High Steaks at Bar & Grill
The words wagyu and kobe intrigue the hell out of me… beer, sake and well oiled beef sounds so good, but so wrong.
See, some say that the wagyu cattle are fed beer and massaged with sake to make for perfectly marbled kobe beef, and although that sounds like a good life to me, it probably isn't the most appropriate diet for a farm animal.
Farmers in Britain seem to agree and as Japan won't let any of their precious kobe out of the country, the chances of you getting the 'real deal' are nigh on impossible. Having said that, us Brits don't do too badly at producing kobe style beef and although Earl Stonham Farm don't massage their cows (or feed them beer), their cattle are free to roam in comfort and therefore they don't have any aches and pains that need massaging away.
Earl Stonham supply some of the top restaurants in the country and now Bar & Grill in Leopold Square have managed to get in on the act. As far as I know (and someone please do correct me if I'm wrong) Bar & Grill is the first restaurant in Sheffield to get hold of the stuff, so I was quite keen to try the burgers for myself.
You might recall that I've been here before and I had a very good meal. I've since returned a couple of times but sadly my last visit, a Christmas meal I had arranged with new colleagues, was embarrassingly poor. Sad turkey dinners and patronising service wasn't appreciated and I got a lot of stick for recommending the place. Thankfully I hadn't had one of the turkey dinners (cannot bear the stuff) so I wasn't completely put off.
We sat by the window overlooking Leopold Square (a lovely view, if you can make sure you sit on this side of the restaurant) and quickly got down to business. If you would like to take in the surroundings just as I did on my first visit then check out my earlier review.
For starters I went with our waiter's recommendation of chicken livers (£4.50) served in a Madeira cream sauce with grapes. I'll have to admit to not having had livers and grapes before and to be honest they came as a bit of a surprise as on first glance I thought they were mushrooms or olives! The livers were cooked through (which will please my cautious mother as she reads this), but soft and tender. The creamy sauce was delicious, especially with those grapes just cutting through the richness a little. A chunk of bread was great for mopping up and it was a good start to the night.
The husband went for a dish we'd had a few times; the Thai baby squid (£4.95). Rings of calamari and teeny tiny whole squid were cooked to melt in the mouth perfection. The batter was light which also scores points with me; I still feel sick whenever I recall some calamari I had at a popular chain restaurant, the batter was so thick and heavy, it was vile. The husband's one and only complaint was that this squid ain't particularly Thai. Yeah there are a few bits of chilli and spring onion scattered around the plate, but if there was any spicing in the batter, it wasn't noticeable. Having said that, I, personally, don't care and I'll be back for more.
Moving onto the mains, I had that wagyu burger (£15.95). Our waiter offered options of bacon and cheese, but I decided to go for it naked, to make sure that I got the full flavour of the meat. It came with tasty 'could be crispier' chips, a good coleslaw and a lovely fresh salad of English watercress (which, being English, impressed me no end). The burger itself was an ample size and I heartily tucked in. As I picked it up a gush of pink juices fell onto my board (burgers are served on wooden boards here, not plates) suggesting that the meat could have done with a bit of a rest before serving. Taking my first bite I was pleased to see that the meat was still pink and tender, it tasted good too. The meat was juicy and well-seasoned and, although it's debatable whether this was the BEST burger ever, it certainly was a very tasty one.
The husband went for the rib eye steak (8oz £15.95); this is our favourite cut of beef as we're more about the flavour than the texture and the husband wasn't disappointed with his dish. It was perfectly cooked, tasty and tender. Chips and watercress salad with a couple of cherry tomatoes made for good sides. He'd also gone for the blue cheese sauce which could have been thicker and heavier on the blue cheese, but made for a tasty dip for the chips (like me he doesn't like too much of a sauce to distract from the flavour of the meat).
Although I was feeling pretty full after the two courses I couldn't resist the chocolate truffles (£3.50). I'd had them before, so I knew what I was letting myself in for; bite sized morsels of rich and creamy chocolateness. There were only six which was actually the right amount as any more would be a bit overkill. The husband went for the special of lemon meringue (around £5.50) which had a zingy enough filling and gooey enough meringue to keep him happy.
To sum up, food is good (especially those steaks!), prices are very reasonable, both the décor & location are easy on the eye and service was fine. You won’t go far wrong here and those wagyu burgers are worth a go, especially if you’re a bit of a foodie and want to cross it off your list.