Just a short walk from Tamper Coffee, The Grind is another absolute gem of a coffee shop, serving both food and a delicious selection of cakes.
We went on Christmas Eve, and despite the festive period having only just started for some people, between Christmas catch ups, parties and generally using Christmas as an excuse to eat everything in sight I felt like I’d been eating like it was Christmas for an entire month! I certainly wasn’t complaining though, and as soon as we got back to Sheffield we set about finding new places which had opened up since we’d last been back. Disappointingly, I was only back for three days (two of which were Bank Holidays) and quite a few places had reduced hours or were closed altogether over the Christmas period.. sometimes living in London where nothing ever seems to shut makes me forget how different the North is! Making full use of the opportunity to catch up on sleep as soon as we finished for Christmas (I had worked about 70 hours in 4 days in fairness, including an all nighter..), by the time we got up and had breakfast (yes we are those people who have breakfast even when we’re going for brunch!), it was actually late morning so we ended up trying their lunch menu. Unlike the usual cafes we go to, they offered a separate breakfast and lunch menu rather than a brunch menu, despite the fact that it was a Saturday.
It feels a little out of the way (which made parking easier!) and it kind of pops up from nowhere, set in a modern glass building with a blackboard outside and stools in the windows. Inside the decor is a mix of modern and rustic, with a mix of tables, stools and sofas to sit on. The furniture is quirky with some vintage-looking pieces – nothing matches and every table has different chairs and trinkets but it definitely works.
When we walked in there was a glass cabinet with an array of brightly coloured dishes and a few salads, as well as a selection of freshly baked items on top and at the counter. I love it when the food is on display – it makes it seem so much more enticing and being able to actually see the food makes it so much easier for me to decide what to get! The menu was small but still lovely. There are hot dishes which I assume change daily – we had a very generous number of options on the day we went including Jamaican lamb stew, wild mushroom nut roast, cashew and butternut curry, cajun lime chicken, lemongrass and ginger coley, hoisin and babycorn meatballs and lemon and pesto salmon, which can be served alone or with a selection of salads. They also had a hot soup. During the week they serve sandwiches, which I was disappointed to see that they didn’t do at weekends. Whilst the menu was perfect for me, I guess it leaves you a little restricted if you’re like Marcus and you don’t like salad, as the lack of sandwiches at weekends means there aren’t many options that don’t include salad, though in fairness it’s not the type of miserable salad that consists of a few leaves and makes you feel like you’d rather be fat! We both ended up with soup and crusty bread for starters – the perfect winter warmer and a staple for me now (I can’t believe I didn’t like soup when I was younger!!). I can’t remember what flavour it was now but given the colour I’d imagine it was one a tomato based one, which is by far my favourite type. The bread was beautiful – I still remember how perfect I thought it was – a soft middle to be spread thickly with butter with crusty edges for dipping.
Afterwards Marcus got a hot sausage roll, which he said was lovely. After much deliberation, I surprisingly went for the cajun lime chicken. I rarely opt for chicken as it’s actually not something I usually choose to eat and often I find the other options far more exciting or appealing. It probably would’ve been better served warm, but it was lovely nonetheless. It comes served with salad, and you can get a mix of three. There were five on offer and I have to admit that they really weren’t the most exciting. I was never a salad eater in the past as I always associated them with boring, bland food but more recently I’ve seen so many amazing salads around, and when I make them myself I put everything but the kitchen sink in them! For me there’s nothing better than a salad packed full of tons of different multicoloured veggies, grains, cheese, nuts.. everything! The modern look of the place and their attention to detail (along with the fact that their menu effectively revolves around salads as sides to main dishes!) made me think that the prospects for a good salad selection were promising, but when I got closer to the counter I realised that each “salad” only really had one or two ingredients.. there were probably less ingredients in my three chosen salads combined than I’d expect in one normal salad from a place like this! There was a potato salad (which was literally just chopped new potatoes) and another just looked like a giant tray of celery, which isn’t the most appealing thing at the best of times, let’s be honest, let alone served cold and alone. I almost just decided to get the chicken alone since I was getting soup and bread anyway, but I decided to give the salads a go since I was there. By process of elimination I went for the remaining three salads – heritage carrots in a yogurt dressing, a brussel sprout, Parmesan and apple mix and spinach, maple, pecan and cranberry Wensleydale.
Obviously they weren’t bad but they certainly could’ve been a hell of a lot more adventurous. I’d never personally put apple in a salad but it did go really nicely with the brussel sprouts and the saltiness of the Parmesan. The spinach, maple, pecan and cranberry Wensleydale was tasty but could’ve been thrown together in seconds – it was a huge pile of spinach leaves with chunks of cheese and pecans. The pecans were generous though, I’ll give them that. I had an absolute pile of pecans smothered in maple syrup.. I just wish they’d have toasted them to make them crunchy! I’m slowly getting into the idea of sweet cheeses too.. cranberry Wensleydale was one of the first ones I ever tried and it still remains my favourite 🙂 The carrot salad was probably the worst of the three.. I got childishly excited seeing carrots in colours I’d never had before (purple and white!) but they were absolutely smothered in quite a bland, tasteless (but very creamy!) dressing. Individually none were great but together, and with the chicken, it wasn’t a bad meal.
It did set me back over a tenner though, and it was more for the soup (I think around £5/6 for a bowl with bread). Coffees were just under £3 too – normally I wouldn’t bat an eyelid but I still think that London prices are unusual in Sheffield. I wouldn’t say it was expensive, and I think it’s common that new/modern cafes opening up are getting more expensive even up North, but it does make the price difference between those cafes and the more simple ones more prominent unlike in London, where everywhere is a rip off!
Of course we both got coffees – a flat white before lunch and another coffee afterwards (Marcus got another flat white and I got an Americano). They were lovely – the flat whites were beautiful and silky smooth 🙂
All of their food is served on wooden boards which I think is a lovely touch. They’re pretty, well presented and certainly make the food look a lot more appealing but the boards themselves are perhaps a bit small to practically eat from!
By the counter there was a huge array of cakes which all looked amazing. By the time we’d finished eating they were packing up though so rather than rushing, we decided to head to Couch (on Ecclesall Road) for another coffee and a slice of cake 🙂 I love Couch and they always have an awesome selection of cakes, but next time I’m trying the cakes at this place for sure!
All in all it’s a lovely little cafe with great coffee and amazing looking cakes. The food is good and I’d eat there again, but it wouldn’t be my first choice if I only had a day or two in Sheffield. They have a decent selection of lunch items, but if you’re more of a breakfast/brunch lover like me then it’s probably not the place for you – I didn’t see a mention of eggs, bacon, avocado or anything else brunch-like on the menu!
So go and brunch at Tamper, then go for a beautiful walk through the Peace Gardens on the way to The Grind Cafe for more coffee and a second slice of cake 😉
Link to their website: http://grindcafe.co.uk/Welcome.html