Hope and Anchor

September 24, 2016 at 10:42 am | Posted in Cocktail Bar, Restaurants | 1 Comment
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Did you know that Anchorage in West One Plaza is being relaunched? We’re talking a new interior, new menu and even a new name.

This was news to me, as a few weeks ago I popped into Anchorage for Sunday lunch and everything seemed normal, but then I walked past a few days later and the whole place was shut up, with a new sign hanging above the door. Apparently Anchorage is no more – say hello to Hope and Anchor.

I have to say, the last few times I visited Anchorage I wasn’t completely wowed by the menu. I initially fell in love with Anchorage for their amazing tuna niçoise, and a friend of mine still raves about the hanger steak Anchorage used to serve when they first opened. Sadly, both of these meals vanished from the menu at some point, and Anchorage never replaced them with anything that quite lived up to those two great meals – so perhaps it was time time for a change!

This post is going to be a bit different from the usual, as I was invited to a preview of Hope and Anchor’s upcoming menu, which involved eating lots of scaled-down, canapé versions of their mains and light bites, rather than ordering off the regular menu.  

I didn’t even plan on blogging about this event, but after going through all my photos from the night I realised this was actually a pretty good introduction to Hope and Anchor, so I wanted to do more than just share a few snaps on Twitter. Hopefully, these little snippets will help you decide whether you want to try out Hope and Anchor’s menu for yourself.

When we visited, Hope and Anchor were still midway through revamping the interior, but it was already clear that the new, darker colour scheme makes the venue feel much cosier. It reminded me a lot of sister venue the Wick at Both Ends, which to me has always felt like the perfect autumn pub. I can picture myself enjoying some mulled wine or cider in Hope and Anchor once the cold weather starts to set in.

hope-and-anchor

Hope and Anchor’s menu seems to be about providing as much choice as possible, as you can order every main course as either a fully-fledged main or as a smaller “light bite” if you’re not that hungry. You can also order any of Hope and Anchor’s light bites individually as a snack or starter, or you can order several light bites and create your own tapas-style spread (3 for £10, or 5 for £15).

Over the course of a few hours, I got to sample canapé versions of several of Hope and Anchor’s light bites and mains. While this means I didn’t get to try anything off the menu as you’d typically experience it, it did give me a good overview of what Hope and Anchor’s menu is all about.

First up, was a sample of one of Hope and Anchor’s light bites: celeriac pakora, apple and mango chutney (£3.50).

celeriac-pakora-apple-and-mango-chutney

Just a few weeks ago I had the best celeriac mash at Napoleons, so I was excited to see another place embracing my new favourite vegetable. Hope and Anchor’s mini celeriac pakoras didn’t disappoint, as they were packed with flavour. I also loved the accompanying sweet, sticky mango chutney which complimented the nuttiness of the celeriac pakoras perfectly. I definitely want to try the full-sized version of this!

The second light bite was bresaola, fig chutney, and hazelnut dressing (£5).

bresaola

I’d never heard of bresaola before, but turns out it’s air-dried, salted beef. I don’t eat meat, but my dining companion said they enjoyed the bresaola, although they weren’t overly keen on the fig chutney, which was a bit too sweet for their liking.

Onto the mains, and I got to sample a mini portion of fish and chips (well, technically just the fish part of fish and chips) which was served with pea purée and tartar sauce (£10.95).

fish-chips-pea-puree-tartar-sauce

I’m not usually a massive fan of battered fish, so I wasn’t expecting to really enjoy this – turns out I loved it! The batter was light and grease-free, which is always a plus as there’s nothing worse than wet, slimy batter.

The piece of fish inside the batter was also pretty much spot on – tender, meaty and very tasty. This canapé was finished off with a dollop of pea purée, which had one of the most intense pea flavours I’ve ever experienced, and was all kinds of delicious.

When I’m handed a menu, fish and chips is typically the last thing I want to order, and even when I treat myself to chippy tea it’s all about the chips and curry sauce, hold the battered cod. However I enjoyed this taster of Hope and Anchor’s fish and chips so much, that I wouldn’t rule out ordering the full version of this at some point in the future.

The next main was one of Hope and Anchor’s veggie-friendly options: roast sweet potato, apple, brie stack, cauliflower and romesco sauce (£12).

roast-sweet-potato-apple-brie-stack

Unlike the fish and chips, this sounded like something I’d definitely order, but it actually turned out to be my least favourite out of everything I got to sample, as all I could taste was sweet potato. I struggled to find any hint of the brie, apple or romesco sauce, which was a shame because this combination of flavours sounds like perfection! It’s possible that this main just didn’t translate properly to miniature, and the ratio of ingredients was off, so I’d be willing to give this another go. 

Jumping from the veggie-friendly option to something that’s definitely not veggie-friendly: the rib eye steak and mushroom ketchup, which according to the menu is usually accompanied by chips, baby gem and roast tomato (£22).

rib-eye-steak-mushroom-ketchup

If you like your meat on the rarer side, then this steak was perfection – juicy, tender and very pink in the middle. The mushroom ketchup had a really earthy, concentrated mushroom flavour, which you’re either going to love or hate.

But I’ve saved the best until last: blackened cod with giant couscous and pak choi (£12.95).

blackened-cod

This was amazing! The blackened cod had a smoky, almost charcoal flavour that had me craving more from the very first bite, and was served on a bed of giant couscous.

I’m a massive fan of all things grain and grain-like: couscous, quinoa, rice, bulgur, orzo, I love it all, so I was always going to enjoy this. The person I was dining with is the exact opposite: they hate couscous, to the point where initially they didn’t even want to try the blackened cod. However, this taster completely changed their mind, to the point where they said this was something they’d choose to order!

You know a meal is good when it manages to win over someone who was expecting to hate it.

Looking beyond this selection of mains and light bites, Hope and Anchor’s menu includes quite a few other things that I can’t wait to try: goat’s cheese risotto; seafood linguine with market fish, shrimp and clams; rice pudding with stewed autumn fruits, and a baked blackberry cheesecake with poached apples. Don’t those two desserts just sound like the perfect winter warmers?

While it’s difficult to judge a restaurant based on what’s essentially canapés, I left Hope and Anchor convinced that I need to return and try the new menu properly. This menu seems like a huge improvement on Anchorage’s last few menus, although I am a bit sad that Anchorage’s Mac and Cheese burger hasn’t survived the transition to Hope and Anchor.

All in all, an exciting peek into a new(ish) restaurant, and I can’t wait to experience a few of my favourite canapés in their full-sized glory – starting of course with that blackened cod and giant couscous!

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Anchorage: Sunday Lunch

March 21, 2015 at 6:14 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 3 Comments
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I’ve eaten at Anchorage in West One Plaza a few times before and have always enjoyed it, so when I realised they did Sunday dinners too, I knew I had to give them a bash.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

veg Sunday lunch

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

hanger steak

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

hanger steak close up

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

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

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

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

5-stars

Napoleons Foodie Preview

October 19, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 1 Comment
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Recently, I was lucky enough to receive an invitation to sample the new menu at the Owlerton branch of Napoleons casino and restaurant on Livesey Sreet. But, this wasn’t just the launch of a new menu; the venue has also just had a £2 million refurbishment and extension. The invite promised a brand new, 60 seater restaurant, a new bar and lounge area, an extended gaming floor, plus the first outdoor gaming terrace outside of London. Pretty exciting stuff!

When we arrived at Napoleons, we were greeted by Marketing Manager Rachel, who’d very kindly organised this ‘Foodie Preview’ evening for Sheffield-based bloggers and Tweet-ers. She fixed us up with some drinks, and then took us on a quick tour of the venue so we could see what’s new.

The new bar and lounge area is now larger and more open than before. Previously, this area did feel a bit small and tucked away in the corner of the building, so this is definitely a big improvement.

To be honest, the restaurant area looks pretty much the same as before, just with more seating. It still has the dramatic red and blank colour scheme, the same low lighting, and what looks like the exact same fixtures and furnishings. This isn’t a criticism, as I thought the restaurant area looked great before, so why fix something that isn’t broken? 

Napoleons Casino

The tour concluded with a look at the outdoor gaming terrace, and Napoleons have done a fantastic job with this area. It’s completely sheltered and has a good selection of seating and gaming machines, so it doesn’t feel like you’re outside at all.

I’m a non-smoker, but I do have friends who smoke, so I can appreciate the benefit of having a space where people can smoke outdoors without being exposed to the elements. Rachel also raised a good point that the outdoor gaming terrace means smokers can pick a machine and play on it all night if they wish, without having to risk losing their machine everytime they pop outside for a cigarette.

Tour complete, it was time to take our seats and find out what Napoleons had in store for us this evening. I was excited to learn that, although we’d be choosing our main meal, we’d also each receive platters of different starters and desserts, so we could sample as much of the new menu as possible. This is a great way to get a feel for a menu – and really, who wants one pudding, when you can have three?

First up, was a platter of mini starters.

Napoleons Casino

My favourite thing on this platter was definitely the parsnip cappuccino. This unique starter is served in a coffee mug, and even has a coffee-coloured, foamy top just like you’d find on a real cappuccino.

Napoleons Casino

The soup itself is creamy, satisfying, and slightly spicy – in other words, it’s the perfect soup for winter. The parsnip cappuccino was served with a crispy, miniature onion bhaji on the side, which was perfect for dunking into the soup.

Also on the platter was that old classic, the prawn cocktail. A prawn cocktail isn’t something I’d normally order from a menu, but this particular prawn cocktail was full of fresh and tasty prawns, and was very nicely presented. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed it – and this is coming from someone who doesn’t really like prawn cocktails!

The mini goat’s cheese and roasted fig bruschetta was much more my style.

Napoleons casino tartlet

The tanginess of the goat’s cheese and the sweetness of the roasted fig was a winning combination. When I pay my next visit to Napoleons, I’m going to be torn between ordering this bruschetta, or ordering the parsnip cappuccino.

The final starter on my platter, was a black pudding wonton. Since I don’t eat meat, I did a quick food exchange with my dining companion, in return for their goat’s cheese bruschetta (score!) They confirmed the wonton was just as tasty as the other starters and, even though they’re not usually a massive fan of black pudding, they wolfed down both wontons.

Onto the mains, and this was the only course we got to pick ourselves. Well, I suppose a platter of main courses would have been a bit excessive!

All the main courses on Napoleons’ new menu sound delicious, but it’s a very meat heavy menu. If you fancy fish, there’s two fish-based dishes to choose from, plus there’s a vegetarian main course of cherry tomato, pimento and basil linguini.

In the end, I opted for the grilled swordfish steak, confit of tomatoes and Mediterranean vegetables with salsa verde. When my meal arrived, I knew I’d made the right choice, because look at the size of that swordfish steak!

Napoleons Casino swordfish

My super-sized swordfish was tender, juicy, and full of flavour. This is the nicest piece of fish I’ve had in quite a while.

Meanwhile, my dining companion had gone for the chargrilled sirloin steak, which came with beef dripping potato wedges, Yorkshire pudding and horseradish jus. 

Napoleons casino steak

The steak was cooked exactly as requested (medium rare) and the potato wedges tasted of real beef dripping.

At Napoleons, all main courses come with a selection of veggies, plus a side order of super-cheesy potatoes. If you book a table at Napoleons, there’s no way you’re going home hungry!

Napoleons Casino potatoes

I’d already eaten a whole swordfish steak, plus portions of parsnip soup, onion bhaji, prawn cocktail, and two pieces of goat’s cheese bruschetta, and there was still a whole platter left to go! I was on the verge of slipping into a food coma at the table, but there was no going back now – it was pudding time. 

Napoleons Casino pudding

First up was a small pot of gingered apple and plum crumble with vanilla custard. The crumble and custard were light, and the fruit filling was a nice mix of tart and sweet, although I couldn’t really taste the ginger. 

The second mini pudding was a portion of dense chocolate brownie. The brownie had a very rich, strong chocolate flavour without being overly sweet. My only grumble is that the brownie was a bit dry on its own; a drizzle of chocolate sauce would have been appreciated.

I’d saved the best until last, because the final pudding was a warm ginger cake, complete with a drizzle of sweet and spicy ginger sauce. The cake itself was lovely and moist, and tasted really strongly of ginger, which I love. This is a very satisfying pud that’s perfect for the colder months. I’m looking forward to paying a repeat visit to Napoleons just so I can order a full-sized piece of this cake!

Food dispatched, there was just enough time for a complimentary £5 spin on the roulette wheel (which I didn’t win) and then it was time to head home.

I was really impressed by Napoleons’ new menu. When you’re in the mood for a slap up meal, this casino may not be the first place that springs to mind, but they serve quality food with plenty of restaurant flourishes – case in point, that quirky parsnip cappuccino. You also can’t complain about the prices, as you can get a three course meal for either £19 or £21, depending on whether you dine on a weekday or a weekend. For the quality of food Napoleons serves, this is a bargain!

If you’re planning a visit to Napoleons Owlerton, I can highly recommend you eat there too. In fact, even if you’re not planning on visiting the casino, it’s worth taking a look at the menu anyway – you may just surprise yourself and pay Napoleons a visit for the food alone!

four-stars

A Foodie Adventure

October 7, 2013 at 7:35 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 2 Comments
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Recently, we were lucky enough to get an invite to a ‘Foodie Adventure,’ which promised a tantalising evening of eating, drinking and trying our luck at Sheffield’s casinos and dog track. The night would start at Napoleon’s Owlerton where we’d get a roulette lesson, not to mention our first course, before the fun moved next door to the Owlerton Stadium dog track, where it was all about the main meal and a flutter on the dogs, before wrapping things up with a pudding at Napoleon’s Ecclesall Road. Even better, all of the money raised during the evening would go to the Sheffield Food Bank – what’s not to like?

I have to admit that before my Foodie Adventure, my entire experience of casinos and dog racing came down to a single trip to Owlerton Stadium, where I placed a few 50p bets and went home with a whopping £1 profit. My experience of eating in these sort of venues was even more limited (read: completely non-existent) so, I had absolutely no idea what to expect when I stepped off the tram and Google-Mapped my way to the first venue.

If you’ve never visited Napoleon’s Owlerton on Livesey Street before, the outside has a bit of hotel vibe, with lots of fountains, shiny stone surfaces and Chinese lanterns – but with a lot more neon lights than you’d expect from your average hotel!

First on the itinerary, was a quick drink in Napoleon’s bar. The bar area is compact but stylish, with super-shiny surfaces, lights and glittering booze bottles in every direction, not to mention a big sign proudly proclaiming that they serve booze until the eye-watering hour of 5am!

The cosy, glossy bar area really sets the tone for an evening at Napoleon’s, as when we made our way through to the restaurant area, we were met with yet more shiny wood and clever lighting, which creates the feeling of an intimate restaurant. Napoleon’s are clearly making the effort to create a dining experience that contradicts any preconceived notions about the kind of food a casino might serve. The menu too, works hard to impress and is bursting with lots of upmarket-sounding ingredients: mojito syrup, ruby port, and thyme jus, to name a few.

Not wanting to spoil my appetite so early in the evening, I played it conservative and ordered the mozzarella, tomato and rocket salad, which came with a flourish of basil, capers and balsamic vinegar.

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Napoleon’s tomato salad has nothing in common with the boring iceberg-lettuce-and-grated-carrot side salads you sometimes get when eating out, and it actually turned out to be my highlight of the entire night, food-wise! The tomato was fresh and full of flavour, while the cheese was surprisingly light. The amount of basil, oil and capers on the plate was carefully balanced to complement the tomato and mozzarella, rather than overpowering them. Who said salads had to be boring? If I ever find myself back at Napoleon’s, I’ll definitely order this again!

At the other end of the table, it was all about the Thai spiced fish goujons and sweet chilli dip.

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The batter was light and completely free of grease, just what you want to kick off a three course meal, and the chilli dip was a nicely tangy accompaniment!

After finishing our starters, there was just enough time for a quick roulette lesson, before heading next door to Owlerton Stadium, Penistone Road. I’ve visited the stadium before, but only made it as far as the bar and betting window, so it was interesting to see more of the stadium.

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After being teased with the fantastic views available to those in the Executive Boxes, it seemed inevitable that our table in the Panorama Restaurant would be a rude return to Earth. Surprisingly, it wasn’t – the restaurant was heaving and had the sort of atmosphere that hits you the second you walk in, and even though it wasn’t the top-dollar Executive Box, the Panorama Restaurant still had impressive views over the entire track.

The stadium runs a bargain £17 deal that includes admission fee, a table at the Panorama Restaurant, a three course meal, and your own tote runner who places all of your bets for you (and delivers your winnings, if you strike it lucky!) Although we only spent our main course at the dog track, it was clear that a full evening here would be a lot of fun.

But what about the food? I ordered a filling pancake cannelloni of roasted aubergine, courgette and asparagus, topped with a thick two cheese sauce. Beneath that cheesy exterior, were big chunks of veg and lots of pasta, not to mention lashings of that extra-cheesy sauce. A very stodgy and satisfying main, perfect for the winter months.

My dining companion’s meal of chargrilled sirloin steak with bourguignon garnish, ruby port and thyme jus was just as tasty.

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The generous lump of meat was served on a bed of chunky, buttery veggies and nicely-salted bacon bits. The meat was charred on the outside, but melt-in-the-mouth and perfectly cooked on the inside. In fact, the meat was so pink and juicy, it deserves its very own photo:

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The main meals were served with a platter of vegetables and side orders, which included crispy roast potatoes, broccoli and cauliflower smothered in cheese sauce, and cabbage cooked in lashings of butter and mixed up with more bacon bits – a tummy-warming, calorie-packed treat.

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But, our Foodie Adventure was drawing to a close, and the only thing left to do was pop over to Napoleon’s Ecclesall Road for pud. Although most of the puddings on offer are of the sweet variety, you can also get that old savoury favourite: the cheese board. The cheese board in question is made up of mature cheddar, stilton and brie served alongside crackers, chutney, celery and grapes.

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It’s a sensible size for one person to enjoy, or an after-dinner snack to share between two.

So, what did I learn from my first real foray into the world of betting and feasting at Sheffield’s casinos and dog track? Firstly, a meal and a tote runner at Owlerton is a fun, different night out, (even if you’re not particularly into betting, like me) and secondly, the food is completely different to how I’d imagined.

All three venues are working hard to counteract those pesky misconceptions about the kind of food you can get at casinos and the races – and it pays off. Far from being convenience food you grab and munch inbetween the fun, the food at all three venues is worth sitting down and taking your time over. If you’re planning a trip to either venue, why not make an evening of it and eat there, too? Just make sure you try the tomato and mozzarella salad while you’re there!

rating-3-star

The Sheaf Island

May 27, 2012 at 2:20 pm | Posted in Pub Grub | Leave a comment
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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.

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