Monday, 2 May 2011

The Kitchen - Sheffield

Starter fish platter

Average olives - small and oily
Not being a local, my idea of Sheffield has been shaped by the city’s biggest exports: coal, steel, the Arctic Monkeys, Billy Elliott.  Perhaps not the destination for fantastic food.  However, I had read good things about a restaurant on Ecclesall Road.
The Kitchen touts itself as a restaurant that serves simple, classic food, served in a relaxed and informal style.  First impressions do support that:  the restaurant is small, friendly and vibrant and rather than the usual black on black combo, the staff sport green polo shirts (which are not too dissimilar from those the McDonalds supervisors used to wear). 
The food, on the whole, is good.  A special starter of dressed crab and game chips was tasty, but at £9 I’d expect it to be so.  I plumped for the Kitchen smoked fish platter which was excellent and for £7 (conversely) a true bargain.  It came complete with smoked salmon, prawns, trout, mackerel, and herring with some lovely little pickled sides.
Crab and game chips
Out of my usual comfort zone, I chose the “dixie’s three little pigs” for a main.  Certain elements were triumphant – a patty of cheek in breadcrumbs had brilliant flavour, a soft, fibrous texture, and a really moist chunk of belly.  Unfortunately, the fillet was overdone for my tastes, and the black pudding a little bland.  The duck breast with spring roll was also well cooked, although overwhelmed by the accompanying rhubarb. 
There were a few hiccups along the way – mains 5 minutes (at most) after the starters were not too welcome, but the staff took it all on board.  Indeed, simply because I’d raised issues with the pork, they offered complimentary deserts and coffee.  The service was the true highlight: the staff were knowledgeable, enthusiastic and clearly passionate about the food.
While not perfect, the Kitchen certainly showed me that there is more to Sheffield than heavy industry, snooker, and comedy male strippers.

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