The Harley

April 23, 2016 at 8:54 am | Posted in Pub Grub, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Burgers are no longer just something you grab from a takeaway on your way home after a night out. Over the past few years, everyone’s favourite fast food has become a lot more exciting, to the point where there’s a few Sheffield venues that specialise in burgers, such as Bungalows and Bears, Urban ¼ and, of course, the Harley.

I love a good burger, so when the Harley asked if I wanted to come and try their new burger menu, I jumped at the chance.

The format of this particular menu tasting was a bit different, as the staff brought out wave after wave of side orders for everyone sampling the new menu to share, plus lots of burgers cut into handy, bite-sized quarters. So don’t judge me for all the burgers and sides I’m talking about in this review, because I only had a taste of each of them! 

The first order of business was to try the Harley’s new Twisted sauces. This is a trio of vegan sauces made in collaboration with Sheffield clothing label Drop Dead.

sauces

Out of the three sauces on offer, my hands-down favourite was the Techno sauce which is a tangy burger sauce made with Henderson’s Relish. This sauce has a complex and unique flavour that’s difficult to put your finger on, but is all kinds of delicious. I’ve been hooked on the Harley’s Techno sauce ever since I got my first taste of it on the breakfast McMuffin they used to serve at the weekends (something that sadly seems to have disappeared from the menu, boo!)

The second sauce was Jalapeno Salsa, which is perfect for spicing up your fries and burgers if you have a soft spot for hot food. The Twisted Jalapeno Sauce also has a tangy note that makes it a little bit different (and in my opinion, much tastier) than your typical straight-up spicy salsa.

The final sauce was the Twisted BBQ sauce which has an interesting list of ingredients – tequila, chocolate and Henderson’s Relish, anyone? This is a tasty twist on your bogstandard BBQ sauce.

And if there’s a Twisted sauce that you just can’t get enough of, you can purchase all three sauces from Drop Dead’s website. Needless to say, I foresee a bottle of Techno sauce landing on my doorstep in the very near future!

The Harley provided two sets of chips for the purpose of putting these sauces to the test: the standard Harley house fries (£1.25 for a single portion, £2.25 for a sharing portion) and sweet potato fries (an additional £2). I’ve always loved the Harley’s fries as they have a nice, spicy kick to them, but this is the first time I’ve tried their sweet potato fries. Turns out they’re even better, so I’ll be definitely upgrading to sweet potato fries from now on!

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Sauces sampled, it was time to move onto the burgers and sides. First up, was Return of the Mac (£6.95).

return of the mac

The Return of the Mac is a double bacon patty burger with mac and cheese, plus a helping of homemade pesto. The bacon patty is a bit of a weird concept, but it’s a weirdness that works, and the mac and cheese doesn’t skimp on the cheese, making this a winning burger.

If you do order the Return of the Mac, then try it with a splash of the Twisted BBQ sauce as it goes really well with this particular burger.

Next up was a side order of Highway to Falafel (£3.50).

highway to falafel

Out of everything I tried from the Harley’s new menu (and I tried a lot) these falafel balls were the one thing I wouldn’t order again. They’re a lot tougher and crunchier than any falafel I’ve tried before, which I wasn’t keen on. And as someone who doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth, I also wasn’t wild about the accompanying coconut and coriander dip, which was seriously sweet. I did swap this pot for another helping of Techno sauce (yep, I’m addicted) and that made these falafel balls much more to my taste, but I’m still not convinced.

Things quickly got back on track as I spied something seriously exciting coming out of the kitchen: Jalapeno Business Fries (£4.75).

jalapeno business fries

The Harley’s Business Fries are a massive portion of chips, smothered in cheese, guacamole, sour cream, house relish, diced jalapenos and lots of cajun seasoning, garnished with a whole grilled chilli. The Jalapeno Business Fries are my favourite thing to order from the Harley, so I was glad to see they’d survived the menu change. If you’re a spice fan, then you need to try these fries!  

If you’re not a massive chilli head but you still fancy stuffing yourself with a humongous portion of Harley fries smothered in lots of sauce, then you may want to opt for the Big Pimpin’ Fries (£5.50) instead.

Big pimpin’ fries

These Big Pimpin’ Fries are another super-sized portion of Harley fries, but this time topped with lots of juicy pulled pork, manchego sauce, Twisted BBQ sauce and guacamole.

Back to burgers, and next up was the Bury Me in Smoked Sausage (£7.95).

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This burger teams a double chicken patty with smoked sausage, creole mayo, monterey jack and red onion gherkins. The sausage had a lovely smoky flavour and the gherkins added a nice contrast in terms of taste and texture.

Sticking with chicken, the next side was Hang up the Chicken Habit (£3.50) aka confit chicken wings served with a blue cheese dip.

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These wings were crispy and surprisingly grease-free, with a good amount of meat on each wing. They were strongly seasoned with lots of salt and pepper, plus a generous helping of jalapenos which gave these wings a nice kick. The accompanying blue cheese dip went perfectly with these salty, peppery, spicy wings, but it also doubles up as a great dip for your chips if you fancy a change from all those strong Twisted sauces.

Next up was a truly gut-busting burger: the triple-cheese Cheesy Rider (£6.95).

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This veggie burger basically replaces the traditional meat patty with cheese, then adds more cheese on top, and finishes the whole thing off with an extra-large helping of cheese sauce. Specifically, you get a double halloumi patty, plus monterey jack, plus manchego cheese sauce – that’s a serious amount of cheese!

I love cheese, so I quickly devoured my quarter of the Cheesy Rider, but I’m not sure I could have managed the other three quarters. This is a seriously heavy burger!

As I’ve already mentioned, the Twisted sauces are all vegan friendly, so it’s no surprise that the Harley also have a vegan burger on their menu.

Drop Dead Twisted BBQ burger.jpg

The Twisted Barbecue Burger (£7.95) consists of a double “meat” patty, a vegan “cheese” slice, plus BBQ jackfruit and Twisted BBQ sauce.

I’m not a vegan and I haven’t really tried that many vegan alternatives, but I loved this burger! The “meat” patty had a really strong, savoury flavour, and not only was the vegan cheese a tasty substitute for the dairy equivalent, but it also had an authentic cheese texture. 

To put this vegan burger to the ultimate test, I convinced my meat-eating friend to take a bite, and they agreed that this is one of the best burgers on the Harley’s new menu. I’d actually have to take this one step further and say this is the best burger on the Harley’s new menu.

Regardless of whether you’re veggie, vegan or omnivore, the Twisted Barbecue Burger is definitely worth ordering.

Moving beyond the vegan burger, the Twisted sauces are all fantastic, the Jalapeno Business Fries are every bit as delicious as they’ve always been, and there’s a good selection of tasty meat-based burgers on the menu too – especially the Return of the Mac.

I’ll definitely be popping in for my fix of Twisted Barbecue Burger with Techno sauce, plus Jalapeno Business Fries for as long as they remain on the menu.

rating-3-star

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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

Loch Fyne

February 2, 2014 at 12:05 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 1 Comment
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Seafood restaurant Loch Fyne has a special place in my heart – to me, it’ll always be the place where I celebrated getting my first job after university. Fast forward far-too-many-years, and a trip to Loch Fyne on Glossop Road still feels like a bit of a treat. Maybe because it’s slightly away from the other city center restaurants, so you never really pop in on a whim; maybe it’s the light, breezy decor and sense of space inside; or maybe it’s the massive, glinting crushed-ice-and-seafood display that dazzles you when you first walk into the place.

If you’re a seafood fanatic, then Loch Fyne’s menu is like a roll call of all your favourites: crab, prawns, lobster, oysters, and mussels, not to mention a wide selection of fish (tuna, cod, and bream, to name a few). There’s also a smattering of meat dishes, so anyone who winds up in Loch Fyne because they got their arm twisted by their seafood-loving friends is well catered for.

To kick off this fishy feast, I ordered a starter of crevettes, served on ice with an intriguing-sounding Bloody Mary sauce (£6.75). This turned out to be my dream starter; a big bowl of crushed ice and massive crevettes, not to mention the Bloody Mary sauce itself, which arrived ice-cold, served in a shot glass and garnished with a stick of celery.

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The starter tasted every bit as good as it looked. The crevettes had that seaside-fresh taste, but the sauce truly was the star of the show. The Bloody Mary sauce had all the creaminess of Marie Rose sauce, combined with a fierce chilli kick and a nice hint of vodka. After dispatching of the crevettes, I shamelessly used the celery to scoop out every last morsel of sauce. Loch Fyne, if you ever bottle that stuff, I’ll be the first in line!

At the other end of the table, it was all about the Smoked Salmon Ashet (£8.45), a very gourmet-sounding combination of smoked salmon, Gravadlax, and Kinglas fillet, served with creme fraiche and dill, which also got a big thumbs up.

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With the bar already set pretty high, I was glad that I’d ordered something equally special for my main meal: Lobster Spaghetti (£16.95); a belly-busting bowl of spaghetti in tomato sauce, with generous chunks of lobster.

The menu stated that the spaghetti came in a tomato herb, brandy and cream sauce, but all the other ingredients were completely overwhelmed by the taste of lobster. Personally, I love lobster, so this was no great hardship, but it would have been nice to get the occasional hint of the other ingredients. This definitely isn’t a dish for anyone who wants to dabble with lobster for the first time; it’s a very strong, very fishy dish – but personally, I loved every forkfull.

My dining companion opted for the Seafood Tagliatelle (£14.95), a bowl of scallops, clams, squid and samphire, pan-fried with garlic and shallots, in a white wine and cream sauce. Again, Loch Fyne weren’t stingy when it came to portion size, and the generous heap of tagliatelle was mixed up with plenty of nicely-cooked seafood. A bit more of a balanced dish than my lobster spaghetti; you could taste the sauce and the pasta, and not just the seafood.

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There was just enough time to squeeze in a round of Rhubarb and Custard Cheesecake (£5.25 each). This innocent-looking sliver of cheesecake was deceptively heavy, making for a very creamy and indulgent end to our meal.

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With a bottle of white wine thrown in (another £14.25), the bill came to just shy of £55 for two people. True, Loch Fyne is more expensive than your run-of-the-mill meal for two, but it’s not extortionately priced for a seafood restaurant.

Loch Fyne is a treat for seafood lovers; an upmarket feeling restaurant with a classy vibe that’s just enough off the beaten track to feel a bit special. Find an excuse to celebrate, and treat yourself to a Loch Fyne fish feast!

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.

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