What’s Cooking? Tom Aronica (Bench)
Ever wondered where Sheffield’s top chefs go to get their snap? … No? Well, we’re gonna tell you anyway…
This month we caught up with Bench chef Tom Aronica to get his top shouts on the Steel City’s food and drink scene.
Cheeky Takeaway: Napoli Centro
I am a VERY big fan of pizza, and Riccardo and the guys at Napoli are so good at it. Every time its spot on: chewy dough with the blistered crust. The toppings are as they should be and even when they go off-piste it’s still great. Oh, and get the fritti; they use the proper Italian breadcrumbs and the mozzarella bursts hotter-than-the-sun liquid into your mouth when you bite down.
Out for Lunch: North Town
Delicious cannoli, panini, bruschetta, meat dishes, fish dishes, and anything else Italian. North Town reminds me of my childhood a lot; when I first ate their meatballs I was transported to Sicily. We discovered these guys during the second lockdown and every Wednesday was meatball day. I don’t miss much from those times, but I do miss Meatball Wednesdays. Top Instagram craic as well.
Top Value: Piña
Piña gave me my first experience of eating authentic Mexican food and for that I am forever indebted. Piña’s food ticks so many boxes for me: fun, delicious, informal and well executed. It’s also very reasonably priced; you can eat incredibly well at Piña, that’s for sure. You can also drink incredibly well, and a top-notch mezcal offering means you’re in for a top-notch night when you visit.
Date Night: Ashoka
Ashoka takes no introduction. Me and my better half have kids now so we don’t get out much, but when we do, we’re off to Ashoka. Rahul and his team smash it every time, their hospitality is spot on. The taxi driver curry is my go-to but you can basically order whatever and you’re in the safest of hands. And you get to take home some Parle-Gs for yer brew in the morning!
Underrated Gem: China Red
If you’re a fan of Szechuan cuisine, you gotta get on China Red. I ask for recommendations and eat accordingly. As is to be expected with this cuisine the flavours are BIG – it’s hot, it’s pungent, it’s aromatic, it’s delicious. Everything I’ve eaten there has been great but I particularly enjoy the hot pot. I’d recommend going with a big group and ordering loads of stuff, or alternatively, spend the summer going on your own and working your way through the menu, just as I have.
Now, a tip from us. Go treat yourself to some of the best cocktails, natural wines and seasonal dishes in the city by booking a reservation at benchsheffield.co.uk.
Bench, 7B Nether Edge Road, Sheffield, S7 1RU