Tags: casino, ecclesall road, napoleons, seafood, sheffield, sheffield eats
One of the really fun things about running a food blog, is that it gives you that little extra push to try new places, rather than always falling back on “the usual.”
And that’s exactly what happened a few weeks ago, when the very nice people at Napoleons on Ecclesall Road got in touch and asked whether I’d like to attend a bloggers evening. Food, cocktails, and even a few (what turned out to be disastrous) spins on the roulette wheel. How could I say no to that?
Napoleons just isn’t somewhere I automatically think of when I’m in the mood to treat myself to some great food, and I know I’m not alone in this. Spoiler alert: the food was so good that I couldn’t resist showing the photos to a few friends, and they were all suddenly eager to pay Napoleons a visit, even though they’d never even considered eating at a casino before.
Napoleons’ menus always feature lots of unusual, “gastro pub” style ingredients, plus plenty of fish and seafood, which pretty much makes it the perfect menu in my eyes! Right off the bat, I was seriously struggling to decide what to order for my first course. Should I go for the garlic-scented potato soup, the Tandoori-spiced salmon, or the goat’s cheese curd on toast? Everything just sounded so good!
Ultimately, my love for anything goats cheese-related won through, and I opted for the goat’s cheese curd on toast, which came with roasted pine nuts and blackberries.
Blackberries and goat’s cheese curd isn’t a combo I’ve encountered before, but it turned out to be a winner! I also loved the contrast between the light and fluffy, almost whipped, goat’s cheese curd and the crunchiness of the toasted pine nuts.
This starter is on the lighter side, but Napoleons still manage to pack in those different flavours and textures, making this the perfect way to start a 3 course meal.
My dining companion was feeling adventurous, so they ordered the roast pigeon. The pigeon came with cherry puree and mustard jus, plus a warning that the pigeon may contain shot! It’s not every day that your food comes with that kind of disclaimer.
This was my friend’s first time eating pigeon, and the first time I’d seen a pigeon that wasn’t covered in feathers and sat on my windowsill cooing at 5am. Turns out pigeon meat is a lot darker than either of us had been expecting! It also had an unusual texture that’s apparently not too dissimilar to liver, as well as a seriously strong, gamey flavour.
The cherry jus (complete with bonus cherry) was every bit as sweet and sticky as it sounded, and complimented the rich gaminess of the pigeon perfectly.
And just in case you were wondering, nope, we didn’t find any shot in the pigeon.
As I tucked into my starter, I sipped my way through a few of Napoleons’ cocktails: a light, fruity and dangerously easy-drinking Cosmopolitan (£6.95) and a seriously strong Old Fashioned (£6.95).
Onto the mains, and once again I was completely spoilt for choice – why isn’t it socially acceptable to order multiple main courses? Right up until the very last minute I was flipping back and forth between ordering the salmon, or the Cauliflower Four Ways (who knew you could do so much with the humble cauliflower?)
In the end, I settled on the seared escalope of salmon, which was served with celeriac mash, tenderstem broccoli and mussel jus.
I hadn’t expected the jus to contain any actual mussels, so I was happy to spot quite a few whole mussels on my plate – surprise seafood is always a good thing! Speaking of seafood, the portion of salmon was on the generous side, and was perfectly cooked so it flaked apart as soon as I cut into it.
But the best part of the meal was the celeriac mash. This delicious veggie mash delivered that warm, glowy feeling you only get from pure comfort food, but with a very distinctive and unique taste, which I loved. I’d even go as far as to say I enjoyed this more than traditional mash potato (and this is coming from someone who could happily polish off a mountain of mash potato!)
My friend had also opted for some good old fashioned comfort food, in the form of roast lamb, which came with grilled baby gem lettuce, peas, peppers and anchovy fritters.
Let’s get the obvious out of the way first: the lamb looked incredible! Apparently, it tasted every bit as good as it looked.
If I was being super critical, I’d say that based on the menu I’d been expecting more than a single anchovy fritter (after all, the menu did promise fritters) but the single fritter was very tasty, especially the light, tempura-style batter.
Since everything so far had been pretty much perfect, I decided to take a risk with my pudding, which is how I ended up with Napoleons’ salted caramel crème brûlée.
Salted caramel is up there with my favourite things ever, but crème brûlée? Not so much. I’ve tried crème brûlée a grand total of once, and I swear if I try hard enough I can still recall that horrible, gloopy texture and burnt caramel taste in excruciating detail.
But every dessert deserves a second chance, right? Especially when there’s salted caramel involved. So I decided to give this whole crème brûlée malarky another shot.
This turned out to be approximately one million times better than my first, disastrous foray into the world of crème brûlée, and Napoleons got that tricky balance of sweet and salty just right – although I’m still not completely convinced that crème brûlée is the dessert for me!
My friend went down the savoury route with their dessert.
Napoleons’ cheeseboard is a selection of mature cheddar, stilton and brie, served with crackers, fruit chutney, celery, grapes and even a slice of fruitcake.
Too often cheeseboards are literally just that: a board with cheese on it. As much as I love cheese, the same flavour is always going to get boring after a while, so it was nice to have lots of different added extras to shake things up a bit. The slice of light, moist fruitcake went down particularly well!
And so concluded our Napoleons experience, and the only negative thing I have to say about the whole night is that I didn’t win big on the roulette wheel. My complimentary £5 chip seemed to mysteriously vanish into thin air, and I was back at the bar ordering another glass of wine in record time.
If you do decide to pay Napoleons a visit (and you should) then just be aware that the menu changes on a monthly basis, which is both a good thing and a bad thing. Bad, because if you have a particularly good meal at Napoleons, then chances are the next time you visit it’ll be gone from the menu. Or, you can look on the bright side: there’s always something new to try!
After glancing through the menus for the next couple of months, I already have a list of things I can’t wait to order! Fragrant Thai scented mussels, caramel and honeycomb cheesecake, goat’s cheese spring rolls, and salted caramel popcorn pots! The latter makes my very, very happy. There’s even a main course that includes something called pepper paint. I have no idea what that is, but I know I want to experience it!
But by far the best thing about Napoleons’ menu are the prices. On Saturday you can enjoy two courses for £22, or three courses for £24. And if you dine on Sunday-Friday then those prices get knocked down a few pounds, to £19 for 2 courses or £21 for three courses.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a casino fan (and ditto, because my most exciting gambling-related experience is still that time I won a Minions cuddly tool on the “grabbers” along Scarborough sea front) then I’d still recommend taking a look at Napoleons’ menu. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
You should also check out some of the blogs and photos from the other lovely Sheffield bloggers who attended this event:
Tags: burger, ecclesall road, eccy road, gastro pub, Rhubarb and Mustard, salt and pepper squid, scallop and crab burger, sheffield, sheffield eats
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!
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.
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).
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.
Tags: brocco, brocco on the park, ecclesall road, endcliffe park, sheffield, sheffield eats, sheffield hotel
Brocco On the Park is a boutique hotel situated on Brocco Bank, overlooking Endcliffe Park. After scrutinising the Brocco website, I’ve got to admit I’m a bit gutted that I live too close to Brocco to justify treating myself to an overnight stay there, as the rooms look pretty special!
However Brocco’s dining room is open to the public, so even if you live locally you can still get a taste of the Brocco experience – and that’s exactly what me and a friend did one unexpectedly snowy Saturday afternoon, as we decided to pop to Brocco for a spot of luncheon.
First impressions were a bit dicey, as I walked into Brocco’s reception and immediately found myself in a queue behind someone who was clearly making a complaint. Not what you want to hear when you set foot in a restaurant for the first time! To be honest, I was beginning to wonder whether we should sneak off for a pub lunch around the corner, but it quickly became way too awkward for that, as a member of staff spotted us waiting and escorted us to a table.
Brocco’s dining room lives up to the boutique image on its website, right down to the antique-looking lanterns on the tables and the quirky chandelier in a bird cage that was hanging from the wall near our table. This is definitely one of the more stylish places I’ve eaten in on Ecclesall Road!
Brocco’s menu is on the smaller side, particularly when it comes to main meals. At least half of the menu is taken up by ‘small plates,’ which sound suspiciously like tapas, plus ‘picnic platters’ to share. This means there’s really only 8 main meals to choose from, plus two pizzas. Since nothing on the limited main menu caught my eye, I took a look at Brocco’s Specials board and was glad to see there was some fish and seafood on there, so I ended up ordering the daily special.
The waitress took our order and brought us a bottle of very nice house white. Then, there was nothing left to do but wait for our food to arrive. So we waited. And waited – despite Brocco not being particularly busy. Just as me and friend were shooting each other should-we-ask-where-our-food-is looks, our food arrived.
I’d gone for the haddock and leek pie, with cheddar mash and greens.
This is a massive portion of pie – the photo doesn’t even do it justice! This was of those meals that you never really seem to make a dent in, and it felt like forever before I hit the bottom of the bowl.
The cheesy mash was fluffy and tasted really strongly of cheese – exactly what you want when the weather outside is so grim! The pie was packed with lots of strong and tasty haddock, meaning this was one seriously fishy fish pie. The leeks were very finely sliced, which was perfect as there’s nothing worse than biting into your pie and hitting a big bit of squeaky, undercooked leek!
This is a great fish pie, and I’m a bit gutted it’s just a special and not a part of Brocco’s regular menu.
My dining companion had stuck to Brocco’s regular menu, and ordered the 8oz Ribeye steak (£22), which they’d requested medium-rare.
This steak was perfectly cooked, and came with mushroom purée, tempura onion rings, triple-cooked chips and horseradish and chive butter, all of which went perfectly with the juicy, medium-rare steak.
Even though a boutique hotel may not immediately spring to mind when you’re looking for somewhere to eat in the Eccy Road vicinity, Brocco feels like the ideal place to celebrate a special occasion. The food is a bit on the expensive side, and I feel like you’re paying as much for the surroundings as you are for the quality of the food – so bear this in mind if you’re just popping out for a bite to eat rather than treating yourself to a special meal!
I enjoyed my fish pie and I’m in love with the venue, so I’ll definitely be keeping Brocco in mind for special occasions. I’ll also be checking out their outdoor seating area during the warmer months, as it looks like the perfect place to drink some wine and share one of Brocco’s picnic platters – if it ever stops snowing!
Tags: ecclesall road, eccy road, japanese, kimchi, koko, miso soup, prosecco, sashimi, sushi, whisky
Over the past year or so, there’s been a bit of a sushi explosion in Sheffield with no fewer than four new sushi restaurants opening across the city: KOKO, Let’s Sushi, Sakura House, and the Revolving Sushi and Noodle Bar.
Sadly, Sakura House on Eccy Road almost immediately relaunched as Yep Yep Hot Pot before closely down completely, so I never got the chance to find out whether it was any good. But last week I decided to branch out from Yama, Edo and Sakushi, and try one of Sheffield’s three new(ish) sushi restaurants.
KOKO is a compact but very smartly decorated restaurant on Ecclesall Road that has the sleek, modern feel of Sakushi – which is no surprise considering it’s owned by the same guy who launched Sakushi.
I’ve got to admit that I decided to visit KOKO after spotting that they were offering a free shot of Japanese whisky to all diners on Twitter – everyone loves a freebie, right? However, after showing us to our table the first thing our waiter did was offer us a complimentary glass of prosecco. I leapt at the chance for a free glass of fizz, but my friend had their heart set on sampling some Japanese whisky so they asked whether they could have the shot of Nikka instead. At this point we were told this wasn’t an either-or offer, he was offering us free prosecco in addition to the complimentary whisky.
Apparently if you dine at KOKO before 6.30pm on any day of the week, then you get a free glass of prosecco, and if KOKO happen to be running another drinks-related freebie then you’re in luck, because you’re entitled to that too. The only catch is that on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday KOKO doesn’t open until 6pm, so if you’re dining on any of these days you’ll need to be quick off the mark in order to qualify for the free prosecco.
After that nice surprise, it was time to take a look at the food menu. Compared to other Sheffield sushi restaurants like Yama and Sakushi, KOKO’s menu is pretty compact, but this is understandable considering KOKO is a much smaller venue. While KOKO do offer a few mixed sushi and sashimi platters, the focus is more on cooked mains such as noodles, Katsu curry and fish served in various Japanese sauces, rather than sushi and sashimi.
Since the menu is on the smaller side, it took me no time to decide that I wanted to order the Salmon Fillet in Black Pepper Sauce (£14.95), but just to complicate matters the person I was eating with wanted a starter. To avoid being left twiddling my thumbs while they enjoyed their first course, I decided to order a Miso Soup (£3.50) starter, which includes unlimited refills (score!)
However, when I gave the waiter my order he pointed out that all of KOKO’s ‘Bigger Dishes’ come with miso soup anyway. In fact, they come with miso soup, salad and a choice of rice or noodles. Since my friend was ordering a starter, the waiter kindly offered to bring me the miso soup from my main course at the same time. It’s thoughtful little touches like this that make for really happy customers!
A surprise glass of bubbly, helpful staff, and the promise of a complimentary shot of whisky at the end of the meal – I don’t think I’ve ever had a better first impression of a restaurant!
My miso soup was everything good miso soup should be: strong and salty, with lots of seaweed and big chunks of tasty tofu.
I love that KOKO offer unlimited refills of their miso, because I could drink about a gallon of this stuff.
For their starter, my friend opted for KOKO Kimchi Rolls (£5.95).
These rolls are a tasty blend of tangy kimchi and peppery pork, wrapped in a light and flaky pastry. These are perfect for snacking on before a main meal, and go really well with the accompanying sweet chilli dip.
Onto the mains, and my friend had gone for the special, which on this particular evening was steak and enokitake mushrooms with yakiniku sauce. Like all of KOKO’s main courses, the steak came with miso soup, salad, and a choice of rice or noodles, plus a tangy side of pickled cucumbers and carrots.
The whole thing is served on a tray, which makes for a pretty impressive-looking spread.
The steak was juicy and tender, pretty much melting in the mouth, which contrasted nicely with the chewy enokitake mushrooms – plus, steak and mushrooms is just a winning combination, right?
The rest of the platter is packed with different flavours – from the saltiness of the miso, to the tartness of the crunchy pickled veggies, and the light and fresh salad. The only exception were the plain noodles, which were completely unseasoned, but it was actually nice to have a break from all the other strong flavours on this platter.
My main course came with the same smorgasbord of sides, although I opted for rice rather than noodles.
The rice was perfectly cooked, so it was nice and sticky rather than gloopy. Like the noodles, the rice might have been plain on its own, but it worked really well alongside all the other strong flavours on this platter.
But onto the main star of the show: the grilled, sushi-grade salmon. This salmon was tender, juicy and practically fell apart the second my chopsticks touched it, and it was generously coated in a delicious, tangy pepper sauce that had a hint of teriyaki sweetness to it. Basically, this salmon was perfect and I loved everything about it!
Food dispatched, it was time for our second free drink of the evening. And what’s better than a free drink? Not having to awkwardly remind the staff that you’d like your free drink now, please. As the waiter cleaned away our plates, he asked whether we wanted our shot of whisky yet – he didn’t need to ask twice!
The Nikka was a satisfying, warming whisky with caramel notes that made it really easy-drinking, even for someone like me who usually takes their spirits with a healthy dose of Pepsi Max.
I can’t fault KOKO when it comes to providing value for money. Even without the complimentary prosecco and whisky, the amount of sides that come with each main course means you’re definitely getting your money’s worth. The food was delicious, especially the salmon which is some of the nicest fish I’ve ever eaten, and the staff went out of their way to make sure we enjoyed our meal.
KOKO serves great food, at a great price, with genuinely thoughtful customer service to boot. My advice? Keep an eye on KOKO’s Twitter page for whisky-related special offers, get there before 6.30pm for your free glass of prosecco, and enjoy!
Tags: ecclesall road, italian, italian kitchen, pasta, pizza, seafood, sheffield, sheffield eats
I walk past the Italian Kitchen at least twice a day, on my way to and from work, and every time I ask myself “why haven’t I eaten there yet?” After a few months of making mental notes to pop into the Italian Kitchen, I finally ended up in the Ecclesall Road restaurant by accident, after spending longer than I’d intended in the Nursery Tavern (whoops), and getting a case of the beer munchies. Nipping across the road and filling up on yummy Italian food seemed like the perfect way to finish off the evening.
Despite it being a rainy, mid-week night, the Italian Kitchen was surprisingly busy. This eatery has a very cosy vibe, with a preference for low lighting and dark furnishings, which is very welcoming – especially on a rainy and windy January night! We scored a window seat, so we could watch the pedestrians getting blown around Ecclesall Road while we settled down with our wine, and perused the menu. The menu is typical for an Italian restaurant; that means pizza, pasta, risotto, and steak. There’s nothing really out of the ordinary here, and the prices are pretty average for this kind of food. So far, so good.
Still hung up on the previous week’s Loch Fyne treat, I couldn’t resist the lure of the fish dishes, and opted for the Linguini Marinara (9.95), which promised a trio of seafood: mussels, prawns, and squid. It pretty much goes without saying that the seafood couldn’t compete with Loch Fyne (which specialises in seafood and is more expensive, after all) but I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer amount of seafood the Italian Kitchen piled onto my plate.
All too often a seafood-pasta dish turns out to be four mussels-in-their-shells, strategically positioned on top of a pile of pasta, with a handful of prawns and calamari rings thrown in (if you’re lucky!) Not so at the Italian Kitchen; every forkful of linguine brought with it a generous helping of seafood. Even when I reached the bottom of my pasta, there was a pile of stray seafood still sitting in the bottom of the bowl. I don’t think I’ve ever been treated to so much seafood in a pasta dish before. Other restaurants, take note!
The seafood was nicely cooked and not in the least bit rubbery, and it had a hum of garlic going on, although I wouldn’t have minded a hotter kick (a bit of chilli in the tomato sauce would have sealed the deal for me). But overall, a tasty, generous dish that’s filling and good value for money.
Once again, it was all about the seafood, as my dinner date ordered a Marinara Pizza (9.95) of prawns, mussels, and squid, with some garlic to season. The Italian Kitchen didn’t disappoint, delivering a pizza piled high with seafood, which left us debating which was the better option for seafood lovers – pizza, or pasta? If you’re a fish fan, you can’t really go wrong. Pizza or pasta, the Italian Kitchen make sure you get your fill.
With two seafood-packed meals for just under 20, we reluctantly left the warmth of the Italian Kitchen, for the cold and rain of Eccy Road, feeling like we’d enjoyed a great meal, at a great price. A generous portion of tasty Italian grub at reasonable prices in comfortable surroundings – what’s not to like?
Tags: curry, ecclesall road, indian, kashmir, kashmiri kitchen, sheffield, sheffield eats, spicy
I love spicy food, particularly that old favourite: the Friday night curry. However, getting into a food-rut is never a good thing so it was a pleasant surprise to discover that beyond the poppadoms, samosas and pakoras, Kashmiri Kitchen’s menu is slightly more unusual than many of the spicy-food establishments in the steel city.
The Ecclesall Road venue has a surprisingly limited menu of seven intriguing main courses: Choosa Handi (chicken), Gosht Handi (lamb), Keema Mutter (mince), Chicken Pilau, Aloo Gobi (cauliflower and potato), Tarka Daal (lentils) and Kashmiri Bhindi (okra.) Surely a restaurant that has the confidence to offer just seven mains, must really excel at those few dishes?
Upon entering the restaurant, first impressions were good as the reception was very polite and efficient. Kashmiri Kitchen do pack in the tables, but we’d nabbed a window seat so at least we weren’t disturbed by people squeezing past. Our drinks orders were taken immediately, and the drinks themselves appeared just a few minutes later. So far, so good.
Despite the speedy service, the no-frills menu meant that we’d settled on starters, mains and accompaniments by the time the drinks arrived. The main meals are all seasoned with medium spices, but chilli heads can upgrade to hot if desired. As this was our first visit to Kashmiri Kitchen, we played it safe and stuck with medium.
The starters arrived promptly, and after a glance around the restaurant it became clear why: at 7pm on a Friday evening, there were more members of staff than customers. The waiters and waitresses were actually lined up against the far wall, waiting for something to happen. Good for us hungry and impatient diners, but I hope it got busier later on!
We kicked off our Indian feast with two poppadom and pickle trays, which at £1.25 each were an absolute bargain. Each tray consisted of three large poppadoms, which arrived warm and weren’t in the least bit greasy or soggy, and a gravy-boat of mint and yoghurt dip. Our £2.50 also nabbed us a sharing platter of delicious mango chutney, an eye-wateringly tart lemon pickle, and a mix of seasoned onions and chopped tomatoes. A fantastic budget starter.
I was scrabbling after the last drops of moreish mango chutney when we were informed that our main meals were ready – or would we prefer to finish our starters first? As the poppadom and pickle paraphernalia already took up most of the table, we opted to finish off the starters first, which turned out to be a mistake. Although it only delayed our main course by 5 minutes or so, the mains arrived lukewarm, as though they’d been left cooling on the side the entire time.
Thankfully, this was the only major issue with the mains. I love okra, so the Kashmiri Bhindi (£4.25) was my ideal meal: a bowl of perfectly-cooked okra. This veggie can sometimes go a bit slimy, but Kashmiri Kitchen got it spot on and served up okra that still had a nice crunch. The spices were deceptively tame at first, but the heat built up with every mouthful, and the spices had the depth of flavour you just can’t get from packets of chilli powder or jarred curry paste. Delicious.
My only criticism is that, apart from two wedges of tomato and a sprinkling of herbs, the Kashmiri Bhindi really is just a bowl of okra, and some variation (a bit of onion or pepper, maybe) would have been welcome.
At the opposite end of the table, the Gosht Handi (£5.95) may not have looked particularly appetising, but it was packed with juicy lamb in a rich sauce. Like the Bhindi, the spices were deceptive and built up to a nice warmth.
The final dish was a side order of fluffy pilau rice (£1.50) which was the perfect size to share.
The portions weren’t enormous, but they left me pleasantly full rather than stuffed and guilt-ridden. In fact, I was eyeing up the dessert menu (the authentic-sounding Kashmiri style rice pudding was particularly tempting) but in the end I decided to save that for the next visit.
You have to give Kashmiri Kitchen points for bucking the trend with their limited, unusual menu but it’s the prices where they really have the edge. If we’d been able to resist the call of the wine menu, the price for two starters, two mains and a rice side dish would have been a little over £14.
The only major downside is that you’ll work your way through the menu in just a few visits, which will affect the number of times you’ll return to Kashmiri Kitchen. All in all though, this is good food at bargain prices. Definitely worth a visit if, like me, you’re in danger of getting into a bit of a rut when it comes to your spicy food.
Tags: breakfast, cafe, cake, cupcake, ecclesall road, fancie, review, sheffield, sheffield eats
When I heard that cupcake connoisseurs Fancie were opening a new cafe along my daily commute, I was excited at the prospect of calorie-laden cupcakes and frothy coffees as an end-of-the-working-day treat (and, let’s face it, a pre-work pick-me-up.) However, Fancie’s new establishment at 359 Ecclesall Road isn’t just about the cake; Fancie have branched out into the brave new world of savouries and cooked breakfasts.
The new cafe is a change from Fancie’s previous pink, cupcake-centric image; it’s a very rustic affair of exposed brickwork, pick-and-mix furniture and mismatched timber cladding. There’s Catherine’s Choice preserves behind the counter and delicious-smelling omelettes flying out of the open kitchen. Even the logo has been given a grown-up makeover. This is a new direction for the Fancie brand but fear not: there’s still plenty of their trademark cupcakes for those with a sweet tooth.
This new incarnation seems to be going down a storm. When we visited on a Saturday morning we had to perform a lap around the venue before we found an empty table. The cafe appears to be a particular hit with young families, with a tangle of pushchairs leaning against the central pillar that dominates the cafe (and, annoyingly takes up a lot of potential seating space.) It’s bustling and noisy, but with a pleasant, family-friendly vibe. Factor in some quaint flower arrangements, vintage crockery doubling-up as sugar bowls and the olde-worlde, greaseproof paper menu, and you have a charming and quirky new cafe.
There’s a limited lunchtime menu, but the food menu is focused on breakfast, with a selection of traditional cooked brekkies, omelettes, homemade granola and bread with jam or butter. The menu is currently missing a veggie cooked breakfast, but it does include a vegetarian sausage roll at a penny-pinching £2.10, so this isn’t a major problem.
But, before the food, it was time for that old favourite: a brew. Fancie go the extra mile when it comes to the humble cuppa, particularly with their herbal infusions. The green tea arrived with an entourage of teapot, tea strainer, tea bowl, a quirky mismatched vintage saucer and a neat little egg timer that ensures your drink it always brewed to perfection. The egg timer is a lovely, thoughtful touch that makes a simple cup of tea feel extra special. However, at £2.80 for a one-person serving of green tea you do pay extra for the showmanship.
After seeing the green tea I almost regretted ordering a plain old cup of Yorkshire tea, but for the bargain price of £1.10 I got a bucket-sized mug of the good stuff, served on a lovely vintage saucer with a generously-filled milk jug. Fancie sure know how to make a good cuppa!
The food arrived shortly afterwards, and again I was left feeling like I’d snagged a bargain. My veggie sausage roll was stuffed with tangy cheese, lashings of delicious spinach and flavour-packed tomatoes, all wrapped in thick pastry. I’m not a massive fan of pastry as a rule, but this was nothing like the thin, crispy, greasy stuff I’ve had before. At £2.10 this is a bargain that, thanks to the wedge of pastry, left me completely stuffed.
At the other end of the table, the Petit Breakfast’s (£4.50) motto was clearly ‘quality not quantity’ with two rashers of thick-cut bacon, a grease-free local sausage, buttery mushrooms and fluffy scrambled eggs laced with black pepper making for a tasty breakfast treat. A wedge of homely-looking brown bread and a generous pat of paper-wrapped butter bulked out the meal a bit, but at £4.50 the cooked portion of the breakfast did feel a little on the light side.
So, have Fancie successfully made the leap from cupcakes to full-blown cafe? The new Ecclesall Road venue is a rustic, family-friendly place with bags of character and a great atmosphere. The flourish they give the humble cup of tea is second to none and, although I’m not entirely sold on their cooked breakfasts, they do serve up some tasty snacks, delicious-looking sarnies and sweet treats (which goes without saying, really.)
The perfect spot for a truly indulgent cuppa, a light bite and, of course, the best cupcakes in the city.
Tags: burger, ecclesall road, nursery tavern, porter brook, pub grub, sheffield, sheffield eats, tagine
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!)
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.
Tags: burger and a drink, ecclesall road, pub grub, sheaf island, sheffield, steak, wetherspoons
The UK is now in a double dip recession, which sounds kind of fun, but is actually a Very Bad Thing.
We’re all feeling the pinch, so what’s to be done when it’s the week before payday, but you still want to eat out? The answer is pub grub, and Wetherspoons is surely one of the UK’s best known purveyors of budget nosh. For our penny-pinching evening out, the Sheffield Eats team descended on Sheffield’s newest Wetherspoons, the Sheaf Island on Ecclesall Road.
My major bugbear with Wetherspoons, is that they tend to be rather dark (I’m looking at you, The Benjamin Huntsman) but not the Sheaf Island; the floor-to-ceiling windows let in plenty of daylight (and let you nosey at the people walking past.) The decor has an historical Sheffield slant that makes this Wetherspoons feel less corporate-chain, and more like your friendly local pub, which is a nice touch. Our table agreed that the Sheaf Island is one of the nicest Wetherspoons we’ve ever visited (and as ex-students, this is a real accolade!)
The menu at the Sheaf Island is pretty much a carbon copy of every other Wetherspoons out there, but it still reads like a list of all-time pub faves: scampi and chips, curry, bangers and mash, steak and kidney pudding, fish and chips. For the adventurous, there’s even nods to more modern cuisine: customers can choose from a very healthy-sounding superfood wholewheat pesto pasta, or a lentil, mushroom, mozzarella & pumpkin seed roast. Yum!
We kicked off our food order with a five bean chilli (£4.60) which came with rice and tortilla chips. The chilli was a generous mix of butter, kidney, haricot, cannellini and pinto beans in a satisfying tomato sauce. The rich and spicy sauce in particular got an enthusiastic thumbs up from our reviewer.
Also arriving at our table was a ‘Simple Steak’ (£7.20) a no-frills 8oz rump steak with chunky chips, and a drink included in the price.
And the deals just kept on coming, as my veggie burger deal (£4.99) also came with a drink.
However, when we began tucking into our steak and veggie burger, we hit a snag: the food was only lukewarm and, worse, it had that overbaked taste of food that’s been left under a hot plate for too long.
The veggie burger was packed with sweet potato and lentils, and would have sat nicely in my stomach; a wodge of pure comfort good – if it had arrived at the table hot. By the time I got around to the chips, they’d gone completely cold. Even the stingy portion of salsa dip that came with the chips wasn’t enough to give them that fiery kick. The steak was juicy and came with plenty of chunky chips but again, it was a rush to finish the meal before it went cold.
Between us, we’ve eaten in the Sheaf Island a few times, and have always been impressed by the speedy service (perfect for when you’re ravenous after a long day at work), cheapness, and quality of their pub grub. However, there’s no excuse for serving food that’s clearly been stood cooling for a while. On this occasion, the Sheaf Island’s budget eats left us feeling short changed.
Tags: burger, cocktail, ecclesall road, felicini, food, mud crab, restaurant review, sheffield, sheffield eats, south yorkshire
When news first reached Sheffield Eats HQ that Felicini was closing and opening in its place was newcomer Mud Crab, we were all shocked. Felicini always seemed to draw a healthy crowd, and besides, aren’t Mud Crabs those pesky little blighters who mob you everytime you go anywhere near water in Skyrim??
So, not sure what to expect, we made a trip to Mud Crab over the opening weekend, in search of nourishment and a few cheeky pre-dinner cocktails. Firstly, Felicini fans will be happy to learn that the interior is still recognizably Felicini, just with more pictures of motorbikes and some vaguely nautical flourishes, such as exposed iron rivets that look like they’ve come straight from the Titanic. The staff are very friendly – one of the waiters had seen our party wandering around Ecclesall Road earlier and joked that he was convinced we were stalking him, and the bar staff were eager to chat while mixing up our cocktails.
To kick off our Mud Crab initiation, our thirsty party ordered a platter of cocktails. The Chocolate and Banana cheesecake cocktail (£6.50) is an absolute must for those with a sweet tooth, tasting like a creamier version of a Bailey’s. Just be sure to tackle this one on an empty stomach; it’s like pudding in a glass!
We also ordered a Jalapeno Margarita (£6.50) – cocktail connoisseurs that we are, we still have to admit that this is a new one on us. A refreshing mix of ice, tangy lime and jalapenos, this is aimed at those with an adventurous palate, and it split opinions at the table.
We also sampled some daiquiris (£6.50), which come in a range of flavours. We opted for a creamy banana daiquiri and the blackberry version, which seems to be made from real blackberries and not syrup, judging by the blackberry seeds. The cocktail menu isn’t particularly extensive, but it contains many you’d be hard pressed to find anywhere else in Sheffield, which makes the Mud Crab a must for cocktail fans.
But enough about the cocktails – onto the food! Mud Crab specialises in “custom built burgers and other essentials.” Customers can choose from a mouth-watering list of toppings for their burger: double mature cheese, chopped jalapenos, fried egg, cream cheese… Here, we hit a snag: there’s no veggie burger on the menu, and I don’t eat meat. Neglecting to include a veggie option is a major oversight. The burgers coming out of the kitchen looked amazing, so hopefully this is something they’ll sort out soon. Unfortunately, this lack of veggie options isn’t restricted to the DIY burgers: if you’re a vegetarian, the only thing you’ll be able to eat on the menu is a posh cheese and tomato pizza. Disappointing.
Personally, I’m a bit of a cheat and still eat fish and seafood, so I opted for the yummy-sounding monkfish and prawn thai curry (£14.50) which didn’t disappoint. The dish was a regular melee of seafood and veggies, topped with toasted coconut flakes which gave the dish a nutty edge. The pile of veggies and juicy seafood came on a bed of noodles; I would have preferred rice (better for soaking up that creamy curry sauce!) but overall, this was a unique and delicious take on the traditional thai curry.
Our table also ordered some “good fries,” which were beautifully presented in a rustic mug wrapped in greaseproof paper (£3) and the slow cooked chili beef brisket, served with corn bread, sour cream, cheese and salsa (£10). This is the only place I’ve seen in Sheffield that serves this American favourite, so if you fancy a twist on the traditional beef dish, get yourself down to the Mud Crab! One member of our party called it the best meat dish they’d ever tasted, so you won’t be disappointed.
The Mud Crab puts a fresh slant on the restaurant staples of burgers, curry, sarnies and meat dishes, and we thoroughly enjoyed everything that was served (they just need to add a few veggie alternatives.) Mud Crab is also a wonderful addition to Sheffield’s ever-growing cocktail bar scene. If you’ve exhausted the menu at Browns and Revolution de Cuba, then you owe it to yourself to venture down to Mud Crab.