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 Wig and Pen

June 24, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 3 Comments
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Drinking in the afternoon is one of life’s greatest pleasures, so when we spied a ‘brunch and all you can drink prosecco’ voucher (£15.95) for The Wig and Pen, we wasted no time printing it out before the owners came to their senses and took the offer down. Needless to say, we were excited about this one, especially since we’d had such a fantastic meal at affiliated eatery The Milestone the previous week.

From the outside, The Wig and Pen looks nothing special: it’s a stumpy huddle of buildings in the heart of Estate Agent District (aka Campo Lane.) Inside, it’s far nicer than expected: the interior is all light wood, big windows and ‘swanky wine bar’ atmosphere.

A friendly waitress escorted our party to a table, where we promptly pulled out our voucher and she sped off to fetch the first (of many) rounds of bubbly. Fully expecting to be brought a bottle, we were disappointed when she returned with a tray of glasses. We couldn’t help grumbling, convinced that we’d struggle to attract the staff’s attention when it was time for glass number two (and three, and four) and the ‘all you can drink’ boast was just a conspiracy. If something is too good to be true, then it probably is. It turns out we were just being cynical – despite our waitress also ferrying plates of bulging Sunday lunch to a large party directly behind us, she always found the time to top our glasses up. Far from making us feel self-conscious about burning through the bottles, she was very friendly, and jokingly gave us a running total of how much we’d drank. The Wig and Pen’s staff really are second to none – polite, attentive and friendly. Even better, the prosecco they’ve earmarked for this offer is perfect for afternoon drinking, morish without being too sweet.

Eventually we got around to ordering some brunch dishes to mop up all that fizz. The menu is in the same vein as The Milestone’s, so if you’re partial to the grub at one of the venues, then you’re guaranteed to like the other. Picky eaters beware, The Wig and Pen’s menu is far from extensive, but each dish has been concocted with a keen eye for detail, with a heavy focus on unusual combos. That said, the brunch menu is particularly restrictive. There’s a posh cooked breakfast but beyond that, if you don’t like poached eggs and hollandaise sauce then you’re going to go hungry. Poached egg fans can choose from double eggs benedict, double eggs royal or double eggs florentine, all priced at a reasonable £5.95.

Thankfully, we’re all fans of the humble egg at Sheffield Eats, so we had no issues with the narrow menu. I plumped for Double Eggs Royal, which consisted of two stodgy English muffins layered with wilted spinach and slabs of the strongest, saltiest and most mouth-watering smoked salmon I’ve had the pleasure of crossing paths with. Topped off with two perfectly-cooked eggs and lashings of creamy hollandaise sauce, the portion size may have looked mean, but I’d learned my lesson about the richness of The Milestone/The Wig and Pen’s food, and took it slowly this time.

The eggs were perfectly cooked, with a little runny yolk still in the centre; the spinach was wilted but not falling apart, and the smoked salmon was so thick, it was more like a fillet. The Wig and Pen’s Double Eggs Royal is one of the richest meals I’ve ever eaten and, combined with the sheer strength of the smoked salmon, it was impossible for me to finish. I’d recommend treating this brunch dish as your lunch – it would take a stronger stomach than mine to polish off this plate of loud flavours and calorific sauce before noon.

Also arriving at the table, were a couple of portions of Double Eggs Benedict, which basically replaced the wedge of smoked salmon with a chunk of bacon. The bacon had more in common with gammon than the usual fatty supermarket stuff, and everyone at the table agreed The Wig and Pen’s bacon is in a league of its own.

The food may have been impossible to fault, but we did have an issue with the live acoustic jazz performer who is apparently a regular fixture on Sundays. For the first fifteen minutes or so, the speakers were turned up far too high. With the large party behind us all shouting to make themselves heard above the blaring music, it wasn’t the quiet, relaxed brunch we’d envisioned. Thankfully, The Wig and Pen twigged there was something wrong and had turned the volume down by the time the performer returned for his second set, and we could hear ourselves think again.

To round off the afternoon, we took our final glasses of prosecco outside and made the most of a sudden burst of sunshine in The Wig and Pen’s cobbled outdoor area. Set in a courtyard with no traffic and few passers-by, it’s an unexpectedly quiet haven in the centre of town, and the ideal place to escape the crowds and while away a sunny afternoon (if this rain ever stops….)

Full enough to pop and well into our third bottle of prosecco thanks to the attentive waitress, we raised our glasses to one of the best (certainly, the most tipsy!) brunches we’d had in Sheffield. The food, service and venue itself are flawless and, after they’d toned down the music, we could properly relax and enjoy our boozy brunch. Obviously cut from the same cloth as The Milestone, The Wig and Pen has all the same great qualities, and with a more convenient, city centre location to boot.

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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