A very cosy corner

Haggler's Kaffihus at Haggler's Corner
Haggler's Kaffihus at Haggler's Corner
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POOR chef Danny West, who cis working at Hagglers Kaffihus in Lowfield, Sheffield.

He’d just run out of soup and the bread for paninis after a busy Saturday when two women turned up demanding food an hour before closing time.

He managed to rustle something tasty up and, when their thoughts turned to cake later on, chattily confessed that he wasn’t sure one of their choices was up to scratch.

Then after one of them paid the bill, she announced that she was a food reviewer from the Sheffield Telegraph.

His face was a picture.

However, I have to say that he acquitted himself very well and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit to this intriguing little place, tucked away in Hagglers Corner on Queens Road.

The eye-catching building, brightening up the road opposite the Heeley Business Centre retail park with its anonymous warehouses, is home to a little community of 14 small local businesses.

They range from a yoga studio and a massage therapist to a florist (doing a roaring Mother’s Day trade when we visited), a magazine, a carpenter and a crochet artist.

A resident artist who uses recycled materials is responsible for the mobiles made of old milk cartons that decorate the eclectic cafe, where a large stained glass window competes for attention with a working pinball machine and lots more charmingly retro decoration.

Very bohemian shabby chic.

The building has lots of potential with a big central courtyard and a function room upstairs that was being set up for a 40th birthday visit when we had a quick look round.

However, it was almost destroyed three years ago when a fire gutted the cafe, which had just been fitted out. Co-owners Sarah Ingolfsdottir and David Knott had to pull the place together and start all over again.

Now some charring on a wooden mantle in the kitchen is the only sign of near disaster.

The building opened two years ago and the cafe has been going for 18 months.

Sarah, David and Danny have ambitious plans for the place, aiming to start pop-up evening restaurant sessions in the summer.

That may include Danny firing up his portable wood-fired pizza oven used for Pizzatainment, which runs educational and corporate cooking sessions.

They are currently finalising an online lunchtime delivery service for surrounding businesses and Danny, a trained pastry chef, wants to introduce savoury and sweet pastries.

Sarah, who is of Icelandic extraction, hence the kaffihus (‘coffee house’) name, says the cafe will also be offering traditional kleinur, which are cardamom-flavoured doughnuts.

The menu is on a set of blackboards in the semi-open kitchen/serving counter area.

They offer healthy breakfasts including granola and teacakes and the lunch menu includes soups, sandwiches and panninis, plus a range of cakes and traybakes.

Most of the food is home-made, including chutneys, with the exception of the excellent bread, that comes from Forge Bakery. Danny collects it by bike on the way in.

When my friend Linda and I visited on Saturday afternoon, Danny had to think fast and made us toasted sandwiches with a crusty warm brown French-style loaf.

I tried the New York deli sandwich (£3.40), filled with smoked ham, pastrami and Edam cheese. The filling worked really well warm, bringing out the flavour of the meat beautifully.

Linda had a fromage delight, which was brie with home-made chutney (£3.40). And she was delighted too, especially as both sandwiches came with a small pile of rocket salad on the side.

While we were waiting for those, we shared a Nether Edge samosa (£1.25, about to go up to £1.50) that had a delicious mixed vegetable filling, accompanied by good mint yoghurt.

The only significance of Nether Edge in the name was the whereabouts of the supplier, although this has changed to Heeley now.

We started off with soft drinks and saved the coffees and teas to accompany the cakes, which looked delicious. Danny is careful to provide vegan and gluten-free options and cater for other dietary needs.

We went for a carrot, ginger and orange cake, which is dairy and nut free, and fancied the look of the lemon polenta cake, which Sarah mentioned was fresh out of the oven.

Danny asked if I wanted that with cream because he was worried that it was too dry. He once tried it in an Italian cafe in town and thought his first attempt wasn’t up to scratch.

I turned the cream down because the cake looked fine to me, and so it was. It was certainly not dry and the texture was interesting.

The lemon flavour was good and it wasn’t too sweet.

If it stays on the menu it will have spent less time in the oven and may well be orange flavoured.

The carrot cake was simply sublime, amazingly moist and full of flavour. Cakes are £2.

Our bill came to £19.15.

lVerdict: a lovely, laidback place offering good food and value.

lCafe opening hours: Monday to Saturday 10am to 5pm, Sunday 11am to 4pm.

lHagglers Corner, 586 Queens Rd, Sheffield, S2 4DU. Phone 07779 27783. Twitter: @HagglersCorner