Clearly it was going to be a wacky night out at Vittles in Broomhill from the first glance at the little plate sitting on the table.
“Don’t touch anything yet,” admonished the jovial host Mick Caswell, who has a great line in cheeky patter perfect for such occasions.
If you know Vittles as a cafe on the main shopping area in Broomhill, the idea of gastronomy nights may seem unusual but they’re proving very popular.
They run weekend bistro nights alongside the gastonomy evenings, which was possibly why one customer was confused that everyone else was tucking into pie and chips while he had six courses of strange stuff.
Mick made a point of talking about it, just in case anyone else thought the same.
But back to that plate. It had on it two small glasses with a lurid redor green liquid in and another with a black drink in it, a piece of pink grapefruit and a little pill.
I felt like I was in the kitchen of the Matrix.
The pill, once disssolved on the tongue, dampened its sour taste sensors.
The melon or cherry drink tasted sweet, as did the grapefruit.
The Guinness too was oddly sweet but you could still taste the bitter notes.
The pill also made our house white wine (£13, or arrange to take your own) too sweet for a little while.
On to one of the cleverest courses, the insalata caprese with mozzarella balloon filled with garlic air.
Once popped, the garlicky smell from the balsamic-drizzled ballon of cheese was amazing.
It tasted good too, accompanied by a conventional Italian salad of mozzarella, tomato and basil leaves.
Next up was the curried butternut squash soup with coconut foam.
The soup was excellent, full of subtly spicy flavours, and the foam, which looked more like shaving foam, complemented it very well.
The fish course, a chessboard made from smoked salmon and cod with crab ball playing pieces, looked good but the smoky flavour was too overwhelming.
My friend Sara is a vegetarian, so instead of fish she got a slate with three beautiful cheeses, accompanied by fruit that fizzed on the tongue. She loved it.
My pretty plain main course of chicken breast cooked sous vide couldn’t really hold its own among so much novelty.
Sara’s veggie substitute, which tasted like Quorn with an unpleasantly umami topping, just didn’t work at all. She left it after trying a small piece.
There was a return to form with the first pudding.
Caramelised bananas were accompanied by good ice cream and the fantastic idea of powdered Nutella.
The powder reconstituted in the mouth and had a lovely silky texture.
The second pudding had a fairground theme.
A small stick covered in blue candyfloss sat alongside a coffee cup filled with a cold doughnut soup. They were accompanied by a little glass of liquid popcorn.
The soup had a stronger doughnut taste if drunk straight from the cup rather than using a spoon. I thought it might work better as an ice cream.
A fittingly daft end to a very entertaining evening that is well worth booking in for.
And, unlike Heston Blumenthal, Mick will only charge £25 a head.
Vittles, 501a Glossop Road. Tel 0114 268 2857. Website: vittlescafe.com