It’s so hot, it’s smoking.
And I’m not just talking about the 1,000°F grill on which premium steaks and fresh lobster cooks in a trice.
The Fahrenheit Bar and Grill, the deluxe restaurant in Sheffield’s newest casino, is as glamorous as some glossy, glitzy New York night club.
And to think, you’re actually fine-dining underneath a multi-storey car park off Arundel Gate.
The Genting Club (I admit that, when I first saw the billboards, I thought it was a posh name for a lap-dancing venue) opened at the end of September.
It’s a massive space, 35,000 square feet, cleverly and stylishly designed to appeal as a one-stop night-time venue. The gaming floor sits in the circular bowl beneath the spiralling ramp of the car park affectionately know by Sheffielders as the Cheesegrater. Curving walkways to the open-plan upper floor follow the line you would take in your car. Glass and chrome gleam from bars, a small nightclub area and two restaurants.
There’s a pan-Asian eaterie, the Hou Mei Asian cafe, downstairs with exotic dishes at £5 each. But we’ve decided to try out Genting’s showpiece, the Fahrenheit, a huge, 160-seat, ground floor restaurant with its own entrance off the street (you don’t have to be a casino member to eat in either restaurant).
Clearly Britain’s biggest casino chain are gambling on pulling in the city’s foodies as well as the high-rollers. There’s a very impressive-looking a la carte menu boasting luxuries like scallops, duck confit, lobster and 35-day matured steaks, plus sharing plates, seasonal and weekly chef’s specials and a sumptuous dessert menu.
It’s been created under the influence of a culinary expert – group head of food and beverage is an ex head chef at London’s Claridges restaurant. Paul Farr joined Genting this year after nine years at the famous eaterie. He has also worked at London restaurant Mezzo alongside Masterchef judge John Torode.
We are shown to an intimate, high-backed black circular booth at the back of the glossy cream and chrome restaurant. The table was beautifully set with fine glassware, expensive cutlery and a fabulous set of cruet; perfect. Until we realised we were being distracted from what promised to be a romantic night of fine dining by rap music coming from the mini nightclub area beyond – where sport was being shown on a huge TV screen. It didn’t feel right.
Nothing is too much trouble for impeccably mannered, charismatic manager Sam, previously of Napoleons on Ecclesall Road, though. He swiftly moved us and our large, £6 glasses of Tempranillo to another table with a great view; to one side the theatre of the open kitchen, to the other the gaming floor below.
The music is different here; more Eighties pop. It’s still a bit too loud and the lighting is a bit too bright. No complaints about the food, though. Everything was made from what clearly were top quality ingredients and the presentation was stunning. My starter of seared black pearl scallops is exceptional. Big, fat, meaty scallops, creamy, sweet and perfectly cooked, sit atop slivers of densely smoky and spicy griddled chorizo – a stunning flavour combination in itself. The accompanying drizzle of smoked chilli jam adds the perfect punch. And it’s only £7.
My husband’s duck confit, rich and delicious, comes in a dinky kilner jar with a metal basket of grilled slivers of ciabatta, watercress salad and a wonderfully aromatic chutney – they call it a parfait on the menu. It’s a winning blend of champagne, thyme jelly and spiced rhubarb compote. Intensely happy, Husband munches away. His only complaint? There was too much duck confit!
He’s leaving room for his steak, a 7oz fillet of Scotch Mathers Black Gold, a quality breed of cattle lovingly raised in “the most idyllic parts of Scotland”. That what it says on the menu. Presumably the creatures benefit from a good view.
It is incredible; the meat is deep and dark and intensely flavoursome. Cooked rare and juicy on the 1,000 degree Josper grill, it sits on a field mushroom and is accompanied by asparagus singed to smokiness on that grill, a light mushroom and tarragon sauce and thrice-cooked chips sprinkled with sea salt. Everything is excellent. But it should be for £21.
I’ve opted for fishy Asian fusion – Josper-roasted lobster and monkfish loin with aromatic coconut and galangal broth, £18.
The flavours work well; there are slivers of fresh chilli, lemon grass and spring onion in the ginger-infused broth. But you can have too much of a good thing. There was so much it was more like a soup and it drowned what was clearly beautiful quality monkfish tail. The lobster half, still curled in its split shell, was on top and was as sweet and plump as anticipated.
From a separate sweets menu (on which everything is just £5) comes a delicate lavender cream with chocolate and praline fondant, which oozes a rich chocolate pool when the spoon goes in, and a new spin on Seventies dinner party classic Baked Alaska.
At Fahrenheit it’s called Fire and Ice and comes as an individual little mountain of piped and peaked perfection, with an explosive chilli and chocolate ice cream at its core. It’s wonderful.
Our bill came to £65 for exceptionally fine quality ingredients expertly cooked. The service was perfection; caring and attentive, but not too rushed. And we loved the fact that the jug of tapwater came with lime segments!
If you want all of that washed down with high-octane music and atmosphere, the odds on you having a great night are very high. It’s ideal for a group outing.
But a more sophisticated ambience – which surely would be a better match for the food – is lacking for want of a dimmer switch and some soulful jazz.