When I was a kid, joy was the pick and mix counter at BHS on a Saturday afternoon, writes Jo Davison.
Paper bag in hand, I’d spend ages trying to choose. The menu at city centre bar The Wick at Both Ends poses a similar dilemma. It’s one tapas-style dish for £3.95 or three for a tenner, there’s a choice of 13 – and we want them all!
Unusually, there’s nothing Spanish here. Chef Alex Malins has given a True Brit theme to this quirky West Street venue.
“I wanted to push well beyond the obvious pub grub of sausage and mash and create interesting dishes inspired by the British Isles,” says Alex. New mains on a menu featuring only locally-sourced, seasonal ingredients include lamb rump with hotpot potato stack and an all-day breakfast of wild boar sausages, deep-fried duck egg, black-pudding mash and home-made baked beans (£7.50).
There’s a new lunchtime sandwich selection (hand-made fish finger butties, £4.75, rump steak with wholegrain mustard mayo, £5.95). We can’t resist the Wick & mix.
We choose six, which the waiter said would suffice. He was a pleasant chap – attentive and efficient, but not in your face – which matched the ethos of the place. The West Street Bar has a relaxed vibe, even on busy Saturday afternoons and at night, when revellers descend.
Suddenly we are surrounded by little plates of food. We follow protocol and start with the fish – fingers of soft, moist coley deep-fried in crunchy beer batter with minted pea puree and two ramekins of Welsh cockle pie.
Puffed pastry lids give way to a rich, creamy sauce with leek, bacon and seafood. The ploughman’s terrine has coarse triangles cut from a hand-made slab, the flavour isn’t too heavy on the liver and perfectly matched by tangy apricot chutney.
This abundance suits a menu-ditherer like me. Honey and mustard-glazed chicken wings and drumsticks are big, sticky and meaty, studded with bursts of mustard seed. Finally there’s excellent little mini cottage pies topped with creamy mash.
We finish with a thick and creamy home-made vanilla cheesecake, £3.95. Enough to satisfy a sweet tooth. The bill was £34.65.
Food Review Stars
My marks out of five:
Wick At Both Ends: 151 West Street, Sheffield, S1 4EW
CONTACT: 0114 272 3039, www.thewickatbothends.co.uk
DETAILS: No car park, cards accepted
OPENING: Food served 12pm-9pm Monday-Friday, 12pm-8pm Weekends. Bar open 12-2am Monday-Saturday, 12pm-1am Sunday.