Social Sheffield Food Writer, Edsmond Cheong picks his Top 3 “Eat Social” Recommendations for those eating out in Sheffield, Mon. 9 – Sun. 15 Nov. 2015
1. – The Brunch and Desserts @ Grind Cafe (Kelham Island)
I’ve never been disappointed by Grind. It is one of Sheffield’s most well-rounded cafés. Their coffee, their brunch and even their desserts impress every single time.
Most recently, I tried the Smoked Salmon & Scrambled Eggs (£6.50). It’s not something I would normally order. Scrambled eggs are notoriously difficult to get right. I’m very picky and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised – just the right balanced of moist, creaminess and seasoning. Their toast too – these things matter! – has a nice biscuity texture, with an appropriately soft centre to pair with the eggs. It’s a great testament to The Grind Café that they care about the details and makes the hardest things look easy.
To finish the meal, I would recommend a slice of cake (£2.50 – £3). What’s available changes from day to day, but the Hazelnut Chocolate Cake which I tried was great value for money. It was rich, generous in portion, and with just the right mix of ingredients. And as for the cafe itself, it’s just a really pleasant environment for a group of friends to gather and eat social!
2. – Brunch @ Alyssum Café Bistro (Crookesmoor)
Alyssum, is a terrific little Greek-inspired café bistro perched atop Crookesmoor and run by a mother-daughter team. Walking into Alyssum is like walking into somebody’s home – somebody nice, Somebody who appreciates honest-to-goodness, don’t-scrimp-on-the-details, home-away-from-hominess! And it’s only been open four months!
There’s a good range of brunch options (some better than others I’m sure), but what stood out for me was the Fluffy Pancakes with Caramelised Cinnamon Apples & Honey (£4.80). A simple dish but not an easy one. Nonetheless, they pulled it off with flair. The pancakes were fluffy as advertised, with parts of charred to crisp but never bitter. When served warm with the caramelised cinnamon apples (which thankfully not overly sweet), they were the perfect pairing. Brunch here will set you back about £4 – £6, which is great value-for-money considering the relatively generous portion and the quality of the food. Grab a coffee while you’re here too (£2.30). Their coffee (Greek-inspired) contains two shots of espresso and is potent, strong, rather light-bodied and with low acidity.
What started and finished off a very satisfying brunch for me was the very personalised and social service. We were greeted, checked on, and bidden farewell with smiles, warmth and generous hospitality. A return is on the cards!
3. – Dry Hotpot @ Harmony Cafe (City Centre)
I’ve been giving some thought to what I’d recommend for these cold, wet wintery nights! For me it calls for something hot and spicy! Harmony Café’s Dry Hotpot is a great bet.
The Dry Hotpot is diner’s choice! You pick the ingredients you want to go into it – at a very reasonable £7 for 4 items with £1/additional item. Options range from meat to vegetables to… well, exotic items you have never thought of trying! I dare you to try the Pig’s Stomach – it is one of my favourites! I personally recommend the Braised Beef, which is surprisingly tender, or the Sliced Pork (close to pork belly), and definitely the Lotus Root! For those unfamiliar with Szechuan cuisine, the words ‘Szechuan’ and ‘spicy’ are synonymous… But fear not, you can opt for a lower level of spiciness if you so desire. When your food comes, what you get from this curiously-named ‘Dry Hotpot’ is a wok of ingredients with your personal choices, stir-fried Szechuan style, and presented to you with a burning candle beneath.
Be warned though – the café is peculiarly segregated by an aisle. Diners sitting to the left of the aisle are only able to have the ‘Dry Hotpot’, while diners to the right are only able to have the ‘Hotpot Buffet’. Make sure you sit with ‘birds of the same feather’ because you will not be allowed to sit on the same table and have different kinds of hotpot! To each hotpot there’s a hotspot and never the two shall meet!