WHAT + WHERE I ATE: Sheffield 2011-2015

On Wednesday, I have officially finished by Masters degree in Chemistry!  It is amazing, fulfilling and quite dismaying to say I am finally saying goodbye to Sheffield, my second home for the past four years.

As I leave my home away from home, I better pass on my wisdom and share my favourite spots in the city for eating and drinking, for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.

(F) – Best for Food, (D) – Best for Drinks

Marmaduke’s Café Deli (F) (D):  This wonderful deli is situated at the heart of the city with a solid menu, boasting the Marmaduke’s creative take on lunctime and teatime favourites.  The salads are above the typical green leaf variety; they use fragrant and bold flavours, textures, and ingredients.  You are also often greeted with their fresh bakes, from baked cheesecakes to their mouth-watering Bakewell tart and peanut butter cookies.

I recommend: the baked cheesecake and a mixture of their salads of the day, to eat in or take-away.

Blue Moon Café (F) (D)This wholly vegetarian/vegan and allergen-conscious eatery is housed within a blue-domed building, right next to the Cathedral.  The skylights and poster-filled walls make this establishment a warm and welcoming venue for eating no-nonsense, no-fuss, vegetarian/free-from fare for a very reasonable price.   A selection of salads, sweet treats, warm meals of the day, and drinks (alcoholic, non-alcoholic and gluten-free) for the conscious eater are in high abundance here.

I recommend: the Hommity pie.

Thyme Café (F):  This restaurant off the Broomhill area is where you take your parents when they come to visit; the service and food is remarkable during each of my visits.  You cannot book a table (so getting a seat during graduation was like winning a lottery) and menus are in the form of blackboards, making the casual dining at Thyme Café an experience to add to your Sheffield bucket list.  Home-style cooking using locally-sourced ingredients is at its finest here, making it a favourite of many.  Their portions are generous too, so a good appetite is necessary!

I recommend: everything.

Bungalows & Bears (F) (D):  Division (Hipster) Street is known for its array of independent shops, bars and restaurants.  There are eclectic characters normally about, with many lumberjack men sporting tattoos and ‘bespoke’ haircuts and ‘man buns’.  As the site of the old fire station, Bungalows & Bears embraces this vibe fully, offering many eccentric facilities such as a noisy ladies’ loo and a Playstation 1 corner.

Their 2-4-1 burger Tuesdays were always popular, and it was easy to understand why.  Their gourmet fast-food menu offers a variety of quirky burger toppings and combinations, including mac and cheese and peanut butter (July 2015).  Their vegetarian options are also worth a gander.  Together with the highly-acclaimed live acts and DJs they attract (mostly free!), a dinner at Bungalows & Bears makes you feel like you’re living it up Brooklyn, NY. Sorta.

I recommend: their veggie chickpea burger or a customised meat-based burger with their vast array of toppings.

Bloo 88:  Another student favourite, they offer 2-4-1 deals on their 12-inch stone-baked pizzas with a wide-range of toppings and options for personalisation.  Their cocktails are also worthy of appraisal, refreshing drinks with unusual twists and combinations.  You might be lucky and be offered a ‘custom-made’ cocktail by one of the bar staff, riddled with boredom after making too many of their à la carte drinks (or just a way to show off… one or the other).

I recommmend: the Toscana pizza and their elderflower-based cocktails.

The Nottingham House:  An infamous pub serving only pies.  My housemate’s father was still raving about their local delicacies 30 years on after his student days in the Steel City.  The pies available often vary, usually with a couple of beef variations.  Their pastry creations are in high demand and if you arrive during a peak period, you’re likely to be disappointed, pie-less, angry, and will want to curse everyone else enjoying their dinner.   Casual drinks are almost always good fun, pairing a few games of Jenga with a few pints of the local ale.

I recommend: one of their pies and a pint of the Moonshine.

BB’s: Next to the busy Forum shopping complex, this Italian eating establishment is known for its no-fuss dishes, brimming with flavour, colour and authenticity; I always felt as though I was hosted by an Italian family when I visited.  The staff are always so friendly and accommodating, and they operate a no corkage policy (July 2015).  Portions are often large and filling, but leave room for their delectable desserts.

I recommend: their pasta dishes and creamy desserts.

El Toro:  An old favourite of mine at Broomhill, this understated, under-rated Spanish restaurant offers your typical tapas dishes at a great value.  Every time I have eaten here with friends, I felt as though I was transported back to a summer in Madrid with my home friends a few years back.  A rainy day in Sheffield may not compare, but their café vibes and casual, down-to-earth service make El Toro worth visiting for a mid-week catch-up.  I have not tried any of the cakes on offer, but they are often by the windows to entice passers-by – hey, it worked on me!

I recommend: their seafood tapas dishes.

(D) Some great places for cocktails include The Wick At Both Ends (we always joked that this was on par with Nando’s for the venue of Tinder first dates), Revolución de Cuba (part of a chain but has got great vibes) and The Great Gatsby (a small, colourful building opposite Bungalows & Bears in Division Street – brimming at the weekends because of the DJs they employ).

For pubs with character, enter The Harley (a student and local favourite, the superior sister of The Wick At Both Ends, and responsible for some of the major acts and events in the Sheffield music scene), The Forum (good vibes and atmosphere at the weekends) and the Dam House (situated in the picturesque Crookes Valley Park, this is the perfect go-to hub during those long summer evenings; they also have a busy bonfire night/Guy Fawkes gathering in the Autumn).

DISCLAIMER: As I was at the University of Sheffield, many of the places I covered are within walking distance of the main areas of student housing; thus, I have not covered eating establishments within London Road or Ecclesall Road.  I did not frequent these areas as much, so recommendations would seem superficial otherwise.

Julia | themorningbowl.

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