Fine wine and innovative food in the shadow of Peak cement works

On the ‘longest day of the year’, a random group of Sheffield food lovers headed out into the glorious Peak District for dinner.

Wednesday, 26th June 2019, 15:39 pm
John Parsons at Kitchen in the canteen at Hope Cement Works

Friday’s summer solstice feast featured eight carefully curated wines, alongside innovative dishes with a fish focus, from sugar cured salmon and green tea to monkfish tagine. But this was not in a restaurant.

Diners ate in the shadow of Hope Cement Works, for a special collaboration between Ecclesall Road wine specialist Wine and Whiskey, with chef John Parsons.

The scallop and chicken club was an intriguing dish

John - who readers may know from his time at several Sheffield restaurants – worked with Wine and Whiskey owners Adrian Walsh and Mark Sutton when the trio ran two adjacent businesses on Ecclesall Road. Their events were a precursor to today’s pop ups.

He now runs the Kitchen Canteen based next to the cement works in Hope Golf Club, cooking eggs benedict or ramen noodle bowls for lucky workers and in-the-know locals by day, plus weekly themed nights.

John added: “They’re (Adrian and Mark) my favourite people to collaborate with because they know their stuff and are far from pretentious.The cement works are very supportive of a lot of creative stuff too.”

We headed through the kitchen and into a repurposed store room on Friday, where the meal began with Mezzacorona Rotari Cuvee – a beautiful, warmer alternative to champagne.

The monkfish made for a lighter dish than most tagines

Smoked fish toasts were the first morsels served, with fiery hints from wasabi crème fraîche and earthiness of a beetroot jam elevating the nutty bread with smoked roe. It was complimented beautifully with a bold white, Mahi Sauvignon Blanc, which we heard had a lasting finish and plenty of fruit. The chattering guests were intrigued by the next course, a ‘scallop and chicken club’ due to it featuring Gochujang. No, I’d never heard of it either. It's a Korean red chilli paste used here to great effect alongside a soft, meaty scallop, sticky black garlic and slivers of flavoursome chicken skin.

On through the salmon - served fresh with fennel, creamy Swiss potato salad, mandolin thin radish slices and a chablis – to one of the highlights.

Halibut with leeks sounds simple but here the sweet, firm flesh came with juicy fat prawns and tangles of buttery leeks in a savoury thermidor. The plate was dusted with black leek ash - very striking – and there was honey and melon from the “classical” Colin Chassagne Montrachet. The brief tasting talk that came with each wine was a great education. Monkfish made for a lighter tagine with the first red, an aromatic, slightly spicy Prevostini Botonero.

The last of the “reworked” dishes from John’s catalogue were the most impressive.A Portuguese steak sandwich proved to be layers of heaven, medium rare meat, tangy hot mustard and sweet, caramelised onions combining to devastating effect. And I will long dream about the insanely good chocolate tart – such fine pastry, such molten chocolate with a crunchy top, then hints of nut, white chocolate and peach. A jammy red – Luis Seabra Indie Xisto – and syrupy, raisin like sherry were ideal partners.We headed back over the hills, the sun finally setting, with full bellies, big smiles, and new friends.We paid £70 each for the tasting event – more are now lined up. Email finefoodandwinesheffield@gmail.com or visit Wine and Whiskey for more details.

The sugar cured salmon

To join the mailing list of events at Hope, email jsp73chef@gmail.com.

Leek ash made a striking element on the halibut
The steak sandwich was one of the highlights
The insanely good chocolate tart finished off the meal
A ramen bowl - one of the dishes John cooks daily for staff at Hope Cement Works and in the know locals