Review: Idyllic spot for a fresh lunch stop
Sunshine streamed over the parasol and the view of cricket fields stretched out on the horizon.
Plates of fresh, colourful food were laid out on the picnic table before us, while the sound of children playing was in the background.
No, this wasn’t a scene from an idyllic countryside holiday - we were less than 20 minutes from the centre of industrial Sheffield.
Welcome to beautiful Bradfield, specifically to The Schoolrooms cafe, butchery and deli in the lower half of the village.
We had headed out of town here for a Saturday lunch, and had even stopped off at the shop before during the Tour de France, but didn’t realise quite how picture perfect it would be until stepping through the airy shop and into the rear garden.
We are really lucky with the location”, said owner Rachel Hague, whose family has owned the former school and Victorian building for a quarter of a century, and took back over the running of it just over a year ago after the previous tenants left.
“A lot of people come for the location, but then they come back.
“But we do still get people saying they didn’t know we were here even though they go walking in Bradfield all the time - you wonder how but then that happens to us when out walking because you are looking at all the beautiful scenery instead.”
There’s plenty of local attractions in the downstairs deli - which stocks everything from chia seeds to stuffing mixes - such as the Sheffield Honey Company products and Peak District ice cream.
There’s also an on site butchery, which must come in handy if chef James Grey, who has also returned to the fold, runs out of an ingredient.
Rachel joked: “The chefs don’t know they are born!
“Our ethos is for high quality food with a twist, trying to do something different from what is already available locally.
“I’d say 90 per cent of our suppliers are local.
“We may bring back the bistro nights in future but we wanted to get it back to the standard we’ve got it to - we didn’t want to run before we could walk.”
The main part of the cafe is housed above the shop, and orders are placed at the counter there although food is brought to tables outside. Customers collect their own cutlery and sauces once food is delivered too.
Its menu has plenty to offer, without being overwhelming, with ever-changing quiches and soups as well as a tempting sounding breakfast selection.
It was too late for that, so the choices were whether to be healthy or naughty.
Despite longing for the minute steak, cheese and onion sandwich (next time) I opted for the former with a tuna salad.
Not to go all Marks and Spencers, but this was no ordinary tuna.
It’s a proper steak of the fish, all delicate slices of sashimi-style seared tuna, coated just so in toasted sesame seeds.
It was perfectly pink, succulent, sweet, plus a tiny bit nutty thanks to the seeds.
Top class all round.
Accompaniments included boiled eggs with just-runny, creamy yellow yolks, al dente green beans, olives and tomatoes.
Presentation was accomplished, but I’d have preferred slightly warmed rather than cold potatoes and more of the lemony dressing.
Over the table, naughty was struggling.
“I’ve never had to hold my lunch down before”, he said while stopping a rogue gust of wind from whisking away Bradfield brewery battered fish and chips, served on natty paper and a wooden chopping board.
The fish had a light, flavoursome batter, clean rather than greasy.
Decent fat chips, a surprise pile of minted peas and a sublime tartar sauce brought the dish alive.
He did feel the portion size was more of a light bite than a main course, however.
It’s worth noting there are deli boards on offer here which could make an ideal starter for two.
Back upstairs to choose a dessert, which took some time due to the variety on offer.
All cakes, as well as the bread, come from the Bakewell Pudding Shop in Bakewell.
In the end the waitress picked out the lemon cake, a giant slab of dense, well-made sponge, and immensely filling.
There was a stream of sharp lemon curd running through it, and some time had been taken with the cloud-like cream frosting covered in another layer of lemon. It could easily have served two.
He’d gone for the more reasonably sized chocolate brownie, warmed up and served with ice cream.
It was crispy on the outside and chewy within, rich to a T, and everything you could ask for in a brownie, really.
We finished off with very decent coffees - they even have hazlenut syrup, which you wouldn’t get in a local pub - and one last long look over those hills.
The bill was a purse-pleasing £32.20 - paid in two parts as tabs are not available.
The Schoolrooms, Mill Lee Rd, Sheffield ,S6 6LB
Tel: 0114 285 1920