Food review: Smokin’ Bull is Sheffield’s best new burger joint sure to tantalise the tastebuds
Despite opening a little under a year ago, Smokin' Bull Burger and Grill is already making a name for itself as one of the best restaurants in Sheffield.
Situated on Leopold Street, just a stone’s throw from the Sheffield Telegraph office, the restaurant has a somewhat minimalist decor, featuring exposed brickwork and wooden pallets fashioned as dining tables, something not too dissimilar from its predecessor, 8oz Burger Company, which closed last July.
And although you could be mistaken for thinking they're one in the same, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
It is owner Ryan Collins' first foray into the restaurant business, and things are going exceptionally well for the newcomer as the burger joint - which only opened in October - already bagging Exposed Magazine's Best New Restaurant 2019.
But Ryan admits he couldn't have achieved the accolade without the hardworking team behind him.
“Smokin' Bull is my first restaurant," he said. "It was an idea that we had just over 12 months ago now and it seemed relatively easy to be honest to put together on paper but it has been a lot harder than you might think.
"We’ve gone from strength to strength since we opened. We picked up the award from Exposed Magazine which was amazing for us, that’s all down to the teams hard work.
"We’ve got an absolutely amazing team, front of house and back of house. It’s just the contribution from everybody that’s seen us get better and better each month.”
They're doing things a little different at Smokin' Bull, with an emphasis on Sheffield produce incorporated throughout the well thought out menu – Khoo’s Bajan hot sauce, a bottle of which is visible on each table, and Joe’s Ices ice cream, just a hint of some that feature.
“We knew the concept we wanted to go with was burgers," Ryan added. "Just looking at the surrounding area we didn’t think there was anywhere dedicated to burgers so we put a lot of work into that to ensure we get the freshest produce possible.
“We don’t have anything frozen on site, all the produce is delivered fresh each day so we can deliver the best we possibly can and we’re trying to be as competitive as we can on the price as well."
A hectic day at work meant I'd skipped lunch and was surviving on a packet of crisps and endless amounts of tea so strong you could stand you spoon in them.
I'd been meaning to try Smokin' Bull for a while so, stomach rumbling, I hurried out the door as soon as the clock struck 5pm.
From the outside the restaurant looks clean and trendy, with a large glass front and signage in bold, white lettering that clearly denotes the type of food on offer should you happen to stumble across it unaware.
As I arrived I was greeted by the smell of charred meat, enticing me inside. There stood two girls who, stood behind a wooden-clad bar, gestured me to find a table.
At first glance the menu appears simple, offering a mouthwatering selection of burgers, steaks and 'Smokin' Specialities' - enough to tempt any meat-eater.
But upon closer inspection you'll find plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options to choose from such as the Sesame Street burger - a cauliflower fritter with spring onions, pickles, lettuce and sesame sauce - or the Juan Solo – a black spicy bean patty with vegan cheese, smoky vegan sour cream, avocado, lettuce, pequillo peppers topped with Jalapeno sauce.
Ryan said: “The idea behind the branding, obviously with it being Smokin’ Bull, we’re sticking with beef. But we’re not neglecting the vegans of the city because we know they’re in full force and we’ve done a lot of work to ensure we can give them as good of an experience as everybody else.
“We’ve got three dedicated burgers for vegans, we’ve got sides, we’ve got deserts. So we are an establishment that caters for absolutely everybody, kids, couples and students to working class – absolutely everybody is welcome.”
Greedily, I opted for the Smokin’ Bull’s signature burger the Notorious PIG, which comes with skin on fries and is served in a glass dome filled with smoke to enhance the flavour, along with a side of Smokin' Bull Mac n Cheese.
Although it turned out that the Mac n Cheese was not needed due to the generous portion sizes, both oozed with tantalising flavour – the Applewood Smoked Cheddar and the Khoo's Heavy Smoker sauce beautifully complimenting the Smokin' Bull beef, which was a particular highlight as it crumbled apart in my mouth without an ounce of fat in sight.
Having hastily read a few reviews before visiting Smokin Bull', I felt I could not leave without trying a portion of the warm cookie dough and ice cream - a dream for someone with a sweet tooth like me and a course just as amazingly tasty as the one before it.
Smokin' Bull Burger and Grill, 9 Leopold Street, Sheffield S1 2GY
Tel: 0114 4000035