Student Eats – Eating Out
If beans means Heinz does student mean Heinz on toast?
For three years? Really? Nah. Thought not. There's only so much tinned stuff you can bear. And we all need to go out for a treat once in a while.
Thankfully Sheffield has a fair few decent eateries offering good food at fair prices. And I'm not talking beer and burger at the 'Spoons; you'll find good value meals available at Sheffield's independents.
Following on from my recent article for Exposed I want to welcome all our new residents to the city and show you all the best food Sheffield has to offer. Even with a budget of £5-£10 per head, there's something for everyone, for every occasion and these are just some of the best that are on offer.
Out with the mates
Whether you're out with friends from uni, or you've got friends visiting you from home, you'll want to take them somewhere with a friendly, relaxed atmosphere and consistently good food.
My number one choice here is The Wick at Both Ends (149-151 West Street) and their Wick & Mix menu. Think tapas & meze, but more pick & mix as there are a wide variety of dishes from Serrano ham wraps to mini meat pie with mash and gravy. Dishes are £4 each, but there are a few offers so you can get 2 for £7, 4 for £12 etc. And you can throw drinks into the mix too!
Favourites include smoked duck (which is an elegant dish of sliced duck served with a poached pear), ham and eggs (a long standing favourite) and the crispy pig ear salad (the pretty edible flowers add a real touch of luxury to this cheap cut of meat). Service is excellent as are the cocktails and the chilled out friendly atmosphere is enjoyed by all.
If you're after something a bit livelier then try The Wick's sister bar; The Harley (334 Glossop Road). It's predominantly a late night music venue, but they're open all day and do food too. A burger, fries, salad and coleslaw will set you back £6 and they often have offers on, so you might be lucky and get it for a truly bargainous price. Try The Honk; a beef burger with Monterey jack cheese, chorizo and tomato salsa. Or if you're a 'lady wot lunches' then there's a chicken and bacon burger with your name on it.
The Rutland Arms (86 Brown Street) is a proper pub pub; a rare find in a city centre nowadays. It's a favourite with real ale lovers and it already has a strong reputation for its local beers and ciders, but it's gaining another for its food. There's the usual pub grub with bangers and mash, but The Rutland's personality shines through with dishes like the Slutty Rutty Butty which is a bacon, chips, cheese and spicy tomato sandwich (£3.95). The bhaji butty is another one to look out for; chips, curry sauce and onion bhajis in a layered paratha (£3.75). If you want to splash out then the rump steak for £9.50 was very good when I last ate here.
The Rutland Arms, Brown Street (Google Map)
Somewhere for a date
When love is in the air, you'll need somewhere a bit special, but within budget. Hui Wei (221 Glossop Road) is a contemporary Chinese restaurant. The décor is impressive and food is always good. With mains at around £7.50 it's a bit of affordable luxury. I'd recommend the braised aubergine with mixed nuts (£7.50) and if you ordered this as part of the express menu, which is available until 7pm every day, you'd get steamed rice thrown in for the same price. The lunch menu is good value too with bento boxes of 4 dishes for £6.99.
If you're more opulent than contemporary try Baan Thai (1 Eccelsall Road). You'll be stunned by both the décor and the cuisine. Mains are around £8.50 and there's more than just the standard red and green curries on offer. Try the Jungle curry (£8.10) or stir fried beef in oyster sauce (£8.10). The salads are especially interesting, but watch out; they are HOT! If you're brave enough to give one a try then the Larb Noo (£8.95) salad of minced pork, mint coriander, chilli and lime would get my vote. But seriously guys, I'm not just saying this, the salads are very hot and only the hardcore should attempt them.
If your date is a foodie, then he/she will have probably watched Ramsay's Best Restaurant last year and will know that our very own The Milestone (84 Green Lane) won the award for Best British restaurant. So, what better than to take your date to this award winning restaurant? The early bird starts at £14 for two courses including wine or a pint. Being a British restaurant there's sausages, lambs liver and the like to choose from.
The Milestone, Green Lane (Google Map)
For a real touch of luxury however, a leisurely brunch here, or at sister restaurant Wig and Pen (44 Campo Lane), will fit the bill. There's the obligatory full English (available at both restaurants for £7.50), but I prefer to keep things light with Double Eggs Benedict (The Milestone – £7.50) or Cured salmon with truffled scrambled egg (Wig & Pen – £6.95).
Kitchen (762 Ecclesall Road) has recently won The Good Food Guide award for Best Value for Money restaurant in the whole of the UK. And although the main a la carte menu is standard restaurant prices and a bit pricey (note the award is for good value, not necessarily cheap food), the restaurant has started doing a one pot menu on a Tuesday where you can get a main course and a glass of wine or beer for £9. Dishes include the likes of Catalan fish stew and beef tagine and it's BYOB on a Tuesday so it really is one to try.
When the parents are paying
Sometimes there's nothing nicer than seeing your parents at your door. It means, for once, that lunch is on someone else. My advice to you is, don't waste it. Make sure you get your money's worth and suggest a trip somewhere you wouldn't normally be able to afford.
Wasabisabi (227A London Road) is the smartest Japanese restaurant in town. There's a tepanyaki section where chefs perform a culinary show as they prepare and cook your food before your eyes but I quite like the a la carte side where you can order sushi along with cooked dishes including noodles and Japanese curries.
Wasabisabi, London Road (Google Map)
I highly recommend the salmon sashimi (there is something about raw salmon that I really do love) and the salmon fish roe is also one to try. They're orange balls of salty goodness that just burst in your mouth. If cooked food is more your thing then you must try the Japanese black cod. It's incredibly creamy and so moreish. The ramen and udon noodle soup dishes are also good. Service is efficient, food is fresh and the whole experience is a delight.
If the folks are a bit more traditional then Moran's (289 Abbeydale Road South) may be more their cup of tea. It's good solid cooking and a perfectly safe bet. The Sunday lunch is particularly good and excellent value given the quality of the food. Artisan (32-34 Sandygate Road) is also worth a punt. Again the food is good home cooking, but they have a few of the more unusual cuts of meat on the menu too. Currently there's a delicious dish of short rib of beef and ox cheek.
On a budget
When money's tight it's tempting to cut back on food. But there's no need to tearfully wander the Pot Noodle aisle at Late Shopper. Sheffield cheaper eating out options are among its most interesting – and they don't skimp on quality.
Head down to Noodle Inn (156 London Road) and you'll find oodles of noodles for about £6. It's BYOB and you'll get free ice cream thrown in at the end so it's a pretty good deal. My favourite dishes include the deep fried pumpkin with salted eggs (which look like chips but are way more exciting) and the fried aubergine harbour style (slices of aubergine, wrapped around a prawn mixture, fried and served with lots of dried chillies). Servings are large so make sure you ask for a doggy bag; they will happily oblige!
If you fancy something a bit more adventurous then Mandar Inn, just next door to Noodle Inn, offers really traditional Chinese cuisine. Chopped chilli cooked fish head anyone? Or how about deep fried pigs fat ends? Don't worry, it's not all scary and other dishes include crispy belly pork and spare ribs. And if you're intrigued by something but not too sure about it, ask one of the waiters. They're all friendly and helpful. As with Noodle Inn watch out for the humongous portion sizes and make sure there's enough room in the fridge for the doggy bags.
Head further down onto Abbeydale Road and you'll come across Dhanista's (74 Abbeydale Road) and East and West (227 Abbeydale Road). Both serve South Indian food (you won't find a chicken tikka masala here) but East and West is a bit canteen like, whereas Dhanista's is an informal restaurant. Have a dosa; it'll be the best £4 you've ever spent. Or, better still, just close your eyes and point at the menu to pick something. I can pretty much guarantee that neither of these places will let you down.
Back in town and Rise at The Hallamshire (182 West Street) might look more vodka and coke than stone baked pizza, but they do both. Their enormous 12” thin and crispy pizzas are some of the best in Sheffield. AND they're 2-4-1 all day Mon – Thurs and until 3pm on Friday. I always go for the Sunny Goats (goats cheese and sun-dried tomatoes) or the big blue (Stilton and rocket), but with 30 different toppings, there is something for everyone.
Hallamshire, West Street (Google Map)
The Hangover Breakfast
Sometimes we go a bit too far and we don't even realise until the next morning, do we? We've all been there and the only way forward is to get a decent brunch down you. My absolute top hangover cures can be found at Street Food Chef (98 Pinstone Street). Their breakfast burritos (£3.50) and bacon tacos (£2.00) will sort you out. Not only will you feel better afterwards, you can take comfort in the knowledge that you'll be supporting local pig farm Moss Valley Fine Meats. Just make sure you say yes to the hot stuff; you'll need it to kick that hangover into shape.
If it's a really bad one then you'll probably need to sit down and eat at the table. Fagan's (69 Broad Lane) is a good option as they have enormous and reasonably priced servings. I'm sure that they'll fix you up with a Bloody Mary too. But maybe Hair of the Dog isn't such a good idea, especially if you've got lectures to go to!
If so then Roast (46 Howard Street) have breakfasts starting from a couple of quid which will get you fried egg on toast. Having said that, the Pride of Britain sandwich (£4) would be my choice. It's basically a full English in a bap and will definitely keep you going until lunch.
Where to find out more
Sheffield is proud of its food scene and there are plenty of places to look for advice on eating out here. Of course, a fine place to start is right here; my food blog covers all aspects of Sheffield food. Make sure you have a good old nosey around the Exposed website too as there are a few offers to be found.
If you're not on Twitter, get on it and follow me (@FeastAndGlory). The Going Out and Sheffield Foodies sections on Sheffield Forum are also very useful…. so you're not going to go hungry!
Look out for my next post which will reveal the best takeaways and Sheffield Food markets along with some really helpful recipes using cheap and healthy produce.
In the meantime, let me know what you think of the food scene in Sheffield using the comments box below.