Princely food that comes at a price to match

Prince of Wales 'Ecclesall Road South
Prince of Wales 'Ecclesall Road South

It seems, in some ways, a perfect way to hang up my fork and pen; going back to one of the first establishments I and my then-girlfriend, now-fiance and ever-present partner in crimes against food writing ever frequented and then opined over.

The Prince of Wales. A charming, characterful place on my least favourite stretch of Ecclesall Road, purely because of the road layout which always saw me end up in the wrong lane, we stumbled across it on a horrendous Sheffield evening a few years back and chose a seat by the fire, for about five minutes before asking to move as our faces began to melt.

We brought both our families to celebrate the purchase of our first house, a journalism award I won and Natalie completing a marketing degree (this all happened in the space of about a fortnight, thankfully for our bank balances) and a relation of Natalie's and his new wife chose it as the venue for their post-wedding gathering.

The place just has that intangible feel about it; a pub but more than a pub at the same time, with a touch of the fine-dining experience that sets it some way apart from the local boozer serving pie and mash between 12 and two.

Since we last came, the Prince has undergone a renovation and reopened in January with, according to the Premium Country Pubs chain's marketing gurus, a "funky" open-plan bar area, new marble bathrooms and an elegant private dining and meeting space.

Leaving aside the question of when a bar area becomes 'funky', the place looks well and also recently introduced a range of food and drink options with a health and wellness feel.

An expanded vegan menu, featuring lentil falafel and spiced coconut curry amongst others, are joined by low-calorie offerings like king prawn, crab and chorizo linguine and stir-fried beef fillet salad as well as low and no-alcohol drinks - including Seedlip Garden 108, the world’s first distilled non-alcoholic spirit.

It's not just the decor and the menu that's changed, either, with a number of new staff joining the expanded team. Our waitress, Harriet according to the bill, was superb and head chef Graeme Bellamy, who has been with the business for over eight years, is now in situ under general manager Charlotte Corden.

"The pub is hugely popular with a lot of soul so we’re really excited to be part of the team as it begins its next chapter,” she said.

"We have made some stunning changes that have allowed us to create a modern, open and stylish look and feel to the pub, making it the ideal spot for friends and family to get together. 

"We have loved unveiling the brand new pub to guests."

Did the food live up to the rest? Largely, although at a cost. The buttermilk southern fried chicken (£15.95) was succulent and delicious with the unique touch of spicy Nduja sausage complementing it well, and the pork belly (£18.95 with scallops, £14.95 without) was juicy and flavoursome but was actually overshadowed by the accompaniment, the delicious dauphinoise potatoes.

Slight question marks were raised about the chocolate bomb dessert, a ball of hollow chocolate with hot sauce that failed to actually melt as it should and left us feeling a little short-changed out of £8, but overall it received a thumbs-up from all.

Nice, but at a price.

Prince of Wales, 95 Ecclesall Road South, S11 9PH. Tel 0114 236 9176, or book