Doom and gloom may have been the watchwords of 2010 with some big names disappearing – but a beacon of hope shines over the city’s restaurant scene. Here Lesley Draper and Julia Armstrong pick out some of the highlights
This year has signalled the end for some big names – including the Walnut Club, the Wig & Pen and the Blue Room Brasserie – while others have struggled to cope with dwindling trade and cashflow problems. But there has been plenty of good news, too…
Sheffield staged its first Food Festival in June, boosting the campaign to put the city on the culinary map.
The latest Good Food Guide features six local restaurants – the biggest showing for years. And the Eat Sheffield Awards attracted a record 10,000 votes, with 50 different restaurants nominated for the top prize.
Notable independent successes have included regional recognition for Silversmiths and the Milestone in the White Rose Awards and national acclaim for the latter, which was named Gordon Ramsay’s best British restaurant before a TV audience of millions.
And in spite of the recession there has been no shortage of new ventures starting up.
These are our top ten favourites among the 50 restaurants reviewed this year, in the order in which they appeared…
Kashmiri Aroma 798 Chesterfield Road Woodseats
(0114) 258 7780 www.kashmiriaroma.com
An ambitious new family-run Indian restaurant on the site of the former Blue Room Brasserie. It won honours as Favourite Indian in the Eat Sheffield Awards and was also nominated as Best Newcomer.
Seats 200 but still manages to create a feeling of intimacy. Specialities include a ‘mughul’s banquet’, featuring a whole leg of baked marinated lamb for two – or an entire stuffed lamb for 15.
Wick at Both Ends 149-151 West Street
(0114) 272 3039
The Wick at Both Ends is a city centre pub full of funky, quirky charm. Junk shop chic and a relaxed, bohemian ambience attract a sophisticated younger market, particularly for music events.
Run by the team who have the Harley, just up Glossop Road; the food is an imaginative take on pub grub, combining good execution with originality and attention to detail.
Lokanta 478-480 Glossop Road
(0114) 266 6444 www.lokanta.co.uk
Another Eat Sheffield award-winner, this time for Best Newcomer. Turkish owner Faruk Günay and his Sheffield-born wife Ruth have created a place with clean, contemporary appeal and a gleaming open kitchen at the far end.
Impeccably presented Turkish fare, including meze and main courses, preceded by complimentary pide bread and salsa. A true Turkish delight.
MishMash 617 Ecclesall Road
(0114) 268 4074 www.mishmashsheffield.co.uk
Closer to perfection than we’ve encountered in a long time, we said following our visit in May. Since then head chef Joe Grayson has left to set up his own eponymous restaurant in Hutcliffe Wood Road but reports suggest standards have been maintained.
A seasonal mix of classic dishes and more contemporary offerings with “challenging flavours and combinations”. Wines by the bottle or carafe; local ales on draught.
Hong Kong Wok 200 London Road
(0114) 258 8694 www.hkwok.co.uk
A lively, modern-looking Oriental restaurant in chic red, black and white, run by young Alice Chan and veteran chef Sifu Hung – combining lively, attentive service with solid kitchen experience.
Worth a visit for Sifu’s famous Three Roasties: a combination of honey roast pork, crispy roast pork and roast duck, as well as a good choice of chicken, meat, seafood and vegetarian dishes.
Amigos Mexican Kitchen 272 London Road
(0114) 258 5900 www.amigosmexicankitchen.co.uk
London Road has many good quality, reasonably priced eateries but this is an undoubted star newcomer. Chef Khalid Wani is passionate about his food; only authentic chillis will do in his burritos, tortillas, tacos, gorditas, enchiladas, quesadillas and chilli con carne.
Incredibly cheap as well as filling – but leave room for Khalid’s chocolate brownie, which is to die for.
Catch, 32-34 Sandygate Road, Crosspool
(0114) 266 6096 www.relaxeatanddrink.co.uk
Return of an old favourite: this lively seafood café is back in its former home after the passing of no-frills usurper Canteen.
Head chef is impressive newcomer Carl Riley, grandson of a Grimsby fisherman, whose pedigree is as impressive as his cooking. But the concept is the same – a fish-lover’s paradise, offering everything from fish and chips to some inspired reworking of seafood classics.
Radhuni Indian 186 London Road
(0114) 258 2581 www.radhunisheffield.com
Boss Nozrul Islam is the youngest generation of a Sheffield Indian restaurant dynasty that also includes Panahar at Nether Green. The accent is on good food and service in a 1970s retro-feel restaurant.
Reflecting his heritage the menu includes a range of Bangladeshi dishes, with more fish than usual. Or go for the jalay-julay specials: “something spicy and saucy”.
The York 243-247 Fulwood Road
(0114) 266 4624
The perfect pub: a real local that’s spot-on for food, drink, ambience and service. Open fires and wooden panelling give a homely warmth, with plenty of room for dining as well as drinking.
Head chef Jamie Woodhouse believes in keeping things simple – so it’s good quality pub grub made from local produce. Drinks include hand-pulled ales, an eclectic wine list and more than 30 different whiskies.
Viraaj, 743 Chesterfield Road, Woodseats
(0114) 250 9066 www.viraaj.co.uk
This Indian restaurant in the former Woodseats pub is all clean lines and comfort. It got off to a flying start when head chef Abdul Rouf won a national industry award within weeks of opening.
An extensive menu features familiar curry house fare and some Bangladeshi dishes, or go for the Monday night buffet at £9.95 a head.
BEST OF THE REST
The surrounding area has its fair share of newcomers too…
Devonshire Arms High Street, Pilsley
(01246) 583 258 www.devonshirepilsley.co.uk
This creeper-clad pub on the Chatsworth estate reopened in July after an up-market £750,000 revamp led by the Duchess of Devonshire. It shares the same executive chef but is less stuffy and less expensive than its Beeley namesake – and it has a dartboard!
Ingredients are sourced primarily from Chatsworth Farm Shop just up the road and the result is top notch pub grub at very affordable prices – only one dish costs over a tenner.
Le Mistral Bridge Street Bakewell
(01629) 810 077 www.lemistral.co.uk
Named International Restaurant of the Year in the Derbyshire Food & Drink Awards, this is part of a small group inspired by the laid-back French bistro concept – but very much a local operation, with meat and veg locally sourced.
Cuisine is distinctively French; blackboard specials change daily. Wine is a speciality, with 75 to choose from including 25 available by the glass.
Devonshire Arms Lightwood Lane Middle Handley
(01246) 434 800 www.devonshirearmsmiddlehandley.com
Sheffield-born head chef Lee Vintin has won a clutch of awards for this gastro-pub since taking over in February. Clean and contemporary, it boasts scrubbed wood tables and artwork by celebrated local artist Lynne Wilkinson.
A balance of pub grub and more adventurous specials, all produced to a high standard – free food at the weekly quiz includes mini curries and shepherds pies, shot glasses of soup and spoons of smoked trout salad.