Flames spark into the night sky, lighting up the countryside and silhouetting the twin peaks of a giant teepee...
It’s certainly new for Sheffield: a three-way partnership between tent hire specialists Totally Tipi, boutique events venue Green Directions and Master Chef James Barrett.
They joined forces to stage this weekend of dining with a difference – and it has proved so popular they’re already planning the next.
The teepee is a vast construction of pine poles and canvas that towers high above the Stannington farmland. But any fears of a primitive cowboys-and-indians affair are quickly allayed.
The sound of music and laughter drifts on the night air, mingling with the enticing aroma of roasting meat.
The entrance to the tent is flanked by flaming braziers and inside we’re greeted with menu, winelist and a selection of Yorkshire Ales.
Green Directions has been set up by former music teacher and Ofsted inspector Mark Woodward, who lives the good life on the farm with his family. He keeps his own pigs, grows fruit and veg, is skilled in charcuterie and baking and finds times to run courses as well. The pop-restaurant is a new departure, but one he’s looking forward to developing.
The first teepee is laid out as a lounge, with hemp matting, a bar in one corner, a range of seating and a blazing log fire in a raised grate.
Beyond that is the dining area, twinkling with fairy lights and candles, and at the far end an open kitchen where James and his team are hard at work.
Barrett is an experienced chef, with a bistro in Hutcliffe Wood Road, a café at Crookes and an outside catering service to boot. But cooking a three-course meal in the middle of a field, is another challenge entirely.
Service is a tad slow and they could gain some leeway next time by serving up bread to occupy the hungry hoards until the food is ready.
We find ourselves sitting with an eclectic mix of lawyers, a police officer and a farmer and his wife who have driven all the way from Darlington for the event.
It’s a set menu with a Moroccan theme. We start with pan-fried mackerel and juicy queen scallop, beautifully presented on slivers of beetroot with little dollops of Indian-spiced orange salsa.
The vegetarian alternative features halloumi instead of fish, but it’s a miniscule portion. Maybe there are more veggies than they’d expected.
Main course is Moroccan spiced rump of lamb, thickly carved into succulent pink slices. There’s buttery mash (though we can’t discern the promised chorizo), wilted greens and byaldi – a fancy name for ratatouille.
Equally good is dessert: an Arabian set yoghurt pudding, pretty much like pannacotta, topped with shaved biscotti that melt into a toffee-like goo, finished off with pieces of poached pear and pistachios.
We finish our meal with coffee. Three-course dinner, excluding drinks and service, is £35 per head.