the Mud Crab all serving up top-notch burgers. Between them, this trio offers everything from gourmet burgers, to greasy-but-great, American style burgers, and even a “build your own” experience, where you can concoct some truly freakish (but still tasty) creations. But, if you like your burgers super-sized, calorie-packed, and stuffed with so-wrong-yet-so-right toppings, then the the Harley on Glossop Road is the place to go. Where else can you get a burger with mac and cheese as a filling?

When they’re not serving up big, fat burgers, the Harley specialises in loud bands, and late Friday and Saturday nights. It’s no surprise then, that the venue looks a bit rough around the edges in the daylight, but don’t let this put you off.

When we visited on a Saturday lunchtime, there was just enough people to create an atmosphere, without it being tricky to find a decent seat. In fact, we managed to snag one of the Harley’s big, antique-style sofas, and settled down to get better acquainted with the menu.

When it comes to food, the Harley specialise in two things: burgers and breakfast. We may have missed the breakfast sitting, but I still couldn’t resist taking a peek at the morning menu. In addition to the usual full English, the Harley serve up an epic-sounding McBuffting; a bacon or mushroom patty, combined with American cheese, a fried egg, and “techno” burger sauce. The McBuffting sounds like the kind of breakfast that’s guaranteed to annihilate even the most crippling of hangovers!

When it comes to burgers, you can “build your own,” thanks to the Harley’s vast selection of additional toppings, which cover everything from bacon, to deep-fried jalapenos, to chorizo and apple jam. If you’re not feeling particularly creative, you can pick one of the Harley’s own concoctions from the main menu. All of these burgers are crammed with so many added extras, they actually sound a bit scary on paper: case in point, the “Return of the Mac,” which boasts two bacon patties, homemade pesto, Harley house relish, and mac and cheese.

With so much to choose from, I’m a bit ashamed to admit that I built my own, rather boring burger: a Double Mushroom Burger (£5.50) with a Montery Jack cheese topping (an extra 85p). However, in my defence I did also order a portion of Jalapeno Business Fries (£4.75) to go with my mushroom-and-cheese burger.

I love mushroom burgers, but when I bit into the Harley’s big, tasty-looking burger, the mushroom patty wasn’t what I’d been expecting. It had an unusual, fine texture that reminded me more of ground-up beef, than your typical chunky veggie burger. The patty had a nice, smoky flavour and was very filling, but the crumbly texture of the patty wasn’t really to my taste.

Harley mushroom burger

Thankfully, things improved the second I caught sight of my order of Jalapeno Business Fries.

Harley Business Fries

The biggest compliment I can give these fries, is that they taste even better than they look (yep, such a thing is possible).

The Harley’s Jalapeno Business Fries are a truly super-sized portion of spicy fries, smothered in a delicious trio of guacamole, sour cream, and Harley House Relish. Just in case lashings of Cajun seasoning, crispy-skinned fries, and three kinds of sauce leave you thinking hmmm, but something’s still missing, the Harley throw some hot, gooey cheese into the mix, and top the whole thing off with a grilled jalapeno.

Guacamole is one of my least favourite sauces, but I actually enjoyed the Harley’s guacamole, as it was fresh and tasty, and didn’t have that slimy texture that guacamole sometimes has. However, the Harley’s relish was my favourite of the three sauces, as it had a creamy texture and a lingering spicy, smoky aftertaste. The Harley need to add this relish to their list of optional extra burger toppings, and pronto! It’s one of those sauces that, once tasted, you want to add to everything.

The Business Fries were finished off with a whole chilli, which had been grilled so the flesh was squishy and sweet. Not merely an eye-catching garnish, this chilli is mild and tasty enough to eat whole, which I gladly did (hey, you’ve gotta get your 5 a day, right?)

A portion of Business Fries is big enough to be a meal in itself, or it’d make a fantastic side order to share between two very hungry people. Either way, this is definitely something I’d order again.

At the other end of the table, my dining companion tucked into a Pig Daddy Kane, which is a burger of two beef patties, plus pulled pork, cheese, Kraken BBQ sauce, and chorizo and apple jam (£7.95).

Harley Pig Daddy Kane

They particularly enjoyed the pulled pork, which was flakey and moist, as well as the sticky, chorizo and apple jam, and the yummy Kraken BBQ sauce. The Harley’s menu includes a side order of Pig Pimpin’ Fries, which comes with pulled pork-smoked cheese sauce, as well as more of that Kraken BBQ sauce, so I think these fries may be on the cards, the next time we visit the Harley.

The Harley is a no-nonsense kind of venue, where the menu encourages you to take your average, run-of-the-mill burger, and then add some pulled pork, a couple of different kinds of cheese, four kinds of sauce, pulled pork, deep-fried jalapenos, and whatever else takes your fancy. Fine dining it ain’t, but sometimes you have a craving for a big, fat burger, with lots of added extras.

The Harley is one of the more unusual burger menus you’ll find in Sheffield and, luckily for me, they offer another veggie option: the Falafel burger. I’m looking forward to visiting again and trying some more of their menu – with a portion of Business Fries on the side, of course!

rating-3-star

The Wick at Both Ends

April 17, 2014 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 6 Comments
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Let me start by saying that I’d no intention of writing about the Wick at Both Ends again (or at least not until their next menu change) but sometimes, a meal is just so good, you can’t resist raving about it. So, following a too-good-not-to-shout-about meal at the Wick with some friends this week, I’m spreading some more Wick at Both Ends love.

After branching out and trying something new on my previous visit, this time I couldn’t resist ordering my old favourite, the Wick’s mushroom burger (£7.95). I wasn’t alone, as two of my friends couldn’t resist the burger menu either, and opted for a pair of beef burgers (£7.95 each).

Whether you’re a beef or a mushroom fan, burger lovers can mix things up with a range of additional toppings, all priced at an extra 95p each. All of the Wick’s burgers come with homemade relish and some seriously chunky chips.

First to arrive at our table, was a double act of beef burgers.

Wick beef burger with bacon

My first burger-loving friend opted for an extra topping of two rashers of bacon (a snip at 95p) and creamy farmhouse brie (again, 95p more). These fillings were so good, they deserve their own close up.

Wick at Both Ends burger

As already mentioned, all the Wick’s burgers come with chips and homemade relish. The chips are chunky enough to be wedges, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside, and served in a cute little bucket, while the relish is wonderfully rustic, with that strong tang of fresh tomato, and a spicy kick. Exactly what you want when you’re tucking into a burger!

My second burger-buddy opted for a Y-Fenni Mustard Ale cheese topping (yep, you guessed it, an extra 95p). This cheese had a fiery mustard flavour, although apparently they struggled to taste the ale, which was a bit disappointing.

Wick beef burger

Finally, my mushroom burger arrived – and I can confirm that it’s still pretty much my favourite burger ever. Sometimes, when a restaurant offers a veggie burger, they simply swap the meat patty and fillings for a veggie-friendly patty, but the Wick is one of the few establishments that treats the much-maligned veggie burger as a meal in its own right, rather than just an “alternative” for those who don’t eat meat.

The Wick’s veggie burger takes the form of a whole field mushroom smothered in crunchy celeriac and cabbage slaw. This is the sort of creamy, rustic slaw that’ll have you swearing off shop-bought condiments and Googling “homemade coleslaw recipe” – probably before you’ve even finished your burger! The Wick aren’t stingy with the slaw either, so keeping it inside the burger is bit of a challenge, but it’s well worth the trouble.

Basically, I love everything about this burger.

Wick mushroom burger

But, this Wick trip wasn’t just about pigging out on gourmet burgers and chips, as the final meal arriving at our table was a very intriguing-looking roast cauliflower and broccoli dish, served with a quinoa, radish, almond and new potato salad (£7.95).

Roast cauliflower, broccoli and quinoa salad

The cauliflower did have some burnt edges, but thanks to that deliciously nutty, slow-roasted flavour, this didn’t matter – apparently even the blackened bits were tasty! Who knew the humble cauliflower could taste so good?

Not content with taking one everyday vegetable to the next level, this salad also does something special with shooting broccoli. The shoots were tender, juicy and perfectly cooked, so my friend couldn’t decide which she enjoyed the most: the broccoli or the cauliflower (and how often do you hear someone debating that?)

The quinoa was fluffy, the almonds were toasted and tasty, and the new potatoes brought some satisfying starch and carbs to the meal. These rather random-sounding foodstuffs turned out to be the perfect combination of textures and flavours.

The whole thing was finished off with a dollop of cauliflower puree. Like the roasted cauliflower and broccoli, this vegetable puree is far nicer than it sounds, and is further proof that you can do wonderful things with even the most boring, everyday veggies. The only complaint was that the portion of puree was too small. More, please!

If you fancy a change, this unusual salad is definitely worth a spin. I’d enjoyed my goat’s cheese and beetroot salad during my previous visit, but this looked far more substantial. I’ll definitely be trying this cauliflower, broccoli, and quinoa salad for myself in the future!

The Wick at Both Ends never fails to impress. If you haven’t been yet, then to put it simply: you’re missing out on a great venue, great cocktails, and some truly first class food!

4 and a half

Henry’s

March 31, 2014 at 4:16 pm | Posted in Pub Grub | 2 Comments
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Sheffield burger lovers are spoilt for choice at the moment, with no shortage of places serving up big, American-style burgers (the Harley, and Bungalows and Bears spring immediately to mind). But where should you go if you’ve got a hankering for a more gourmet take on this fast food staple?

A few people had recommended I try Henry’s, on the corner of Cambridge Street, but to be honest it’s never really struck me as a great spot for a relaxing bite to eat. This probably has something to do with the fact that I usually wander past Henry’s on Friday and Saturday nights, when it’s always rammed with people. But, it’s unfair to judge a city center eatery based on what it’s like on Friday and Saturday nights – just look at the Wick at Both Ends, which is standing room only during these peak times, but also happens to be one of the best lunch spots in Sheffield. With that in mind, it only seemed fair to reserve judgment and visit Henry’s for a midweek lunch.

Henry’s has a fondness for wall-to-ceiling windows, which means the venue feels very light and airy. There’s also no shortage of places to sit, so no matter how busy this place gets during the daytime, I can’t imagine struggling to find a table. Some of the seating is a bit random, with a couple of uncomfortable-looking wooden pews and back-less stools, and some of the tables are positioned a little too close to the bar, or tucked away in strange nooks and crannies, but there’s so much seating to choose from, that this isn’t a major issue.

Henry’s menu is larger than what you’d normally expect from a pub. In addition to burgers, you can choose from a range of gourmet sandwiches, paninis, and salads, plus pub classics such as pie, sausages, fish and chips, and ham and eggs. If you’re visiting Henry’s with young ones, they have their own special menu (Little Henry’s), and if you’re visiting on a Sunday, you can enjoy a roast of beef, pork, lamb, gammon, or turkey. You can’t fault Henry’s when it comes to choice! But by far the best thing about Henry’s, is that all of their meat is sourced from local farms within a 26 mile radius of the pub itself.

Despite offering so much choice and focusing on local produce, the food is very reasonably priced. Even if you opt for a meat heavy dish such as a Sunday roast, you’ll only pay one or two pounds more than you would in your typical chain restaurant serving up meat from God-knows-where. I call that good value for money!

The size of Henry’s menu meant that even though I was dining with my mother (early Mother’s day treat, and all that), who is one of the pickiest eaters I’ve ever met, there was several things on the menu that she fancied trying – I honestly can’t remember the last time this happened!

After weighing up whether to go for the Portobello burger (£6.45), or the Portobello & Cheese burger (£7.45), I gave in to greed and opted for the version that came with the goat’s cheese, while my mother settled on the Big Cheese burger (£6.95).

We placed our orders at the bar, where we also treated ourselves to a couple of glasses of wine. Henry’s food prices may not be far removed from what you’d expect to pay in a chain pub, but the wine is slightly more expensive. Expect to pay upwards of a fiver for a glass of wine, and over £15 for a bottle. These are restaurant prices, rather than pub prices, and although my £5.45 bought me a very nice glass of Pinot Grigio, you might want to stick to soft drinks if you’re counting the pennies.

Our food order was taken by a very friendly member of staff, who promised that if we polished off our burgers, we wouldn’t be hungry until 7 o’clock that evening. He then asked us if we wanted to add an extra portion of onion rings to our order – because then we wouldn’t be hungry until 7 o’clock tomorrow evening! It’s always nice when the bar staff take the time to have some banter with the customers.

With glasses of wine in hand, we returned to our table to await our burgers. Despite it being 2 o’clock on a Tuesday afternoon, and despite there being only a couple of occupied tables, we waited a long time for our food to arrive. We didn’t have anywhere to rush off to (luckily), but it was still irritating to have to wait so long for food, in a pub that’s so quiet.

Eventually, our burgers did arrive. Serving burgers on big, heavy slates seems to be the done thing at the moment, and Henry’s is yet another Sheffield eatery that subscribes to this trend. Both of our burgers arrived deconstructed, with shredded gherkins on one half of the sourdough bun, and the rest of the fillings on the other half. In retrospect, this was probably a precaution to make sure our burgers didn’t fall over on their way to the table – because once we’d put our burgers together, they were pretty big!

FinderScreenSnapz001

Both burgers came with a grand total of four chips. Normally this would be crazy behaviour, but Henry’s chips are so chunky, you don’t feel hard done by at all – it’s like someone had quartered a jacket potato! The skins could have been crisper, but the chips were still nice and fluffy on the inside, and had been seasoned with lots of black pepper, so they had a spiciness to them.

Two super-sized, beer-battered onion rings also accompanied each burger. Henry’s boozy batter was light and not too greasy, and the onion inside hadn’t been overcooked, so it still had some of that raw onion sting.

When the barman warned us about the size of the burgers, he wasn’t kidding. Once I’d reconstructed my deconstructed burger, I was a bit flummoxed about how best to tackle this stack of whole grilled field mushroom, roasted peppers, red onion, courgette and goat’s cheese. It was definitely a beast!

The veggies had that distinctive roasted flavour, particularly the pepper, which was nicely balanced against the freshness of the raw tomato, and the sharpness of the shredded gherkins. A great combination of flavours.

Henry’s mushroom and goat’s cheese burger isn’t your typical fast food. Alternating between bites of the burger’s layered veggies and cheese, thickset chips and monster onion rings, took me quite a while. My only issue with the burger, was that the veggies were slippery from being roasted, and kept sliding away from me whenever I tried to take a bite! But, looking a bit silly is a small price to pay for such a great burger.

This is the perfect burger to savour over a long, lazy lunch, and I can even imagine filling up on it at dinner time, too – it’s definitely big enough!

Henry’s up-market take on the cheeseburger came with the same stonking great chips and onion rings, alongside relish and shredded gherkins, but instead of veggies, the sourdough bread was packed with beef and melted cheddar. The beef was a quality slab of locally-sourced meat, although there was surprisingly little cheese, especially for something that’s called a Big Cheese burger. Still, this is another beast of a burger that’ll satisfy even the most serious of hunger pangs.

Henry's beef burger

If you’re after gasto-pub grub in the city center, I can heartily recommend Henry’s. The city center venue serves up greedy-guts portions of posh pub grub, and their commitment to sourcing their meat locally is admirable.

The negatives? We were waiting far too long for our food, especially considering the place was so quiet, which would make me hesitant to visit Henry’s during my lunch break. The drinks are also expensive compared to other city center venues. But, really, neither of these are deal breakers, and when it comes to Henry’s, the positives far outweigh the negatives.

I’ll definitely be visiting Henry’s again, and can’t wait to try a few other things on their massive menu!

rating-3-star

Bungalows and Bears

November 24, 2012 at 4:54 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 2 Comments
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I’ve frequented Bungalows and Bears on Division Street for drinks a number of times, and have always enjoyed the atmosphere. It’s an aircraft-hanger of a venue, but some clear effort has been put into creating that cosy, intimate feel. The tables are arranged so there’s plenty of private little nooks if you’re looking for a quiet meal out, not to mention big, comfy three-seaters for when you really want to relax. This, combined with Bungalows and Bears’ penchant for keeping the house lights turned down, creates a far more relaxing, laidback atmosphere than you’d expect from such a large, city centre venue (although, it goes without saying that this doesn’t apply on Friday and Saturday nights!)

The atmosphere and decor have always been a big hit, but I’ve never actually eaten at Bungalows and Bears. So, when I spotted that they’d had launched a 2-for-1 deal on gourmet burgers every Tuesday evening, it was all the motivation I needed: it was straight from the office to 50 Division Street, with double-cooked chips and burgers in mind.

Bungalows and Bears’ burger menu puts other pedallers of gourmet burgers to shame. It’s split into three sections – beef, chicken and vegetarian. While the chicken section is restricted to just two burgers, beef-lovers can top their meat with everything from chorizo and grilled halloumi, to smoked bacon, goat’s cheese, and avocado. With three (!) equally impressive veggie options on offer, I had a tough call to make. After much soul searching, I decided to save the Shroomaloomi burger (flat mushrooms and grilled halloumi) for another day, and went all out on the Hippy Deluxe (£8.55) which came topped with field mushrooms and emmental. At the other end of the table, it was a similiar no-holds-barred burger-fest of beef topped with avocado, blue cheese and bacon.

At nearly £9 per burger, Bungalows and Bears isn’t cheap, especially if you like a tipple with your food. However, building on our 2-for-1 savviness, we ordered a bottle of reasonably-priced Chardonnay (£9.95) that lasted the entire meal. The wine arrived extravagantly presented, in an enormous bucket packed with ice, alongside our cutlery and a wire wrack containing an impressive array of sauces. I’m a bit of a chilli head, so I was excited to spy three hot sauces mixed in with the usual mayo, mustard and ketchup: standard Tobasco, a green jalapeno sauce and a chipotle version.

So far, so good, but when our just-shy-of-nine-quid burgers rolled up, my confidence was shaken. They were served in plastic baskets and, even at a glance, I could tell both burgers were super-greasy. Confidence was restored when I took my first bite – sure, the burger didn’t look as appetizing as I’d expected, and okay, it was one of the messiest, greasiest burgers I’ve eaten recently, but it tasted fantastic.

The patty itself was a satisfying mix of nicely-cooked lentils and tasty mushrooms, topped with tangy cheese. Experimenting with some of the hot sauces sealed the deal. If you order a veggie burger at Bungalows and Bears, be sure to slather it in Tabasco!

The burger came with a very generous portion of double-cooked chips, a few of which had scraps of crispy skin still on. Personally, I prefer my chips a bit chunkier, but they were delicious nonetheless.

At the other end of the table, the beef burger was similarly messy (this certainly isn’t first date food!) but again it delivered where it matters: the taste. Despite being a little dubious to begin with, it turns out that a thick wedge of melt-in-the-mouth avocado, salty bacon and super-strong cheese is a match made in heaven.

Again, the burger came with a mountain of double-cooked chips. Combined with the thick meat patty, filling avocado and lashings of blue cheese, this belly-buster was impossible to finish. Defeated and stuffed, we both left half of our chips.

Despite a few niggles, Bungalows and Bears’ burgers are delicious, and there’s enough variation to make return trips a necessity. However, considering the price of one burger (most clock in at around £8) I will definitely be returning – but only on 2-for-1 Tuesdays. This too-good-to-be-true offer turns a rather pricey burger into an absolute steal.

So, visit on a Tuesday, save a few quid on the burgers, splash out on a bottle of Bungalows and Bears’ wine instead, and make an evening of it – because this is the sort of venue where you’ll want to take your time.

Porter Brook

September 29, 2012 at 8:26 am | Posted in Pub Grub | Leave a comment
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It seems the great British summertime has been and gone without anyone noticing it had arrived in the first place, and we’re already in the depths of winter if the constant rain, plummeting temperatures and dark mornings are anything to go by. But cheer up – now you’ve got an excuse to spend all afternoon holed up in a nice, cosy pub, whiling away the hours with a bottle of wine, stodgy comfort food and some creamy after-dinner tipples (ahhh, Baileys, how I’ve missed you!)

In search of the aforementioned comfort food and calorie-packed booze, we found ourselves in the Porter Brook at the top of Ecclesall Road earlier this week.

The Porter Brook’s exterior has an olde-worlde charm, and the interior has that cosy ‘local boozer’ feel you’ll be craving for the next few months. The atmosphere isn’t a million miles removed from the Nursery Tav at the other end of Ecclesall Road, although the Porter Brook does seem to attract less of a student crowd. Despite the lack of freshers, the Porter Brook was doing a brisk trade when we visited, so much so that even on a wet Wednesday afternoon we had to poke around a bit before we found an empty table.

Once seated, we launched into the drinks menu. Bargain hunters beware, the Porter Brook may share the Nursery Tavern’s welcoming atmosphere, but the drinks are noticeably more expensive. After a quick bit of maths, we realised there wasn’t much difference between a round of beers and spirits, and a bottle of wine, which seemed like a good excuse to order a full bottle (£8.95) and make an afternoon of it.

The Porter Brook’s menu covers all the usual pub staples; there’s burgers, jacket potatoes, fish and chips, and all day breakfasts, all at a reasonable price. However, something more unusual caught my eye – a vegetable tagine served with couscous, at a penny-pinching £3.99. I decided to take a gamble and ordered the Porter Brook’s tagine. Convinced that no £3.99 meal could fill me, I added a side order of sweet potato fries (£1.89.)

I needn’t have bothered with the side order. The vegetable tagine arrived promptly (in under ten minutes) and, it turns out that at the Porter Brook a £3.99 meal can fill you up.

The tagine sauce had a rich, satisfying heat that warmed the pit of my stomach without burning my tongue, making it suitable even for non-heatseekers. Although there was more sauce than veggies, there was a good range of vegetables – onion, sweet potato, chickpeas and courgettes. Soaked in the warming tagine sauce, the chickpeas in particular were delicious.

There were also chickpeas in the couscous, which made my bargain meal even more filling. Couscous is a very easy thing to overcook, but the Porter Brook got it just right and cooked my portion through, without turning it into slop. There were a few lumps of couscous that could have been broken up with a fork before being brought to the table, but when you’re getting a big plate of comfort food for £3.99, having to fluff your own couscous is no big deal. The vegetable tagine left me warm, stuffed and satisfied. The perfect winter warmer, and I can’t wait to have it again!

Although I was full from my main meal, it would have been a shame to waste my side order and so I soldiered valiantly on. At £1.89 the Porter Brook once again get top marks when it comes to providing value for money.

Warm, soft and sweet on the inside, these fries are the perfect addition to a winter warmer feast. They disappeared in no time.

Also arriving at our table was some more traditional pub grub: a Mexican burger topped with pepper cheese sauce and jalapenos. Served with coleslaw, fat chips and two dips for 6.99, the Porter Brook again proved themselves a generous establishment.

The burger was nice and juicy, and the combination of pepper cheese sauce and jalapenos ensured this meal delivered the same satisfying warmth as my tagine. Our reviewer raved about the chunky coleslaw, but the jalapeno dip had a vinegary aftertaste, like it had been made from pickled jalapenos. The runny consistency and murky green colour is also enough to put fussy eaters off. After dunking a few chips into the sauce to try and decipher what the sour aftertaste could be, we gave up and the dip went unfinished.

The Porter Brook is a cosy venue with a welcoming ‘local boozer’ feel that’s often missing from the bustling Eccy Road. It clearly draws quite a crowd and it’s easy to see why, the food is value for money and good quality pub grub (just what you need, in this grim weather.) The drinks are on the pricey side, so it’s worth scouring the menu for deals or sharing a bottle of wine between a table. Sinking a couple of vodkas or pints with your meal will seriously push up the bill – you have been warned!

Highly recommended if you’re after a plateful of good old fashioned comfort food to combat the chill.

The Harley

June 24, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Posted in Pub Grub | 1 Comment
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Sometimes, nothing quite hits the spot like a Beer and a Burger, but the aforementioned Beer and a Burger deals aren’t always such a bargain if you’re not a fan of, well, beer. This leads us neatly onto The Harley, which serves up ‘High Tea, Harley Style’ – a pocket-friendly deal of a burger and your choice of drink for £5.50. What makes this really special is that, in addition to the usual beer, house spirit and soft drink options, cider fans can opt for a pint of Gaymers. A pint of Gaymers is typically priced between £3 and £4, so at £5.50 for a beer plus bevvie, we weren’t going to miss this one, especially since I’m not much of a beer drinker (and Vodka-And-Diet-Coke and a Burger, doesn’t feel quite right….)

With burgers and bevvies on the brain, we headed to The Harley. Located on Glossop Road, this student-friendly place is well known as a music venue, but this weekday evening the stage was covered up and a handful of tables were dotted around the dancefloor. First impressions weren’t fantastic – there’s a grand total of three tables, plus a couple of sofas tucked away in the corners. The lack of seating won’t be a problem at the weekend or when a band is playing, but on this quiet weekday evening the place felt bare, and sat on an island of a table in the middle of the dancefloor was an odd experience. It’s a shame, as the place has funky decor that isn’t far removed from the cosy and welcoming The Wick at Both Ends. Unusual lighting, graffiti art on the walls and tablecloths printed with scenes from comic strips, all give the place a trendy vibe, but without crowds of people around the bar or the stage, it feels really empty.

The quirky menu also takes a leaf out of the Wick’s book – burger fans can order a ‘Moist Maker’ (“Sunday roast in a burger”) the ‘Ring Stinger’ (“the hottest burger in town”) or a deep fried burger (apparently, “you know you shouldn’t, but you just can’t help yourself.”) Even the menu layout is similar to the Wick’s.

As tempting as the burger menu was, we decided to plump for the budget option and ordered a no-frills beef burger with a pint of Becks (£5.50) and for me a bean burger with a pint of – what else? – Gaymers (also £5.50.) The burgers took longer than expected to arrive, but with our drinks already lined up we were only too happy to wait. When the waitress finally brought our burgers over, first impressions were good. Each burger came with a plastic tub full of french fries, which was an unexpected bonus, and were oozing with salsa and salad.

Too often, veggie alternatives feel like an afterthought, so I was delighted to see that my bean burger was almost twice the size of its meaty counterpart (ha!) As I tucked in, I quickly discovered this wasn’t just a bean burger – it was a seriously spicy bean burger. The delicious, kidney-bean packed burger already packed quite a punch, but the chef had also thrown lashings of fiery salsa into the mix, a double whammy that left my tongue flaming. Beware, this burger is not for the faint hearted, but I have a soft spot for spicy food and wolfed down every morsel. Highly recommended, for those who can take the heat!

The meat equivalent was equally filling, it came without salsa but still had a pleasantly peppery kick, although our reviewer found a few lettuce leaves in the bun that were turning brown at the edges – not very appealing!

The french fries, although a welcome surprise, were the standard fare you could defrost and cook for yourself at home. We also agreed they were too salty, and our cynical brains decided this was a ploy to get you heading back to the bar.

As a venue, saying The Harley is rough around the edges is a massive understatement. The toilets would give the Corporation’s a run for their money – good luck finding a stall with a working lock! Despite the quirky, Wick-style touches, there’s an emptiness to The Harley during the day that makes for a strange atmosphere. The Harley may be crying out for a spruce up but their beer and a burger deal puts the big chains like Wetherspoons to shame. After pursuing their mouth-watering, one-of-a-kind burger menu, we’ll definitely be popping in for more burgers soon (maybe the Moist Maker, next time?)

A budget venue – but, if you don’t mind the grotty toilets, then this is a real find for burger lovers.

The Milestone

June 9, 2012 at 6:28 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 1 Comment
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Despite only ever hearing good things about gastro pub The Milestone, it turns out no-one at Sheffield Eats has actually gotten around to trying it for themselves. Tucked away in a particularly industrial corner of Kelham Island, it’s not a place you’re likely to wander past and decide to pop in. Because it’s off-the-beaten track, you have to make a conscious decision to visit. With so many fantastic eateries lined up in the town centre, is it really worth making a special trip to The Milestone? Judging by the meal we had there this weekend, the answer is a resounding yes.

Located just off Shalesmoor roundabout, The Milestone is perched on the corner of a nondescript road, surrounded by a mish-mash of factories with bricked-up windows and swanky new apartments.

We were advised to book a table for The Milestone’s Saturday lunchtime menu, and it’s a good job we heeded that advice, as by 2PM the place was full. Clearly, there’s no shortage of foodies willing to make a special trip for their lunch.

The Milestone’s decor is a blend of clean, white open space and rustic charm, with plenty of homely prints on the walls and quirky flourishes, such as The Milestone’s twisty staircase and menus printed on fish-and-chip shop brown paper. It’s a pleasant atmosphere that’s completely unpretentious, despite the extravagant menu.

Obviously, the menu isn’t going to be to everyone’s taste. It’s not a million miles removed from haute cuisine, with each dish offering an intricate and thoughtful balance of flavours. It’s the sort of menu where unusual purees, jus and dressings feature heavily. The fish comes with samphire and cauliflower puree, and the 21-day aged beef is served one way: rare.

Excited to discover what had drawn so many people to The Milestone for lunch, I quickly ordered the goat’s cheese and beetroot croquette, which came with fresh garden peas, pea puree, asparagus and a poached egg (£12.95). It arrived at the table meticulously presented but, cynical and hungry, I was dubious whether this daintily-arranged platter could fill up my rumbling tum.

How wrong I was! The croquettes were stuffed with smooth goat’s cheese and the pea puree was unexpectedly creamy. A few bites in and I went from eyeing up the dessert menu, to wondering whether I’d be able to clean my plate.

Although I knew the goat’s cheese croquettes were made with beetroot, I was still surprised when I cut into the first one and was confronted by a bright pink filling. The colour might be off-putting to some, but I was left wondering why I’d never stumbled across this combination before; the beetroot gave the heavy cheese a real zing.

Asparagus can be a tricky vegetable to get right, but The Milestone got it spot-on; it was cooked through without being soggy. Even the salad leaves dotted around the plate had been carefully selected to compliment the rest of the meal; they were delicious mixed up with a forkful of pea puree and runny egg yolk.

An ingenious and expertly put-together plate of flavours and textures, presented with the utmost care. Despite the expert attention to detail, the goat’s cheese and beetroot croquette was still a real gut-buster that left me too stuffed for pudding, and grateful that I hadn’t ordered a starter.

We also ordered The Milestone’s take on the humble burger: an open beef and thyme burger served with horseradish crème fraîche, onion chutney, bread, celeriac coleslaw, rough cut chips and a side salad (£9.50). In contrast to my delicate-looking veggie option, this very upmarket-sounding burger turned out to be an impressive pile of grub.

The beef and thyme meat patty tasted like no burger our reviewer had been served before. A slab of high-quality, perfectly cooked meat, they raved that it was the best burger they’d ever crossed paths with.

The crème fraîche, onion chutney and tangy celeriac coleslaw were inspired accompaniments to this fine hunk of meat. The skin-on chips were served already seasoned with cracked sea salt and vinegar, and as someone with a fondness for skin-on chips, our reviewer was left vowing they’d never eat a french fry again. Crispy and rustic on the outside, and as fluffy as a freshly-baked jacket potato on the inside, The Milestone take the humble chip to the next level.

Unsurprisingly, wine buffs are well catered for at The Milestone. A whole section of the wine list is dedicated to ‘Fine Wines,’ which range from £31.50 to a bank-breaking £100. If you’re not a big-time wine connoisseur, there are cheaper options. We opted for a bottle of sauvignon blanc at £18.50, which went down a treat.

For those who are open-minded about food and who are excited, rather than overwhelmed by a riot of flavours squeezed onto a single plate, The Milestone is for you. Although this isn’t the sort of place you frequent on a regular basis, a meal here is an experience. A trip to The Milestone feels like a special occasion, right down to the off-the-beaten track location.

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