Pointing Dog Clubhouse... It sounds very English county set, all plaids and tweeds.
Housed in a splendid Victorian building that was for 50 years Ecclesall Road’s Polish Ex-Servicemen’s Club, the old club membership policy is still in force. You have to sign up on line, or at the door - a rule which adds an air of exclusivity while saving the owners the hassle of changing the license, and is befitting of the name.
But the design of this huge new £1.5m bar and restaurant, which opened last week and is already the city’s go-to destination, is semi-industrial New York vibe. Bare plaster walls, graphic metalwork, factory and studio-style lighting and a mesh-clad bar reputed to be the largest in the city.
It works. The venue, with its elevated position on Eccy Road, smack opposite Nonna’s and a few doors from the owners’ other Sheffield establishment, Mud Crab, is bathed with light and the eye is led through its space and simplicity by eye-catching textural finishes. .
At Sheffield-based Pointing Dog Group’s third site (others are in Bakewell and Cheadle Hulme), chef is Christopher Lawrie, a Sheffield Castle College Young Chef of the Year, who worked at the Ritz in London and Michelin-starred Surrey venue Stovells.
After a drink at the bar (local ales include a custom made, K-9 by Bradfield Brewery) we pass through the central core of the building, which pays homage to its roots with wall panelling and the original, grand entrance, to the 150-seater dining room, which feels a bit cold and echoey.
It’s early days for staff but we find them polite and eager to please. One hands us little brown paper squares that unfold into great big menus. Ingredients are locally sourced and mostly, cooked on a wood-fired char-grill. Signature dishes are American - huge, bespoke cuts of local steak - extremely pricy at £40-50, but the idea is two people share, grilled lobster from £15 and soft shell crab. There are Pan-Asian, French, English and Italian influences, too. Lobster has sold out, darn, but my £6.75 Chilli Squid Taco - diced mango and avocado, spicy slaw and tender squid - is pretty but the squid’s batter is underdone. The Husband’s truffle oil-laced porcini on brioche are simply divine - a snip at £5. I do char-grilled steak the less calorific way, with an on-the-money £14 shredded flat iron steak salad; loads of tender, flavour-packed beef on char-grilled veg with rocket and gremolata dressing. He has prawn, chorizo, chicken and monkfish skewers, £15 (more-ish meaty, moist charcoal-singed hunks) and £3 skinny fries in a tin cup.
Desserts, both £5, are fabulous - tonka bean-infused panna cotta scattered with cinder toffee and sweet, unctuous, guilt-laden toasted rosewater marshmallow pie. Great quality, great value wine around £3.50 a glass brings the bill to £61.
Venue: The Pointing Dog Clubhouse
Address: 516 Ecclesall Road, Sheffield S11 8PY
Contact: 0114 2660742
My star ratings out of six: