Food blogger Clare gives us her verdict on Tamper's newest addition – Tamper: Sellers Wheel
Since it opened its Westfield Terrace doors in the winter of 2011, Jon Perry’s Tamper Coffee has gone from strength to strength. The coffee offering has always been strong, but the food menu has slowly grown from a few pies to a full weekend brunch offering including mushroom and chorizo on toast and the like. I've certianly enjoyed many coffee fuelled breakfasts here.
Unsurprisingly, news of Tamper: Sellers Wheel (their second venue) was very well received; especially as I learnt that there was going to be more of a focus on food along with a wine and beer menu, thanks to collaboration with Ben Smith of The Hop Box. And with a New Zealand chef in the kitchen, I knew that things were going to get a little bit more exciting than mushrooms on toast! After all, aside from the odd steak and cheese pie at the first Tamper, I had never experienced New Zealand food before and I’m guessing that a lot of Sheffield has a similar experience.
I attended the soft launch night to check the place out and I can only say that I liked what I saw. Situated on Arundel Street the premises are quite large with a front section dedicated to coffee and a little retail, a smart meeting room to the side and a big dining room to the back. There’s more still with a large courtyard area providing extra seating outside. Décor is very minimalist; stripped back, bare brick walls and simple furnishing which let the building sing. And although there is a stunning, hand painted, mural of New Zealand’s flora and fauna to one wall, for me, the most amazing part to this building is the ceiling. Like the walls, it is stripped bare, showing off its beautiful curves and I couldn’t help but wonder why and how the ceiling was so curvy, wavy in fact.
Sadly the kitchen wasn’t up and running that night, so I had to wait another week to try the menu. We visited on a Sunday morning, the first Sunday since opening. It was nicely busy when we arrived and I was glad we had decided to get there quite early as it quickly filled even further. With informal seating we, along with a couple of friends, shared a large table with a few others, but we still felt that we had sufficient space to spread out and relax.
The menu really did tantalise with dishes such as Thai fish cakes, sweet corn and chilli fritters and fush and chips (and no, that is not a spelling mistake), but I’d already fixed my sights on the Eggs Benedict. At £10 a pop (including smoked salmon), this was an expensive brunch, and I felt that the lack of full table service meant that it was difficult to justify the pricing, but I do have to admit that all these concerns were smashed when my food arrived. No, this eggs Benedict was not the cheapest I have ever eaten, but by ‘eck, they certainly were the prettiest! To an extent, the dish was as I expected; well cooked eggs with hollandaise, spinach and smoked salmon, but the inclusion of a herbed hash brown, a garnish of micro herbs and a dressing of a red pepper (I think) just made the dish special and set it apart from others I have had.
Wanting to try something completely new the husband went for Mince on Toast (£7)… that’s right… mince on toast… for breakfast. An NZ speciality, the dish went down surprisingly well. The mince had the flavour of a bolognese, without the sauciness, which ensured that the toast stayed crisp. Topped off with a poached egg, some hollandaise and a few more of those micro herbs, this was a filling and tasty start to the day.
One of our friends enjoyed The Full Kiwi (£9) which was absolutely enormous and packed full of quality ingredients including a rather impressive selection of mushrooms (of all things, he raved about the mushrooms). The other had the French toast (£7) which was another ample serving of egg dipped brioche, banana, bacon and maple syrup, which, again, went down very well. Of course there was coffee and tea on the side, but I don’t need to tell you diehard Tamper fans about that aspect of the menu, do I?
Overall, the verdict is good. My only niggle is the inconsistency in the pricing (specifically the pricing of the Eggs Benedict in relation to other dishes, especially The Big Kiwi), but Sellers Wheel is only a little over two weeks old and I’m sure things will drop into place soon.
I really do have faith in the team behind Sellers Wheel and I’m absolutely certain that they will make this a success. The food was delicious and I think it will soon become a top breakfast spot for Sheffielders, but with hints of bistro nights on the horizon there is a chance it could become so much more…