Mediterranean looking ahead to bright new era...

MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT  Owner Otto Damahi outside the Mediterranean Restaurant, Sharrow Vale Road.    3 June 2011
MEDITERRANEAN RESTAURANT Owner Otto Damahi outside the Mediterranean Restaurant, Sharrow Vale Road. 3 June 2011

One of Sheffield’s culinary institutions is enjoying a new lease of life, after a quarter-century at the top of its field.

The Mediterranean, in Sharrow Vale Road, led the way as Sheffield’s first specialist fish restaurant and the arrival of new owners in the 1990s broadened its offer.

Now the retirement of business partner Majid Mrabit has left Otto Damahi in sole charge of the restaurant – and he is keen to put his stamp on it.

“The Med has been here a long time and I felt it needed a new image to mark a new era,” says Otto.

The result is a striking blue and white façade that certainly conjures up an oceanic feel. The interior too has been refurbished and there’s a new front-of-house manager.

Menu changes will follow in due course, although the fish and seafood theme and popular tapas will remain.

Meanwhile the family’s other restaurant is building up an enthusiastic following of its own.

Otto’s, a few hundred yards up the road, specialises in Moroccan food and also has a first-floor function room.

Otto took it on three years ago when he was looking for a place of his own. But plans to move on from the Mediterranean fell through and he found himself with two businesses to run.

Wife Theresa – then a teacher – stepped in to oversee the new restaurant and it has gone from strength to strength.

Now open seven days a week, it has built up a reputation for its regular Moroccan nights (the next is on June 26), complete with live bellydancing. New Sunday lunches, complete with live piano music, are also proving popular.

“We have a pianist on Friday and Saturday nights too,” says Theresa. “He’ll play light jazz, popular songs and anything else that sets the mood without being overwhelming.”

The ground-floor restaurant is licensed, but diners can bring their own wine and beer – an option that’s a particular winner with those who hire the first-floor function room.

“It means they get good food and decent wine, without having to pay restaurant prices for drinks.”

Theresa and Otto oversee all the menus. Food for private parties is tailored to each client’s needs; the regular à la carte features a mouthwatering range of dishes, including gluten-free food which is another speciality.

l The Mediterranean is hosting a charity night on June 21, with live music from singer Rosie Brown and magic from BenZ, to raise funds for Weston Park Hospital. Bookings: (0114) 266 1069.