A trip down memory lane….

The other weekend I was invited down to Vanilla Coffee Shop, a new coffee shop down Abbeydale Road.  Gav and I used to live that way a few years back and as it was a nice day, I decided to take the walk back into town and get some reminiscing done on the way.
Vanilla Coffee is a brand spanking new coffee shop near Millhouses park; one that I’d heard bits about through Twitter and Facebook.  As a fan of Sheffield food, I was pleased to see owners Suze Goodman and Sheila Clapham share their passion and show their enthusiasm through their menu which has dishes incorporating ingredients such as Pumpkin Oil, Catherine’s Choice and Sheffield Honey. 
Foodie Goodies for sale.

There’s a really easy feel to the place, which Suze says is thanks to the fact that so many family members work there.  Suze’s daughter Sophie works in the shop and has taken it upon herself to help with the marketing side of things and step-son Matt is a trained barrista who is relishing the chance to create some latte art.
Food wise, the menu is evolving as Vanilla has only been open for a couple of months and they are still discovering what will work for their customers.  They serve breakfast, lunch and light bites and along with Sheffield food, Vanilla are enthusiastic about retro food.  Think animal biscuits, iced gems & wagon wheels.  It isn’t all just cake and biscuits though and there is a focus on the healthier side of things with both yoghurt & porridge available for breakfast. 

Pork Pie

After a quick chat and a cuppa, I was off on my way and my next stop off was at Roses the Bakers.  This business has been going since 1940 but this was my first visit!  They have three stores; this Abbeydale Road store, one on Ecclesall Road and another in Crosspool.  I popped in to see what they had.  There was plenty of bread on offer but I had a long trip ahead and didn’t want to carry anything.
So, on spotting a tray of various pasties and pies I ordered the smallest pie going (my plan was going to be little and often on this trip).  I didn’t know what it was, as there weren’t any labels, but as a pie is a pie, I wasn’t scared. 
Just as I handed my cash over, I did enquire as to the nature of the pie and was pleased to find it was a pork pie.  It wasn’t a melton mowbrey style pork pie, which is my favourite but it was tasty enough.
I carried on walking, past Tesco and up towards the junction with Woodseats Road.  I almost missed Cafe Surtees, but the Cafeology sign caught my eye.  The cafe doesn’t look up to much but their facebook page tells me that they specialise in free-range locally sourced meats and eggs, so it’s probably worth a look in if you’re down that way.
Rhythm and Booze seems to be taking over all the old Thresher shops across Yorkshire including the one at the bottom of Woodseats Road.  According to their website, the first store was set up in Barnsley but now they have stores in the majority of the main Yorkshire cities.
Then I passed the flat that Gav and I shared back in 2002.  It was a great flat; 2 bedrooms, kitchen diner and a huge living room on the top floor.  But it was all single glazed when we lived there and the noise from Abbeydale Road got too much (and it was a tad cold in winter) so we didn’t stay long.
Throughout our time there we didn’t pay one visit to the restaurant which was only a couple of doors down from us.  Arts it was called.  It didn’t stay open too long and it’s now a Persian restaurant.  
In all honesty, back then we were far too skint to splash out on restaurants and our favourite place for food was Danums Pizza (now Pizza Zone).  They did a pretty good Tandoori chicken pizza along with the standard selection of kebabs and southern fried chicken.  In all fairness I probably wouldn’t eat there now and I certainly wouldn’t have anything with chicken on it as I’m pretty certain it won’t be free-range! 
I kept walking, past B. Ciccarella (where Gav used to get his hair cut), Sharps fruit and veg and Castle Martial Arts which used to be Wedding Daze (and where I got my wedding dress from).
Then I came across the first of many supermarkets down this way.  Reza supermarket is Turkish, I think, and it’s full of big bags of spices, boxes of tea, bags of nuts and Turkish desserts.  I didn’t spot any savoury snack food to nibble on though so I kept on going.
I wondered on past The Grand Potato; somewhere I have seen on many occasions, but never ventured into.  Unfortunately I had to give it a miss again as it was shut.  I will have to try that chilli and cheese jacket potato one day…
I walked on and spotted Ei8teen-In.  It didn’t look like much from the outside, but I thought I recognised it from another blog so I wandered in (in fact the blog had actually been about Café #9). 
I was the only customer and ordered an Americano.  The owner warned me that he made them strong and this pleased me.  As I sipped from my rather large mug of coffee I chatted with the owner and it turned out that I was quite lucky to have stumbled on this place at all!  This was his last shift before packing it in and closing up.  As a former surveyor, he’d had enough of the long, stressful hours and wanted to get back to a more structured routine.  He’s glad that he’s given it a go and he’s happy that the two ladies who are taking over the business are going to do the place proud.
Coffee slurped I carried on my merry way, past the Broadfield (soon to be re-opened under the Forum group) and onto one of the oldest supermarkets round this end; Shah Supermarket.  It’s an amazing place full of fresh fruit and veg, curry pastes, rice and well, pretty much anything you’d need for a real Indian feast.  I spotted a pack of Palak Paneer and bought that to have at home later (although it wasn’t that good to be honest!).  

Practically next door to Shah is Alyan Sweet Centre, which sells hot food as well as sweets.  There was a whole counter full of the sweet stuff, but I headed over to the savoury section.  Unfortunately on asking what something was I couldn’t understand the broken English response, and just kind of nodded in acceptance of the item.  

My snack had been heated and turned out to be a bit like a veggie burger packed with cooked onions, chilli and spices.  It had heat, but not enough to take over the delicate spicing.  I was quite pleased with my surprise snack and it kept me going as I carried on walking.
I strolled past The Pad and Timewarp Collectables; shops that I love but rarely dare venture into.  I love retro stuff, but my flat (and bank balance) is too small to justify any of the purchases I would like to make.  Across the road is recent Eat Sheffield Award winners La Mama.  This Latin Tapas Bar has a large selection of dishes including calamari, ceviche, empanadas and lamb.  It really does look good but it’s one I’m yet to try.
Just a bit further down is Bragazzis; somewhere with a strong reputation in Sheffield, but somewhere I’ve never quite ‘got’.  The coffee isn’t the best the city can offer, the menu is limited and the deli is pretty sad.  A bit further down the road is their attempt at more formal dining; Bucca di Bragazzis.  The menu reads well and I think I’d be a happy diner here, but again, I am yet to try it.
Back over the road is one of my absolute favourites; East and West.  These guys specialise in Southern Indian and Sri Lankan food and it’s a little different from the bog standard curry house.  Well worth a try if you haven’t been before.
Moving closer towards London Road is Caspian (another Persian), Home Café (a new Caribbean café) and then Dhanista’s.  Many, many years ago Gavin and I went for our first meal out together at La Dolce Vita, now Dhanista’s, so this place will always have a place in my heart, no matter what guise it’s trading under.  Having said that, Dhanista’s has an extra special place in my heart.  The cuisine is similar to East and West, it’s just a little more formal (i.e. you eat from plates rather than stainless steel bowls) and the menu is larger.
Across the way is The Rude Shipyard; a café with a focus on the arts.  There’s books, music and poetry to be had as well as tea and cake.  Moving onto London Road there is Parthenonas which is somewhere we have been before (and will not be returning to).  Then there’s the glorious Amigo’s Mexican Kitchen which has recently had its second refurb, to give it more of a restaurant rather than café feel. 
Across the way is Wasabisabi (my absolute favourite Japanese restaurant in Sheffield) and Orchid Thai (one of the worst restaurants I have ever been to).  Walking a bit further I came across Dim Sum.  I’ve been lucky enough to go Yum Cha a couple of times with Chinese friends (believe me, having someone help translate the menu is a huge bonus).  Yum Cha is an old Chinese tradition of going for some snacks with friends.  I am told that traditionally people would Yum Cha on a Sunday morning, but Dim Sum caters for the demands of the people and serves these snacks all day.  The menu is tapas style, but way more unusual; think chicken feet, tripe and jelly fish.
Across the road is Hong Kong Wok.  I hear it’s ok, but as I’m still grieving for the loss of the Vietnamese Noodle Bar, I haven’t been.  Opposite is Pho 68, a Vietnamese that I have heard good things about, but have not had the pleasure of trying yet.  Chinese fondue restaurant Jabu is here too.   This is a strange one as you get a stock pot and a selection of items to cook at the table.  I don’t get it myself; probably fun to do at home, but I don’t really like the thought of going out to cook myself dinner!
A bit further down from Jabu is the fabulous Noodle Inn and its sister Mandar Inn.  Noodle Inn is a fantastic alternative to that much loved Vietnamese Noodle Bar with its huge portions, hot and spicy dishes and oodles of noodles.  Mandar Inn has a very similar feel to it but the dishes are a bit more traditional which means there are more unusual dishes on the menu, making it a bit of a haven for us foodies.
Moving further down is Zeugma which is an old favourite of ours.  This Turkish restaurant specialises in barbecued dishes and the lamb kebabs are gorgeous.  Everything is cooked in front of you on hot coals (which does mean that you leave smelling a bit smoky) and, as is quite a common theme down this part of Sheffield, the portions are huge.  Over the road is Cake ‘R’ Us.  The name itself makes me smile… was the ‘s’ dropped in error?  Specialising in cake, it isn’t something I’d travel for, but as they will soon be expanding to Division Street I reckon I’ll be popping in a bit more regularly. 
Turkish supermarket Ozmen is back over the other side of the road.  It’s huge and doesn’t just cater for the Turks.  There’s Caribbean, Chinese, Polish and loads more in there.  Essentially, if you’re after an unusual spice or herb, or just a decent selection of olives, Ozmen will sort you out.
By this point I was feeling peckish again and on spotting falafel bar Fanoush I decided it was time for lunch.  I ordered a falafel wrap with some fresh apple juice.  I was able to choose from two types of hummus and a selection of salad stuff including olives and chillies and the end result was a huge wrap stuffed full of sheer goodness; tasty and healthy. 
Moving closer towards town, there’s Barry’s which is a pub serving up West Indian food.  It’s another I haven’t been to, this time because I’m not sure it will be any good….  Further down the road is Yama Sushi, another excellent Japanese restaurant.  It’s a really sweet little (tiny) place and some people would argue it is the best for sushi in Sheffield; it certainly is one of the more reasonably priced places.
Phew!  What an amazing morning!  I was shattered but it was great to have a good wander down there checking out the new and catching up on the old. 
Abbeydale Road and London Road are easily one of my favourite areas in Sheffield for food.  Where’s yours?

6 thoughts on “A trip down memory lane….

  1. Yep without doubt my favourite area for food! I love yama, amigos, bragazzis, pho 68, amazing ozmens and the super cute cake 'r' us which also makes me chuckle 🙂
    thanks for linking me too.
    Great post Clare!

  2. Great post – what an array of amazing eateries we have in Sheffield.

    I respectfully disagree about Bragazzis, though. If there's a better place for coffee in the city, I haven't been there yet (though I'm happy to be advised otherwise).

  3. I can see why it would appeal, I've just never had an enjoyable time there or found anything inspiring in their deli. For amazing coffee try Tamper Coffee on Westfield Terrace. It's brand spanking new and has become a firm favourite of mine – he sells pies too!

  4. I have no idea why you feel qualified to comment. Bragazzis is a really good deli, yet you call it sad?! Orchid Thai, not the best in the city I grant but the worst you have ever eaten at? Surely not, I have had some nice meals there. Don't you realise you are messing with hard working people's livelihoods with your ill informed comments based upon what is clearly the palate of a goat?

  5. Wowsers! I appear to have touched a nerve there!

    Ok, a few things…. A) I have tried to love Bragazzis, I really have. I know how popular it is and I'm sure it must be doing something right, but I've never had a good time there. The deli has always been under stocked and sad whenever I have been so I stand by my comment. B)Orchid Thai was one of the worst meals I have ever had and I will not return. C) Don't bad restaurants realise that they are messing around with our hard earned cash by having the nerve to serve up crap and charge us for it? D) My comments are just that, my comments. Nobody has to read them or take any notice of them. E) Would you rather I just wrote boring 'it was lovely' kind of reviews? F) Palate of a goat… Hmmmm… this one doesn't make any sense. If I had the palate of a goat I'd have happily wolfed down the crap they served me at Orchid Thai! Have you actually read my review? http://www.exposedmagazine.co.uk/food/clares-foodie-blog/2011/05/10/The_Orchid_Thai/

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s