Sheffield’s food scene has grown, and flourished, through 2016.
Big name brands have arrived, including Red’s True Barbecue on Ecclesall Road, where crowds queued on opening day, to The Botanist, which filled a long-held premium gap both physically at Leopold Square and figuratively too, as the city centre finally sees some progress.
There is more choice, too, from the independents.
Make No Bones on Chesterfield Road caters for the increasing number of vegans in the city, and is one of our top ten reviews reflected on today.
Global cuisines available have increased, with Satay Yo Beer on London Road offering Pan-Asian food from seven countries, while many venues have seen a new lease of life. Here’s hoping for more happy eating in 2017.
1) Akentannos, SharrowVale Road
Eat cheese, drink wine and live longer - now that is an offer that few people would ever turn down.
It’s also the extremely inviting premise of Akentannos, which used to be Sharrowvale Road’s Pasta Bar - its name means 100-year-life.
A good section of the menu is dedicated to describing how Italian island Sardinia is one of the world’s ‘blue zones’, where many people live to and past the age of 100.
The secret is said to be in part down to the island’s famous pecorino cheese and distinctive Cannonau wine.’
There’s plenty of those on the menu, as well as sheep prosciutto, suckling pig and authentic antipasta.
2) The Millhouses,Abbeydale Road
Kaye Piggot is back - and has brought quality back to The Millhouses.
Provenance is important and the seasonal menu proudly hails its local suppliers.
One of those is JH Mann fishmongers, and the fish on offer is special, all fresh oysters and succulent sweet salmon.
Presentation was excellent and the pies tasty. Combined with a value price tag, this is a step above what you would expect from a pub.
3) The Rising Sun,Fulwood Road, Fulwood
The Rising Sun in Fulwood has had quite a makeover in the last two years.
It’s gone from traditional boozer to having a dining area, covered by a skylight-like ceiling, very snazzy toilets and of course proper food on offer as the Abbeydale Brewery pub branches out from ale.
A pub without bangers and mash, or fish and chips, is rare. Those both feature, but so does rolled lamb’s breast, and sea bream fillet, truffle and parmesan chips.
Desserts are particularly excellent, and word has spread so the place now has a buzz even midweek.
4)Spring tasting menu, Silversmiths, Arundel Street, city centre
Vibrant flower petals, juicy lamb, chocolate and fat spears of green, green asparagus - looking back, it was spring in a nutshell.
Well established Silversmiths launched seasonal tasting menus this year, and the first truly encapsulated the changing of the seasons, with surprises from chef Lee Mangles among the six courses.
Delicate scallops came with a contrasting black pudding, plump asparagus, chilli and an intense orange-hued crumb and sauce on the side, made by slow baking the scallop roe, which left a fresh zing on the lips afterwards. The swirl of 16-hour braised lamb was a visual feast, then one for the tastebuds.
There is a Mason Gin & Yorkshire food evening on January 30 at the restaurant.
5) Make No Bones,Chesterfield Road, Heeley
Make no bones about it - most vegan food is not to everybody’s taste.
But this newcomer is imaginative and tasty enough that it would impress anyone and the expert staff there hope to bust myths about the cuisine. showcasing its diversity and highlights rather than its limitations.
Comfort and healthy food collide in the seasonal, colourful menu, and it’s more than reasonably priced.
In October we had inventive Southern fried tofu - a layer of crunchy and spicy crust encompassing balls of silky white tofu inside - and dreamy tiramisu.
6) Kia’s Pastari,Abbeydale Road
“Sometimes you just want to go somewhere casual with your friends and share a decent sized meal without it being too expensive.”
So said Iranian chef Kia Sadatmandi, who has cooked Italian food for 20 years and now opened his own place.
The smell of garlic permeates the air, the atmosphere is cheerful and the soundtrack jaunty. Try his speciality - fish - or one of the many pasta dishes on offer. Portions are belly-busting.
7) The Schoolrooms, Mill Lee Road, Bradfield
The Schoolrooms at Bradfield is a simply idyllic stop for a spot of lunch, especially in the summer.
Rachel Hague’s family has owned the former school and Victorian building for a quarter of a century, and took back over the running of it just over a year ago after the previous tenants left.
Tempting sounding sandwiches will do for most, but the tuna nicoise available during our review was a slab of high quality fish, served with aplomb and coated in sesame seeds.
Cakes come from the Bakewell Pudding Shop in Bakewell.
8) The Front Room, Langsett Road, Hillsborough
Flickering candlelight, service by waistcoat-wearing waiters and a glowing white dining room - it is easy to forget that The Front Room is located next to a Hillsborough tram stop.
It combines fine dining with authentic Indian food, with Callam Shah Ullah, from Cutlers Spice in Gleadless, the executive chef.
Lamb handi melts on the tongue, while chicken chaat arrives in a parchment thin, buttery bubble of puri.
The spicing is spot on, and little touches make it a special meal.
9) Bistro night, Ella’s Cafe, Ecclesall Road
With such a curious name there was only one dessert to go for at Ella’s Cafe – it had to be the squirrel.
Fear not, it was a distinctly layered chocolate sponge cake, with creme patissiere, ganache and almonds.
It’s a traditional dessert from the little-known land of Georgia, itself sandwiched between Russia, Turkey and Armenia, and handcrafted by native Khatuna Begley, who runs the venue with husband Matt. Service was flawless but unpretentious, and the Mediterranean style menu a crowd-pleaser. It’s everything you want from a neighbourhood bistro.
10) Afternoon tea at Caffe Leopold, Leopold Street, city centre
Chocolate lovers can find their ultimate fantasy in the afternoon tea at Caffe Leopold.
The vintage afternoon tea is massively popular - either down to the prosecco, or the luscious cakes served on Royal Albert china.
Feather-light scones, rich truffles laced with fizz and delicate sandwiches all make for a luxurious treat.