Wick at Both Ends

May 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 1 Comment
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Big changes are afoot at the Wick at Both Ends. Although I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few Wick menu launches, this is probably the most dramatic menu change I’ve ever seen from the Wick at Both Ends.

Not only is their new menu completely different (more on that in a moment) but after chatting to some of the Wick’s staff it became clear that their opening hours and kitchen staff are different, too. The Wick no longer opens during the day Monday-Friday, and as someone who doesn’t work the traditional Monday-Friday, 9-5, that makes me pretty sad. Secondly, they have a completely new kitchen team, which may explain why the new menu is so, well, new.

I didn’t get the chance to look at the Wick’s latest menu in advance, so I was a bit surprised when I arrived and was handed a single-sheet menu divided into Snacks, Bar Bites, Small Plates and Sweets – not a main course in sight!

Since the Wick have done away with main courses completely, this also means that the day has finally come: they’ve taken their goat’s cheese and flat field mushroom burger off the menu, which was my favourite. This makes me sadder than it probably should.  

We decided to start by seeing what the Bar Bites were all about. I went for Spiced Hummus, Sumac and Flatbread (£3.50).

wick at both ends hummus

This is fantastic value for money – just look at all that hummus! If you’re feeling peckish after one too many Wick cocktails, then this would be perfect to order for yourself, or you could even share it with a friend as there’s more than enough hummus to go around.

Despite being described as “spiced hummus,” I didn’t find this particularly spicy, so I do wish the hummus packed more of a punch! Interestingly, the hummus seems to have been made with peanut butter, as it has that thick, smooth and distinctly peanut butter texture. This made it the perfect consistency for spreading on the accompanying slices of bread, which had been toasted to crunchy perfection.

This is a seriously filling, and very tasty snack, with more than enough hummus and bread to share, if you’re feeling generous.

My friend went for Bacon Jam, Apple and Sourdough (£5.00).

wick at both ends bacon jam

The bacon jam was seriously salty, but that worked well with the refreshing, crisp slivers of green apple. Once again, this is great value for money, and for a humble bar snack, it was really nicely presented.

We also wanted to see what the Small Plates were all about, so we ordered a round of these, as well. My friend picked the Blade of Beef, Enoki Mushroom, Onion and Dashi (£7.00), and once again the Wick deserve top marks for presentation!  

wick at both ends blade of beef

Randomly, the onions were the best thing on this plate, which may have something to do with the dashi. Dashi isn’t something I’m familiar with, but according to good old Google it’s a Japanese broth that forms the basis of miso soup (yum, yum) which might explain why these onions were so strong, and so delicious.

For the price, there was a good amount of beef on the plate, although my friend said the beef was a bit more well done than they’d have liked.

For my small plate, I’d gone for the Sea Trout, with Camomile Butter, Sorrel and Leeks (£7.00). Yet again, the Wick put that little extra bit of effort into their presentation.

wick at both ends sea trout

The trout was cooked to perfection; it was tender and juicy and fell apart the second I cut into it. The accompanying camomile butter had melted into an indulgent, flavour-packed sauce. Even better, the trout and leeks had been sat soaking in this sauce, so they’d absorbed all those delicious, buttery flavours. The leeks in particular were melt-in-the-mouth soft and oozing with yummy melted butter. Why can’t all veggies be served in lashings of camomile butter?

My only complaint is that there isn’t an option to have the trout and leeks as a main meal, because I’d devour a full-sized portion of this!

The latest menu from the Wick doesn’t feel so much like a new menu, as it does a new direction for the Wick at Both Ends. The Wick may have been serving tapas-style small plates for a while now, but it’s always been alongside more traditional main meals, and the focus on nibbles and bar snacks is completely new.

This menu seems to be designed to tempt you into ordering some snacks to go with your drinks, rather than getting you to book a table and head to the Wick for dinner. As someone who’s prone to the beer munchies, I can imagine nipping into the Wick for a few drinks and being tempted by a few things off the Snacks and Bar Bites section, particularly since it’s such good value for money.

It’s also nice to see a restaurant being more experimental with their nibbles, because there’s only so many times you can share a bowl of chips, onion rings, or nachos with toppings, before you start craving something a little bit different.

Not going to lie though, I wish they’d kept that burger!

rating-3-star

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The Wick at Both Ends: Spring/Summer 2015

May 4, 2015 at 5:24 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | Leave a comment
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This review is long overdue, due to my phone going whappy and losing all my photos – including those I took at the Wick at Both Ends’ new menu launch.

Thankfully my phone is now back up and running, so I can (finally) share my thoughts on the Wick’s new spring/summer menu!

The new menu has the same rustic, gastro pub feel of previous Wick menus, although there does seem to be more meat and fish this time around. The Wick at Both Ends haven’t completely forgotten about vegetarians, though – there are a couple of veggie-friendly mains inbetween all the ox tail and kidney pies, sausage and mash, and butter roasted plaice. There’s also a selection of meat-free sandwiches, plus the Wick’s trusty flat field mushroom and goat’s cheese burger, which has been my favourite thing to order there for years. If the Wick ever get rid of their mushroom burger, I’ll be very sad.

One thing I’ve noticed about the Wick’s menus, is that the starters tend to be more adventurous than the mains. The spring/summer menu is no exception, featuring unusual starters such as pan fried calves liver, pickled mackerel, and pistachio and prune terrine.

One starter that really caught my eye was the warm potted crab (£5.50). I love potted shrimp but I’ve never tried potted crab before, so I knew I had to give this a go.

This is a big starter!

the wick at both ends potted crab

My ramekin was jam-packed with lots of fresh and tasty crab meat that had a lovely, velvety texture. If you’re not a fan of strong seafood then you should probably give this one a miss, as the crab is seriously strong.

My only issue with the potted crab is that it’s just so filling! After I’d used the accompanying slices of bread and butter to scrape up every last morsel of delicious crab, I was left wondering how I was going to find room for my main course.

This is such a generous portion that I think the potted crab would work really well as a stand alone snack – possibly after one too many Wick cocktails have given you a case of the beer munchies!

For a seafood fanatic like myself, this potted crab starter felt like the ultimate treat. In fact, I have a few seafood-loving friends who I’m going to drag to the Wick at the earliest opportunity, because I know they’ll love this starter every bit as much as I did.

For my main course, I continued the fish and seafood theme with some Smoked Haddock Kedgeree (£8.95).

This wasn’t just the first time I’d had kedgeree at the Wick, it was the first time I’d had kedgeree ever, so I was really looking forward to trying something completely new.

The Wick’s vibrant yellow kedgeree is certainly nice to look at.

wick at both ends kedgeree

I’d found the potted crab a bit heavy going, but this kedgeree was even richer. This is another massive portion, and the rice is really rich and creamy. Like the potted crab, this is food strictly for those who enjoy strong, fishy flavours.

Even though I was getting uncomfortably full, I just couldn’t stop eating this. The Wick’s kedgeree really is too good to waste.

Meanwhile, my friend had opted for the 8oz Onglet Steak (£11.50), which was another new addition to the Wick’s menu.

After some Googling it became clear that onglet steak is the same as hanger steak, which they’ve also just started serving at the Wick’s sister venue, Anchorage (if you’re interested, Anchorage’s hanger steak is amazing and you can read about it here).

The Wick’s onglet steak has a really intense, rich flavour. If you like your steak, then you need to try this onglet/hanger cut, as it’s stronger and tastier than your average steak.

wick at both ends onglet

The onglet steak came with a stack of chubby, perfectly-seasoned chips, a super-sized serving of parsley butter, and a token bit of greenery in the form of some grilled baby gem lettuce. These are all pretty standard sides when you order a steak, but then the Wick throw a curveball by adding a single battered oyster to the plate.

The oyster was nicely cooked and had a really intense flavour (this seems to be a theme with the Wick’s new menu!) but there’s no getting around the fact that this is more batter than oyster.

Now, I know that for £11.50 you can’t expect such a fantastic steak, fat chips and a pile of oysters, and yes oysters are always going to look smaller with the shell removed – but this single battered oyster did look a bit odd on its own.

wick at both ends battered oyster

Despite mixed feelings about the battered oyster, the onglet steak was well received, and for the price you do get a big plateful of grub and a superb cut of meat.

The Wick’s latest menu continues the tradition of big portions of quality food at reasonable prices, with a few quirky ingredients thrown into the mix. The starters are on the pricier side, but my potted crab starter was worth every penny.

The Wick is one of my favourite places to grab a bite to eat in the city centre, and judging by how much I loved their kedgeree and potted crab starter, this isn’t about to change anytime soon.

If you haven’t already, you can check out the Wick’s new menu online.

four stars

Anchorage Bar

October 11, 2014 at 3:13 pm | Posted in Restaurants | 2 Comments
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When I heard that Anchorage, a new ‘East Coast’ restaurant, had opened in West One Plaza, I was looking forward to trying somewhere new – and that’s before I even realised this venue is part of the Harley and Wick at Both Ends family. The Harley and the Wick are two of my favourite places to eat in Sheffield, so when I realised Anchorage was related to these two, I couldn’t wait to give it a go!

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First impressions of Anchorage Bar were positive. It’s a bright and airy venue, with the same quirky touches and indie charm I love so much about the Wick at Both Ends.

If you’re a fan of the Wick, like I am, the cocktail menu will feel instantly familiar, as a couple of Wick cocktails have made the transition to Anchorage Bar. This doesn’t mean the drinks menu is a carbon copy, as Anchorage also offers a large and unique selection of imported beers, plus a very special prosecco sharer that’s actually served in a lobster cage!

This ‘Mo Money Mo Problems’ is described as “the ultimate sharer” and, since it apparently consists of a whole bottle of prosecco, 6 shots, plus the aforementioned lobster cage, it sounds like it lives up to that description! I was dying to see what this beast actually looks like but sadly, at £40 it’s not exactly the sort of thing you order on a whim!

Despite this being my very first visit to a brand-new venue, I have to admit I ended up ordering a cocktail I’ve already had many times at the Wick at Both Ends – a Corpse Reviver (£7).

This deceptively-dainty looking drink is a potent blend of Buffalo Trace, Cointreau, Lillet Blanc and Absinthe. Sadly, my Corpse Reviver was nothing like the “guaranteed to raise the dead” cocktail I remembered from the Wick. It tasted overpoweringly of lemon, and didn’t pack half the punch I’d been expecting. I haven’t ordered a Corpse Reviver in a while, so it’s possible the Wick have changed their recipe, or maybe Anchorage’s barman was simply having a bad day. Either way, I switched to wine for the rest of the evening rather than risk ordering another cocktail.

Since this was my first visit to Anchorage, I took my time scrutinising the food menu. In addition to the usual Starters, Mains, and Desserts sections, the menu also includes an enormous deli section made up of 6 inch subs, deli sandwiches, and a “build your own” board of cheeses and meats. For me, the meat and cheese board is the most exciting thing on the deli menu, as it comes with pickles, focaccia and squid ink bread. When summer rolls around, I can’t think of anything better than sharing a board of cheese and squid ink bread, with a cheeky bottle of wine on the side.

Sadly, summer isn’t about to roll around anytime soon – in fact, by the time I’d read through the deli menu and polished off my sour Corpse Reviver, it had already grown dark outside.

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It was high time we got serious and actually ordered some food! I opted for some comfort food, in the form of a Mac and Cheese burger (£8).

Anchorage Bar mac and cheese burger

I’ll admit the first time I saw a Mac and Cheese burger on a menu, I thought it sounded hideous. But then curiosity got the better of me and I ordered my first ever mac and cheese burger. I loved it, and have been ordering them ever since.

Anchorage’s version of a mac and cheese burger is incredibly strong. Whatever cheese they use in these burgers, it’s strong and salty, and has a tanginess that reminded me of blue cheese. If you like your cheese mild, then you should avoid this burger! For me, when it comes to cheese it’s a case of the stronger the better, so I loved the taste of this burger. The patty had been cooked just right too, which was a relief – no one wants soggy pasta or overcooked, rubbery cheese in their burger.

Anchorage’s mac and cheese burger is a filling and stodgy carb-fest. Just a few bites in, I knew there was no way I’d be able to eat it all. This is comfort food at its best, but I’d only order this again if I was seriously hungry, because this is one heavy burger!

My dining companion had also ordered a burger, but instead of pasta and cheese, their burger patty was made from 35 day, dry-aged beef, topped with a wedge of melted cheese (£8.50). Clearly, the Anchorage chefs aren’t worried about your waistline!

Anchorage Bar beef burger

This burger got a big thumbs up for the generous helping of cheese, and the thickly-glazed brioche bun.

We left Anchorage absolutely stuffed and, apart from that dodgy Corpse Reviver, feeling like we’d got good value for money. I’m already planning a second visit so I can sample that delicious-sounding deli menu!

Suffice to say, Anchorage is already well on its way to joining the Wick and the Harley as one of my favourite places to dine and drink in Sheffield.

four-stars

The Wick at Both Ends

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

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

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

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

Wick beef burger with bacon

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

Wick at Both Ends burger

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

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

Wick beef burger

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

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

Basically, I love everything about this burger.

Wick mushroom burger

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

Roast cauliflower, broccoli and quinoa salad

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

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

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

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

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

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

4 and a half

The Wick at Both Ends: Spring/Summer Menu Launch

March 29, 2014 at 8:43 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 2 Comments
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When I’m umm-ing and arr-ing over a place to eat, the Wick at Both Ends on West Street always crops up sooner or later. It’s one of those places that always ticks all the right boxes: good atmosphere, lots of comfy booths, nice decor, a large cocktail menu, pleasant staff, and a food menu that has something for everyone. Basically, I love everything about the Wick; so when an invite to the launch of their new Spring/Summer menu arrived in my inbox, I was pretty excited.

Wick fans will be happy to hear that the always-awesome Wick burgers are still present and accounted for on the new menu, and the starters look as interesting as ever, with pork cheek faggots, vegan cheddar, and red pepper sabayon all making an appearance. Since summer is just around the corner (hopefully), salad and fish features more heavily than on previous menus, but the Wick hasn’t completely done away with the comfort food, so on chilly days you can still warm up with mash, roast lamb, gravy, and belly pork.

But, every good meal starts with a drink. We kicked things off with a refreshing Double Grape Martini (£5.75), a summery blend of white wine, vodka and vanilla. This is the ideal light drink to accompany a heavy meal, and it went down very easily. Also arriving at our table, was a Corpse Reviver #2 (£7.00). On the menu, this blend of Portabello Gin, Cointreau, Noilly Prat, and Absinthe is described as “guaranteed to bring you back to life.” The Wick aren’t kidding! This is a firecracker of a cocktail, in a deceptively dainty glass.

Wick at Both Ends cocktails

When you’ve visited a place multiple times, you can fall into the routine of ordering the same thing time and time again (for me, it’s the Wick’s delicious mushroom burger), so I resolved to break out of my rut, and opted for a salad of glazed beetroot with goat’s cheese and pine nuts, in a balsamic vinaigrette (£7.25). This is a “proper” salad, where dressed leaves make up the majority of the dish.

Wick at Both Ends salad

I love goat’s cheese, and the Wick’s is some of the best I’ve ever tasted. This goat’s cheese is like bombs of pure, melt-in-the-mouth indulgence, wrapped in a lightly-toasted exterior. Biting through the rubbery, toasted cheese, into its oozing center, is something everyone should experience at least once in their lifetime. Amazing.

The rest of this dish is a salad of mixed leaves, doused in a vinaigrette that gives the salad a tangy edge, and finished off with chunks of beetroot and a teeny sprinkle of toasted pine nuts. The whole thing sits on a bed of beetroot that’s so thinly-sliced, it has a semi-transparent pattern of alternating pink and white bands. The beetroot also has a woody taste and texture, which was unexpected. I love it when places take an everyday vegetable and make it taste like something new.

The goat’s cheese and beetroot salad is a very light dish, with some quirky touches, although I’d have preferred larger portions of the cheese and pine nuts, as these are the ingredients that stand the best chance of filling you up. Overall though, this is a great, summery salad – just don’t order it if you’re ravenous!

At the other end of the table, it was like winter all over again, with a plate full of roast belly pork and bubble and squeak, served with roasted apple, chutney and cider sauce (£8.50). The Wick clearly set out to wow with this dish. Mission accomplished – it looks fantastic!

Wick at Both Ends pork belly

The generous portion of meat was tender and juicy, and the cider sauce was a welcome change from the usual gravy or jus.

The promised bubble and squeak turned out to be a portion of mashed potatoes with some boiled cabbage mixed in, rather than the mash and fried veggies I’d always understood bubble and squeak to be. Despite this, the Wick’s take on bubble and squeak was still pure comfort food.

The real star of this dish, is the roasted apple. Whenever I’ve roasted apples, it’s always gone wrong, with hard, uncooked centers or mushy exteriors. Clearly, I need to take lessons from the Wick, because this apple was cooked to perfection and had a lovely flavour.

If you’re in the mood for classy comfort food, it doesn’t get any better than the Wick’s pork, cider sauce, mash and roasted apple. The words “best meal I’ve ever had” were even uttered!

Due to my light main course, I was still peckish, and so couldn’t resist checking out the dessert menu. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, so when I spotted the cheese board, I knew this was the “pudding” for me. The Wick at Both Ends puts a nice spin on their cheese board, by letting you construct your own board from a selection of cheeses (a trio of cheeses will cost you £5.95). I opted for the Y-Fenni Mustard & Ale, Godminster Brie, and the How’s ‘yer Father Lancashire.

My cheese board was served with that funky, rustic flair that the Wick do so well, arriving on a heavy slate, alongside a bowl of chutney, celery sticks, and a hexagonal arrangement of oatmeal crackers.

Wick at Both Ends cheese board

The chutney was particularly good. It was homemade, and struck that perfect balance between fruity sweetness, and sour notes. Cheese, chutney, crackers and celery is always a winning combination, and it’s clear that the Wick use top quality ingredients.

We also ordered a sweet pudding, in the form of a caramel cheesecake, which came with homemade pear sorbet and caramel sauce (£4.75).

Wick at Both Ends cheesecake

The cheesecake was indulgent, and had the kind of creaminess that makes you savour every bite. This rich cheesecake was perfectly complemented by the fresh, icy sorbet.

It’s difficult to pick fault with the Wick at Both Ends. While the portion of cheese and pine nuts on my salad was on the small side, and I wouldn’t have said no to bigger wedges of cheese on my cheeseboard, the quality of the ingredients, and the obvious care that’s put into preparing each dish, means that the portions are reasonable for what you pay.

I’ve eaten at the Wick a couple of times, through multiple menu changes, and have tucked into everything from tapas, to Sunday roasts, pies, and burgers – and I’ve never once had a bad meal.

The Wick really do serve some of the best grub in Sheffield, and I can’t wait to return and sample more of their new menu.

 four

Wick At Both Ends: Sunday Lunch

October 27, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Posted in Pub Grub, Restaurants | 2 Comments
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There are few things in life as comforting as a Sunday lunch, and The Wick at Both Ends on West Street really big theirs up, with the claim that they do a Sunday roast “as good as your Nan’s.”

For those not already in the know, The Wick at Both Ends is a quirky West Street venue kitted out with mismatched armchairs and some of the comfiest corner booths you’re likely to find in a pub. The bar is decked out with fairy lights the whole year round, there’s plenty of arty graffiti on the walls, and table decorations fashioned out of peacock feathers, flowers and old liquor bottles. There’s also a stash of oldschool board games, if you fancy whiling away an afternoon playing Bizzy Bizzy Bumble Bees or Connect Four. This cosy West Street venue clearly has bags of character, but are the food and drink up to scratch?

The Wick’s menu is a three-headed beast of main courses, tapas and Sunday roasts. The main meals and tapas in particular offer a quirky take on standard pub fare; tapas-lovers can enjoy a Carpaccio of Smoked Venison, soup served in teacups or Bloody Mary Stuffed Mushrooms, while the main courses include a fresh take on that old classic Ham, Egg and Chips. However, we visited on a Sunday, so it only seemed fitting to give their roasts a whirl.

At £7.95 for the meat option and £6.95 for the vegetarian alternative, the Wick are pitching at the upper end of what you’d be willing to pay for Sunday lunch, but with a menu that boasts “real” Yorkshire puddings, lashings of gravy and locally sourced meat, it promises to deliver. Carnivores get a choice of meats, whereas veggies have just one option for their Sunday roast. This is pretty standard, but is worth bearing in mind if your party includes a fussy non-meat eater.

In addition to its offerings of tapas, roasts and main courses, the Wick at Both Ends has an exhaustive cocktail menu. Even cocktail experts should be able to find something new and exciting on the menu (a tipple made from thyme, apricot liqueur, gin, lemon juice and egg white, anyone?)

Cocktails may not be the traditional Sunday dinner aperitifs, but I couldn’t resist and ordered myself a Tow The Lime (£6.00)

This refreshing cocktail puts a fresh slant on the Moscow mule by adding homemade lime liqueur and freshly-squeezed kiwi juice. A Dark and Stormy (£5.00) was also on the cards, which was topped off with plenty of fiery ginger beer. Just what the doctor ordered on a gloomy Sunday afternoon!

The Wick at Both Ends has an enviable cocktail menu, and many of the cocktails utilize a long list of fresh fruits and herbs. If you’re a cocktail fan, you’ll be happy to spend whole afternoons and evenings working your way through the Wick’s menu. However, it is worth noting that many of the cocktails – especially the fruity ones – aren’t particularly strong. If you’re used to getting headspin from a single cocktail, then you’re better off sticking to the less extravagant options, such as the Dark and Stormy.

Halfway through our cocktails, the Sunday dinners arrived at the table. Initial impressions were mixed, for the price we’d been hoping for a belly-busting mountain of food. Both meals came with carrots and spinach, a couple of roasties, a homemade Yorkshire pud and gravy, but we agreed that the plate was missing another Yorkshire pudding, or even a few more roasties. Still, you can’t knock the Wick’s Sunday dinner for taste: the carrots in particular were delicious, tasting as though they’d been cooked in butter (you need a little fat in your Sunday lunch when it’s cold outside!) then rubbed with cracked black pepper and sea salt. Possibly the most unhealthy veggies in the world, but they were gobbled up in no time.

Now, it’s clear from the photo that the Yorkshire pudding didn’t look particularly appetizing. I was expecting a puffed-up, lumpy homemade Yorkie, but what I got was a deflated curl of batter with a suspiciously dark crust. But, never judge a Yorkshire pud by its sad, deflated cover, because the Wick’s Yorkies are delicious. A little on the burnt side, and not the prettiest of puddings, but when soaked in a little gravy the batter melted in the mouth and had that satisfying, homemade taste.

But onto the real star of my Sunday dinner – the veggie wellington. I’m not a massive pastry fan, but the Wick’s pastry was light and crispy, and soaked up oodles of flavour from the gravy. The filling was a stodgy, gut-busting blend of cheese, spinach and mushrooms. It looked a little grey and unappetizing, but the filling was actually chock full of flavour and settled in my stomach, a warm wodge of calorie-laden comfort food. I usually avoid pastry dishes, but I scraped up every last bit of gravy-sodden veggie wellington. Even if you’re a carnivore, I can heartily recommend the Wick’s vegetarian wellington.

If you’re craving some animal protein you’re in for a treat too, as the meat-eaters’ Sunday roast comes with the same buttery carrots, spinach, crispy roasties and homemade Yorkshire pudding plus, of course, hearty slices of meat (in this instance beef.) The roast beef had been cut in thick, generous slabs, and arrived at the table tender and tasty. Although a little pinker than some diners would like, there were no complaints from our table.

The Wick is a fun, distinctive venue with friendly staff and plenty of atmosphere. There’s always a few people in the cosy corner booths even on weekday afternoons, and it’s easy to see why. The cocktail menu is one of the most diverse in the city and, with three different menus to choose from, it’s not just on the cocktail-front where you’re spoilt for choice. The Sunday roasts are a little pricey, but that’s understandable when you take into account the clear quality of the grub. Hearty, tasty, and satisfying comfort food – perfect for the long winter months.

A Sunday roast where even the carrots and spinach are delicious, who’d have thought it possible?

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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