Sunday, 4 November 2012

West 10 Wine Bar & Bistro, Sheffield

It was pay day, I'd had a blah day at work and I felt the need for a bit of pampering... and I don't know about you... but going out for dinner is exactly what I need when I'm feeling both flush and pained. As it was a Thursday night, I knew I had to act quickly as some restaurants book up quickly (including our first choice - the new Brooklyn Steak restaurant down Kelham Island). After that knock back I was tempted to go for an old favourite; The Wig & Pen, but I wanted to try somewhere new, or at least somewhere that I hadn't been to for a long while.

So our next choice was a restaurant we'd visited a while back and although we hadn't had too good an experience back then, I was keen to give it another go as I'd been hearing that things had improved. Gav called to book a table at 8 only to be told that the restaurant wasn't busy and the chefs didn't want to 'hang around'; could we make it earlier? Gav, being Gav, compromised and agreed to 7.30, but neither of us were happy. The prospect of a quiet restaurant with itchy chefs rushing us through our meal simply did not appeal and I was pleased when Gav cancelled it and booked option number three... West 10 Wine Bar & Bistro.

Trippets Wine Bar was a firm favourite of mine. Yes the toilet floors were squelchy with damp, yes it could feel a little pretentious at times, but by GOD, that wine list was amazing! We could get a decent bottle for under £15 and even the fizz was relatively reasonably priced. When it shut down, to become DADA, I didn't think much of going all the way to Ranmoor (I live in town; making a trip outside the S1 postcode takes some real effort & planning), until I saw a review in the Sheffield Telegraph.

We arrived at 8 (dinner time, yeah?) and decided to sit in the downstairs bar area. We had been offered a table upstairs but we'd never been up there and we decided that the grass might not always be greener. It was a good choice, for us. Informal & bistro style, it was perfect for a relaxing meal, although upstairs would probably be better for groups or more formal affairs.

We decided to take full advantage of that wine list and go for a few glasses of different wines, rather than a bottle, and we kicked off with a rather stunning Sauvignon Blanc. Sadly I've forgotten the name (I think it was third on the list and began with a 'B' if you want to hunt it down!), but it was so good that I drank it a bit too quickly and my glass was empty by the time the starters arrived (of course, I just ordered another).

Before out first course however, we were treated to a couple of amuse bouche; some pate on small pieces of bread and a shot of mushroom soup with truffle oil. An amuse bouche will always amuse me. How can they not? They're free nibbles and often a sign of things to come... Here our freebies were simple, but well prepared.

For starters I went for the scallops. At a tenner a go, they were the most expensive option, but with three fat and perfectly cooked samples of the shellfish along with (very) crispy bacon it was worth the price tag. But, although I enjoyed the dish, I was a little jealous of Gav's (of course I denied it at the time). As a lover of the soufflé he was happy to find a Yorkshire Blue version here (£7). I'm not a huge soufflé lover myself, but there was a good amount of blue cheese running through.

For mains I went for the lamb dish (£25). Two, pink as you like lamb cutlets were served up with a 'side' of braised lamb, a fondant potato and some crushed peas. The lamb was delicious and the fondant potato was the best I'd ever had; it was a very satisfying dish and one I would happily have again (and again).

Gav had been craving some steak and was glad to find it on the menu. An 8oz fillet (£26) was served with chips, roasted tomatoes and the most enormous onion rings I've seen in a long time. The steak was good;  rare and tasty, which, I think, is sometimes a bit of a bonus with a fillet.

Normally by this stage I would have been feeling quite full, but as service had been pretty slow (quite annoyingly slow to be honest) my waistband was still quite comfortable and it could handle a dessert. The chocolate tart (£7) caught my eye. It was rich and thick with chocolate; similar to a torte and although a side of chilli popcorn was an unnecessary extra, the little sugar spun basket it was served in was a perfect excuse for the chef to show off some skills. For me, the dish really worked thanks to some dollops of passion fruit coulis. I'm not normally a fan of this tart fruit, but it cut through the rich chocolate nicely and the combination is one that I still crave now (remarkable for me as we are just talking dessert here).

Gav had the chocolate tasting option (£10) and I'm gonna have to be honest with you... I have no idea what any of it was like. I'd had a few vinos, I was happily enjoying my own dish and I didn't give two hoots about his! He says it was 'nice' though (which I'm sure it was, I just wish I could offer a little more than that).

All in all I was pleasantly surprised by West 10. The food was spot on, as were the wines. The atmosphere was perfect bistro stylee and the service was easy and friendly (if slow). It wasn't cheap mind, and the total bill (including four glasses of wine each) was about £130. Whether this is down to West 10 being located in Ranmoor (one of the smarter ends of town) I'm not too sure, but it was a lovely treat and I will return.

P.s. sorry for the lack of pictures; it was too dark.

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