There is no shortage of restaurants around Sheffield city centre offering enticing ‘early bird’ deals to woo frugal foodies.
Amongst them is renowned gastropub The Milestone which between 12pm and 7pm offers a choice of two courses (£14) or three courses (£16.50) including a glass of wine or pint of ale or lager.
General Manager Alex Turner explains that serving up plates at special rates does not compromise quality.
“The dishes on the early bird menu are simpler and not as complex than those on the gastro menu but it is still wholesome British food using the freshest quality produce,” says Alex.
“The early bird menu is aimed those people who want a quick three course meal and want great food at very reasonable prices.
“We are not aiming at any particular age group but those who have maybe been at work and fancy a meal out.”
As well as being an option for city centre workers who want to grab a quick bite to eat before heading home, Alex points out that the early bird menu also suits those heading out to the theatre.
He adds that as much care and attention is put into this menu as any of the other menus The Milestone offers.
“The menu is constantly evolving and we have a whole change once a month or so.
“In addition to this we may change a dish on the menu due to what produce is available.
“A lot of our produce comes from foraging and from allotments and sometimes the chefs will try something new in the early bird menu and if it proves popular it could make its way onto the gastro menu.”
The Milestone has recently recruited a new head chef and is in the process of launching its Christmas menu.
Alex adds that there are more exciting plans in the pipeline at the Kelham Island eatery in the coming months.
“We will also soon be launching some fresh dishes for autumn because we always like to keep up to date with the seasons.
“In addition to all this we are also looking at launching a completely different lunch menu - watch this space.
“Things are looking up.”
After a long week at work we thought we’d treat ourselves to a Friday evening trip to The Milestone to take advantage of the early bird offer.
We arrived just after 6pm and were quickly seated by a window.
Eating out so early in an evening can often result in a bit of a lack of atmosphere but we were pleased to find there were a decent number of other diners enjoying some early bird action.
Over the course of the next hour or so the restaurant filled-up quite nicely and the atmosphere was pleasantly lively.
As you might expect when you are getting three courses for just £16.50 the early bird menu is limited in choice to four dishes from each course.
There are also a few extras on the menu (side dishes etc.) for an additional charge.
As we were both feeling quite hungry we decided to add some freshly baked bread with flavoured butter ( £3.50).
As for our free drinks Tracy went for a glass of house white and I ordered a pint of the excellent Craft and Dough lager.
The bread turned out to be a bit of an inspired decision. The bread was excellent, complete with a superb crust and a lovely warm, nutty flavour.
Once the bread was out of the way it was time for the starters.
I went for the crispy whitebait with harissa aioli, while Tracy opted for the pea soup with bread and butter.
I couldn’t fault the whitebait - it was nice and crispy and packed some very decent flavour.
On the other side of the table the soup also got polished off in good time.
It was all about pork with our choice of mains.
My other half went for the pork faggot with mash, spring greens and red wine jus, while I went for sausage with the same accompaniments as the above.
Neither are the most sophisticated dishes in the world but sometimes you just can’t argue with good, hearty, wholesome flavour.
And both were very nicely presented to boot.
I was pleased to see that my sausages were nice and plump and that there were three of them.
They were quality bangers and the mash had a great consistency and was well seasoned. Not only that but the gravy also helped elevate the dish.
The faggot got the seal of approval too, but one slight gripe with that dish was there maybe wasn’t quite enough jus.
All that was left was to choose our desserts.
I was feeling quite full so went for the lighter option of a panna cotta and Tracy went for her old favourite - sticky toffee pudding.
My panna cotta had a great wobble and a lovely fresh flavour and the sticky toffee pud was swiftly cleaned off the plate.
We each ordered a coffee to round off the meal and all in the whole lot came in at £42.50 which really is fabulous value.
Early bird offers we have taken advantage of at other restaurants in the past have seen us rushed in and out but this absolutely was not the case at The Milestone.
It was all very relaxed and leisurely and we were there the best part of two hours.
A perfect start to the weekend.