Some reser­va­tions

A DICK­ENS OF A NIGHT: a cost at Sil­ver­smiths in Sh­effield. Pic­tures: comes with

Yorkshire Post - YP Magazine - - Food& Drink -

HE first time I was in Arun­del Street was in the late 1980s as part of a film crew mak­ing a doc­u­men­tary for York­shire Tele­vi­sion about the last of the Lit­tle Mesters. The self­em­ployed crafts­peo­ple who for cen­turies had forged, ground, buffed and fin­ished the sil­ver of Sh­effield’s fa­mous cut­lery.

Those work­shops were straight out of Dick­ens. Dark fore­bod­ing build­ings of mucky red­brick set around cob­bled court­yards with rick­ety stair­cases, peel­ing paint­work and black­ened win­dows – buff­ing is a filthy job.

They’ve all but gone now, swept away in the face of cheap im­ports, con­signed to be­come ex­hibits at the Kel­ham Is­land In­dus­trial Mu­seum, but the build­ings and old work­shops, some of them grade II* listed, have been buffed up them­selves – and beau­ti­fully – to form part of Sh­effield’s cul­tural in­dus­tries quar­ter.

At No. 111, the former Ge­orge El­lis sil­ver­smith works, is Sil­ver­smiths a smart bistro-style restau­rant re­branded af­ter Gor­don Ram­say got his hands on it in Kitchen Night­mares and told them to ditch the night­club and get back to ba­sics. They’ve done that and more and picked up a host of awards: Best In­for­mal Din­ing at the re­cent Eat Sh­effield awards, run­ner up in the Observer Food Monthly awards and a men­tion in the Good Food Guide 2013 all of which makes ac­quir­ing a ta­ble for din­ner on a Satur­day night harder than procur­ing tick­ets for Cen­tre Court at Wim­ble­don – the only spot avail­able was at 5.30pm, that’s tea time where I come from – but even then the place was buzzing and by 7pm a large room was full.

It looks good. In­dus­trial lamps hang over dis­tressed wooden ta­bles. Rough wood pan­elling runs the length of one wall with the word Sil­ver­smiths spelt out in white as­say marks. Proper Sh­effield plate cut­lery on the ta­ble? Of course. A menu of lo­cal and sea­sonal pro­duce to go with the re­gen­er­a­tion chic? Of course.

There are seven starters, 10 mains and an aw­ful lot of meat: wood pi­geon, brisket, veni­son liver, veni­son heart, pork belly, sausage, duck breast – gutsy, ro­bust dishes with a sprin­kling of fish and cou­ple of veg­e­tar­ian op­tions. A tasty pot­ted mack­erel comes in a minia­ture Kil­ner jar served with home­made bread, which be­ing kind is heavy duty. The cau­li­flower and York­shire rarebit tart­let is of­fered

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