Given the present situation, it is hardly surprising that we are not eating out as often as we used to. In fact, over the past 6 weeks, I think I have ‘eaten out’ in a couple of Wetherspoon pubs and a dodgy curry house in Leicester. That’s it. No extravagant Blumenthal-esque menus, no ‘oh what the hell’ bottles of champagne (rather, no bottles of Prosecco), no giving in to the temptation of calamari at Platillos and no take-aways.
I do miss being able to do these things, but I have really enjoyed having the opportunity to cook more. Eating out is definitely more of a treat now and it’s certainly a rarity at the moment, which is also quite nice as it means that I am more careful about where we go, making sure we get good value for money. It also makes the whole experience a bit more special.
So what made today so special? What made this day a ‘treat day’. Well, quite shamefully, nothing, other than hunger and the marvelous offer that The Wick at Both Ends have on at the moment.
Doing the food shop this morning with the husband (as he’s working nights today) starvation really set in, obviously not literally (don’t worry – things are not that bad), but being surrounded by food around lunch time just made by stomach growl. Said starvation was only fuelled by driving home along Abbeydale Road/London Road where some of our favourite restaurants lie.
It was my fault. I planted the hunger seed in Gav’s brain and I sealed the deal with the 2-4-1 offer on all mains at The Wick at Both Ends. Decision made we threw the shopping into the cupboards/fridge/freezer, completely ignoring my plan to always wash fruit and veg before putting it away (did I really think that plan was going to last long anyway?), and set out to the Wick at Both Ends.
I love this place. It has been a number of different bars over the year. When I moved to Sheffield, it was an Irish pub – Scruffy Murphys I think. Then, as West Street developed and new bars started popping up everywhere, Scruffy Murphys was no more and it evolved into Muse Bar, then Dogma and now The Wick. I have frequented 149-151 West Street since the Muse Bar days which introduced eclectic furniture and decor, fantastic cocktails and easy going, chilled out (non-pop) music to the place. To be honest with you, I don’t think too much has changed from Muse. Sure, there have been re-furbs and the furniture has changed, but the feel of the place has remained. It’s just got a nice vibe and it’s somewhere that I would quite happily sit for an hour or so listening to the music and reading the free newspapers and magazines that are floating around whilst waiting for friends. Yes, some of my friends can quite easily be up to an hour late, and hunting out suitable waiting rooms is an absolute must!
Saying all this, the Wick have made a huge improvement to the place – the provision of FOOD. This is something I had always questioned about the earlier bars. I knew the place had a kitchen and I could never understand why they didn’t tap into the food side of things. Not that it really matters now, as, at last, the Wick has seen the light.
The guys who run it also run the Harley which is just up the road from the Wick. The Harley is ok, but quite a bit more ‘studenty’ and the Wick has a more mature and…. er…… ‘sophisticated’ vibe! I hear that a former chef of the Wig & Pen has recently joined the Wick, and brought a new menu with him and as I always enjoyed the W&P, and I am sad to see it go, I was looking forward to seeing what changes he would bring to the Wick.
So we entered. We ordered two pints of Staropramen (my second favourite lager), took a seat and perused the menu. There’s sandwiches and light bites, about 4 burgers and then about 6 mains. So, not a huge menu, but considering it does change quite often, there probably is enough on there. 2-4-1 isn’t on all the dishes, (and it’s only on until 5pm and will cease entirely on 16th December), but you can choose from fish and chips, burgers and venison hot pot amongst others. Unfortunately the pie and rib-eye steak were not on offer which was a shame as I love pie and the last rib-eye I had eaten here had been bloody lovely, but in the end I went with the venison hot pot. Gav went with the beef burger, with extra bacon. We paid £7.50, for both dishes.
My hot pot was better than expected. It could have looked more appetising as the carrots and potato top layers did look a bit sorry for themselves. Lurking under this layer there was plenty of gamey venison which was still slightly pink, so it was nice and tender. There was also an acceptable amount of fat which added nicely to the flavour without making the dish fatty. It also came with curly kale cooked in butter (mmmmmmmmm!) and some slices of ciabatta which were more than ample for mopping up the rich juices from the hot pot. Truly an enjoyable dish.
Gavin didn’t have quite so much luck. His burger was described as being served with a red onion marmalade (or something along those lines) and that was missing. He can cope with this. He is a grown man and he can let such things go, but the soggy thrice cooked chips were disappointing. We’ve had chips here before and they have been nigh on excellent, so anything short of that excellence is disappointing. Did he complain? Of course not. He said he would have done had he been paying full price but I’m not so sure. I have known Gav a very long time and I think I have seen him complain in a restaurant 2/3 times in total. Anyway, the burger was as good as any other burger he’d had and that’s pretty good going as he’s had a few burgers in his time! It certainly looked good; it was big enough, so not lost in its flat bread type bun and it came with a fresh salad, i.e. not a manky bit of ‘garnish’. He was, therefore, happy. As was I.
Service is good here There are a few friendly characters about and the bar staff welcome you and immediately make you feel comfortable. I could have quite happily sat there all day, moving onto wine, followed by martinis with another meal thrown in at some point for tea. I could still be there now, if I had my way.
Unfortunately, I don’t have it my way and so plates and pint pots empty, we vacated and after a good feed and a bit of alcohol, Gav was ready for his afternoon, pre-night-shift, doze whilst I pretended to do work. The joys of reality!
It’s great and we will return. Many times.