Food Review: Smokin’ Bull

Stroll down Fargate, drop a right onto Leopold Street and bang opposite the hotel of the same name, you’ll find the newly opened Smokin’ Bull restaurant. The interior appears similar to its predecessor 8oz, and whilst the food remains alike, owners Ryan Collins and Tim Wain are looking to run a restaurant that caters for everyone, and where everyone can have a bit of fun at the same time.

As a vegetarian, the feeling of apprehension prior to visiting a smoking burger restaurant was unnecessary. The menu at Smokin’ Bull had plenty of vegan, vegetarian and gluten free options to choose from. Ryan, whose Smokin’ Bull venture is his first foray into the restaurant biz, explains: “I’m not vegan, but most places just do falafel. There’ll be a menu full of meat dishes and then the vegan option always seems to be an afterthought.”

Chefs Chris Shemeld and Ian Stockdale worked with Ryan to create a menu that incorporated a demand for non-meat and dairy dishes. I opted for the Tiny Tempeh burger – a mushroom and tempeh fritter topped with slaw, vegan cheese and tarragon veganaise. From the smoking specials menu, another member of the party had the Tempeh T burger, which is similar but topped with pulled jackfruit. Both full to the brim with flavour, with the jackfruit in particular a highlight.

For balance, our photographer ordered the Smokin’ Bull’s signature burger the Notorious PIG. Struggling to talk through the sheer delight of what he was eating, Marc mustered up a couple of words post-dinner. “Cooked to perfection, perfectly seasoned.” Can’t ask for more, can you? A member of our sales team opted for the spicy Khoo’s You Lose burger, which was topped with Khoo’s Bajan hot sauce – something we all partook in once Ryan told us the story of the sauce. “We keep things as Sheffield as possible, we’ve got Khoo’s hot sauces on the tables. Customers can buy the sauces here too.”

After a taster of each sauce, we grabbed the spicy ketchup sauce, the Bajan sauce and the ‘heavy smoker’ sauce – a personal favourite, particularly with our side of halloumi fries and fried pickles. We finished things off with a portion of warm cookie dough topped with Joe’s Ices ice cream, significant in that it typifies Ryan’s ethos. “It’s another Sheffield thing we’ve tried to incorporate. The ice cream is from Joe’s Ices, I used to have it as a kid!

“Once we’ve finished installing the coffee machine, we’ll be selling Roastology coffee. It’s not always easy to do it with Sheffield businesses in mind, but that’s absolutely what I wanted to do from the start.”

After dinner we ambled over to the retro games machine for a quick post-meal game of R-Type before waddling back to the office. The amiable Ryan bid us farewell with three quarters of our party having verbally booked a table for the following weekend. // 9 Leopold Street // 0114 4000035

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