5 September 2010
I’ve had comments that all we ever seem to do – based on my blog posts – is eat, eat and eat some more. Perhaps I should just turn this into a food blog so that I’ve got an excuse to keep stuffing my face. Anyway, this is going to be another post about eating as Suzy and I decided to take a few days off work and enjoy a week of indulgence to celebrate one year of marriage.
We started the celebrations on Saturday night with a meal at Spice Market Cafe (371-373 Ecclesall Road, S11 8PF) which we’d recently discovered was part of the ever-growing Relax, Eat & Drink family of restaurants owned and run by award-winning Sheffield restauranteur Richard Smith. (Artisan is another one of theirs which we enjoyed a couple of years ago.)
We’d read some reviews describing the “East-meets-West” menu as being a “mish-mash” and “confused” but even Richard Smith says himself, “There’s no authenticity to this restaurant whatsoever – it’s Brit spice.” I guess some call it fusion food but my mum called it confusion food when I described the menu to her. Whatever you want to call it, Spice Market Cafe is probably a love-it-or-hate-it type of place.
Personally, I loved the Black pudding wontons served with sweet and sour cabbage and apple chutney and thought the Fisherman’s appetiser board (consisting of curried smoked haddock, crab spring roll, crispy king prawns, salt and pepper squid, salmon fish cake and SMC dips) was a great variety of fishy goodies for two to share. Our mains of Slow braised belly pork, crackling, noodles asian vegetables and miso gravy and Teriyaki cod, sesame long beans, noodles and crispy king prawns were a bit disappointing though. They weren’t terrible, but just seemed to lack something by comparison to our excellent starters. However, the desserts certainly made up for it. We were a bit spoilt for choice but decided to share Toffeed bananas with sesame seeds and banana sorbet and Chocolate samosas with orange dipping sauce. It was lucky we shared as both were so rich and sweet that I don’t think I could have eaten a full portion of either one. Mmmm!
The day afterwards, we met up with my sister and brother-in-law and coincidentally went to yet another Relax, Eat & Drink establishment. (And no… this post isn’t sponsored by them!) This time, it was The Cricket Inn (Penny Lane, Totley, S17 3AZ) which we’d been to a few times before. Not only do they have top quality ales by the award-winning Thornbridge Brewery but they also have an excellent Sunday lunch menu. I had their huge Steak and Thornbridge Ale pot pie made with cheddar, thyme and grain mustard pastry, dripping roast potatoes, buttered vegetables and pie gravy and it was absolutely delicious but left no room whatsoever for dessert. As always, their specials boards and Sunday roasts looked great too. I can’t believe they still don’t take reservations at weekends though, so be prepared to wait for a table on Sundays (although we were lucky and only had to wait five minutes).
We also escaped Sheffield for a couple of days and ended up in Whitby where we’d heard they had good seafood, fish and chips, and a nice clean beach.
When asking people where to eat in Whitby, you’ll almost certainly be told to visit The Magpie Cafe. With long queues outside the cafe (as forewarned) we decided to join the slightly shorter queue next door for their takeaway, where we got some lovely cod and chips.
After spending the afternoon walking along the beach, we had planned to go back to The Magpie Cafe for an evening meal as their restaurant menu looked great but the queues were still ridiculous and we were hungry. Faced with a number of seafood restaurants, we perused all their menus, read a couple of online reviews, and decided to try The Marine Hotel (caution: Flash website).
I enjoyed their Marine crab cakes made from lightly spiced cod and crab, served with a pleasantly hot and spicy sweet chilli jam, and Suzy had an equally enjoyable Lobster salad with a mango salad and dressing.
For main course, Suzy chose the Pan fried fillet of Sea Bass and chive mash with a prawn, parsley & lemon butter. With mussels being unavailable, I opted for their platter, which I didn’t realise at the time of ordering would include half a lobster, a fillet of sea bass, a fillet of sea trout, a whole mackerel, pieces of battered cod, king prawns and squid all served on samphire.
Needless to say, I didn’t actually manage to eat all that even after sharing some with Suzy. With both of us unable to face any of their desserts, we decided to walk along to the amusement arcades and let all the fish go down before grabbing a sugar donut and waffle with chocolate sauce and cream.
We stayed overnight at the excellent Heathfield Bed and Breakfast Guest House where Linda served up some Whitby kippers and poached eggs for breakfast the following morning that I think might have been the best kippers I’ve ever eaten. If you’ve only had the pleasure of boil-in-the-bag kippers, it’s worth visiting Whitby just to taste these!
You can find more photos of Whitby on Picasa Web Albums.