It’s almost exactly five years since celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay waved farewell to Sheffield’s new Silversmiths restaurant, transformed as part of his Kitchen Nightmares series.
Things have changed since then: the head chef moved on, new staff joined and the restaurant has gradually developed its own distinctive character.
Today, Silversmiths is well established, both in its team and its offer.
“Five years for us is a huge achievement,” says founder Justin Rowntree. “At the time of the TV series I had less than six months left before I’d have gone bankrupt. But from the blueprint I was given, we’ve realised this vision.”
And it supports other small businesses too, through its policy of specialising in local produce: from Sheffield Honey and the Schoolrooms butcher at Lower Bradfield, to Whirlow Hall and Coppice House farms.
“Our strapline is ‘selectors of fine Yorkshire ingredients’ and that’s what we live and die by,” says Justin.
“The customers see that we’re keeping money in the local economy and really respond to that.”
The restaurant values its customers and is celebrating its fifth anniversary by giving loyal diners a birthday card – which will entitle them to a different treat each time they eat at Silversmiths throughout the coming year.
“The big thing for me is giving back to the customers. We wouldn’t be here without them, so we wanted to say thank you.”
It’s a policy endorsed by the whole Silversmiths ‘family’ – from head of house Simon Clarke (who first met Justin when they were students at High Storrs School) to the lowliest kitchen porter.
Head chef Lee Mangles joined the team four years ago, having worked in local restaurants for most of his career – apart from a year at St Andrew’s Old Course Hotel, then rated one of the top 20 in the world.
“Silversmiths is a great place to work. It’s good to be part of such a close team and I feel there are exciting times ahead,” he says.
Since taking charge of the kitchen last year, he has put his mark on the menu with dishes including his signature slow braised lamb, which he serves with with milk poached sweetbreads, wilted Savoy cabbage and carrot textures.
“I got a couple of lamb breasts in to play about with and it evolved from there,” he says.
“I love this dish as it can follow the seasons – I can use lamb, hogget or even mutton as it’s cooked for a long time, and I change the vegetables to match.”
Try Lee’s recipe for yourself – see right of page.
Slow Braised Lamb Breast with milk poached sweetbreads, wilted Savoy cabbage and carrot textures
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 lamb / hogget / mutton breast approx 1.5kg 100g sweetbreads ½ Savoy cabbage, shredded 12 Chantilly carrots
4 ordinary carrots, chopped
100ml milk sprig of rosemary
sprig of thyme 2 cloves garlic
butter & seasoning Method
Remove ribs from the breast (most butchers will do this for you), trim off any excess fat, season and roll tightly into a sausage shape in cling film, tie each end. Place in a slow cooker or ovenproof dish and cover with water. Add a sprig of rosemary and garlic, cover and cook overnight (approx 10-12 hours at 110ºC). Remove from liquid, allow to cool, then re-roll and chill. (Save the poaching liquid for carrots.)
Place sweetbreads in a pan, cover with milk, add thyme, gently bring to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Plunge in cold water (this stops them overcooking), then peel off any fat or sinew.
Put Chantilly carrots in a pan, cover with the poaching liquid, cook until tender.
Place remaining peeled and chopped carrots in a pan, add enough poaching liquor to cover, then boil until tender. Place in a food processer and blitz until smooth, add butter and season to taste.
Put the thinly-chopped cabbage into a pan with butter, salt and pepper, gently fry until soft .
Portion the chilled breast into 4 equal pieces in an oven-proof pan, fry each side to seal, then add carrots and sweetbreads. Place the entire pan in pre-heated oven at 200ºC for approx 10 minutes. Meanwhile heat the purée and cabbage (pan or microwave is fine). Place the puree on one side of the plate, place breast on top, pile up cabbage next to the lamb, top with sweetbreads and Chantilly. Serve with rosemary or Henderson’s gravy. Carrot peelings can be used as a deep fried crispy garnish.
* See Lee Mangles on our Shef’s #Cookbook web feature: Lee Mangles