Joy sparked at trio’s new gorgeous art gallery cafe in Sheffield city centre
There's a popular Netflix TV show at the moment in which the concept of whether something “sparks joy” or not decides whether it should stay in your life.
That exact phrase was what sprang to mind soon after arriving at Kollective, the new cafe inside the Site art gallery on Brown Street.
It’s a beautiful place inside, open plan, contemporary and festooned with trailing plants in every nook or cranny. Location wise, it’s as central as could be, a short walk from Sheffield railway station and one of the more appropriate attractions inside the cultural industries quarter.
The menu – more of which later – has been curated to reflect food trends, to cater to the vegan and gluten free audience, and yet I wanted to eat every, single, dish.
Deciding was a bit of an ordeal.
Add to that the fact it’s in an art gallery, and there is the ideal weekend afternoon all wrapped up in one easily digestible trip. And that’s even though art galleries usually make me feel somewhat dim, rather than full of joy.
What a brilliant place to have here in Sheffield.
This masterpiece is the brainchild of Hayley Glover, Thomas Reeves and Owen Manns, who worked at The Grind in Kelham Island when they spotted the opportunity to open the gallery cafe. ”They wanted it to be an independent cafe within the gallery, so we are bringing customers to them, and they are bringing customers to us”, said Hayley, who is a chef, as is Owen, while Tom leads front of house.
Some of the trio’s previous customers are now trying a new brushstroke at Kollective, while station commuters, pensioners and more have been added to the audience mix after the move from Kelham.
“We get a whole range of people, from people who are just in town for a spot of shopping to mums with newborns”
After opening in September, the menu changed each and every week at first.
Now following feedback from customers the focus is on some favourite dishes, done in new ways, and regular rather than constant change.
Hayley added: “People eat with their eyes and we want our food to taste as good as it looks. The brunch trend is amazing and we have been doing our own take on that..
“We tend to look at the classics and put our own twist on them.”
There was a pop up project at Site on the Saturday we visited – with crystals being used to make sound, colourful projections on the walls and, for some reason, candyfloss being given out.
We ordered a vibrant green matcha latte and coffee, but it’s worth pointing out that there are alcoholic drinks on the menu if you fancy a fizz with your food.
The menu is split into breakfast, brunch, and lunch.
While the former offers fairly staple fair, choosing what to eat on the latter two was a real challenge simply because everything sounded so fantastic.
Saltfish fritters with chipotle mayo, a jerk spiced tofu and smoked salmon breakfast bowl were just some of the dishes that didn’t make it.
There aren't any starters as such, but you could go with the confit duck leg tacos between two people.
This plate of succulent meat (“not fatty at all”, said he) came with a delicately sliced vegetable slaw, and sticky hoisin on flat pancakes rather than crunchy tacos.
I’d never think of combining a barbecue classic with breakfast, but his beef brisket benedict was a wonder to behold.
Blobs of siracha Hollandaise added a spicy, creamy kick to the decent amount of tender, slow cooked meat.
A burst poached egg yolk leaked golden goodness over the toasted brioche, with crispy onions and tiny herbs being the final flourish.
It was enough to convert the die-hard full English breakfast fan sitting across the table to a more genteel start to the day.
Turkish eggs – which were my third choice, it has to be said - were another revelation.
They didn't look quite as pretty as the benedict, but the Merguez lamb sausages were deeply spicy, savoury and moreish, absolutely packed with meat.
Dipping the flatbread triangles into za’tar, Greek yoghurt and harissa added both flavour and texture to each bite, along with those perfectly poached eggs again.
Cakes line the counter in flamboyant fashion at Kollective; impossible to resist.
The blood orange cheesecake was too good to share - we had one each.
There was a thin crust of biscuit, then heaven, cake like a cloud of cream, topped with circles of dehydrated orange and thick chocolate cream.
The zesty citrus flavour was present through each mouthful.
A peanut butter brownie was everything you want a brownie to be, crunchy on the outside, sticky within and packed with nuts.
Our bill came to £45 with hot and soft drinks.
I’ve paid a lot more, for a lot less, and this time we left with the satisfying feeling that Sheffield really is on the up.
Kollective, Site Gallery, 1 Brown Street, Sheffield city centre
Tel: 0114 303 4285