Archive for the ‘Regional Food’ Category

A star in Sheffield – exquisite food at Rafters Restaurant

There has been something of a quiet restaurant revolution going in Sheffield over the last decade. Though you might nowadays have to tuck in using something other than Sheffield’s finest cutlery – it being produced in somewhat lower quantities than it was in the hey day of Sheffield steel – there is a positive bloom of talented chefs in the city, putting some of Sheffield’s restaurants firmly on the map.

A case in point is Rafters Restaurant in the city’s suburb of Nethergreen.  If you didn’t know it was there, you could quite easily miss it, located as it is up a narrow staircase on the first floor above a little parade of shops .  You know where to find it now though.

It’s an intimate, stylish restaurant set under a marvellous vaulted roof with exposed beams (hence the name apparently) so it feels very light and airy.  The restaurant staff, though utterly professional, are refreshingly down to earth and unpretentious – no-one looks down their nose if you ask for a jug of tap water here, though still and sparkling mineral water are of course available if you prefer it.

Chef Patron Marcus Lane has created quite a name for himself on the local restaurant scene and as we were to find out, quite rightly so.  The main a la carte menu has a set price of £36.95 per person for three courses, but between Monday to Thursday there is also a special menu with fewer choices on it, but which offers two courses and a complimentary glass of wine for £25 per person, making it pretty good value.  On Monday nights only, they also have a bring your own wine policy with a small corkage fee.

The whole experience oozed quality, from the little touches such as the delicious complimentary canapes of cod tempura and goat’s cheese tartlets, to the mouthwatering selection of fresh warm breads.  We opted for the two course menu and started things off with king prawns with a mango salsa and a terrine of organic chicken, ham and leeks.  Both were beautifully presented and tasted delicious.  A little water melon sorbet arrived as a palate cleanser, another lovely little touch that brought with it a taste of Mediterranean summer days.

For main courses, we’d selected a Parmesan crusted roast cod with aubergine and chickpeas and roast duck breast with baby vegetables.  The cod was a wonderful thick fillet, moist and flaking to the fork and perfectly seasoned to allow the delicate flavours to shine.  The duck breast, just slightly pink in the middle was meltingly tender.  Portions were generous and filling; if anything there was too much duck breast and we’d have happily forfeited half the meat for more vegetables, but if was truly the only niggle we could come up with on the night and that said, it was a very small niggle.

We finished off with rich dark coffee and petits fours and after adding a couple of additional glasses of wine, we’d had a thoroughly good meal in a restaurant with a very relaxed warm ambiance for a touch under £70.  It was worth it and that’s not something you can often say with complete honesty after a restaurant meal.




Ravaling the night away at the Royal Television Society Awards

Philippa Tomson and Roger Tames at Royal Television Society Awards 2012

Award winning North East Indian restaurant Raval was buzzing with excitement this week, when it hosted the glittering post awards party for the recent Royal Television Society Awards.

More than 500 celebrities and guests marked the 25th anniversary of the Royal Television Society Awards in what was one of the biggest events of its kind outside London.   Popular Tyne Tees weather presenter and North East Tonight co-host Philippa Tomson was among the guests, having earlier been crowned Presenter of the Year.

To the delight of the management and staff, it was the fifth year in succession that Raval restaurant has hosted the after-awards party.

Restaurant manager Avi Malik summed up the success of the evening: “Once again it proved a huge success and we received some extremely positive feedback, which shows we must be doing something right!”

Already well known amongst fine food lovers in the Newcastle-Gateshead area, Raval is one to note for anyone visiting the region.  Their team of chefs has worked hard to take Indian food to a new dimension and provide diners with an exclusive gourmet experience.


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Lincolnshire is Britain’s Favourite Food Spot!

Sally Jackson - The face of British Food FortnightLincolnshire’s foodie star has risen! The county has been revealed as the surprise winner of a public poll to find Britain’s Favourite Food Spot, beating other hot contenders for the title such as Cornwall and Hampshire.

The announcement marks the start of British Food Fortnight, which begins this weekend (17 September – 2 October) and is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year.  The contest attracted a frenzy of voting over the summer months, with a number of food experts championing the cause of their local regions.  All in all, more than 22,000 people cast a vote and the contest finally narrowed down to become an outright battle between Cornwall and Lincolnshire.  At the close of voting, Lincolnshire claimed first place with 39.6% of the votes, with Cornwall a close second with 35.7% of votes.

Organiser of British Food Fortnight, Alexia Robinson, comments: “People may be a little surprised that Lincolnshire has won as it is not often described as a foodie destination.  But its regional specialities are enjoyed nationwide and it has an incredibly strong farming community that has mounted a ferociously determined campaign to garner the necessary votes to win.  With the Face of this year’s British Food Fortnight also being from Lincolnshire, if Lincolnshire was not on the food map before this poll, it most certainly is now!”

Well, we have to say that Lincolnshire has been on our food map for a while now. Not only is it the home of Lincoln’s famous Cheese Society Cafe but you only have to drive through the county to discover the fabulous fresh produce on offer, from luscious strawberries to newly harvested potatoes and asparagus.

As Mary Powell, who is Tourism Development Manager for Tastes of Lincolnshire, said: “We have always believed Lincolnshire is the top food spot in the UK, and now’s our chance to get this recognised nationally. We have the freshest and tastiest local food – premium sausages, delectable pork pies, Lincoln Red beef and the famous Lincolnshire plumbread, best enjoyed with Lincolnshire Poacher Cheese.  This competition has been a brilliant profile raiser for local food.  As a very rural, often forgotten part of Britain, it is great to be recognised as one of the great food producing areas!”

British Food Fortnight is the biggest national celebration of the diverse and delicious range of food that Britain produces. Each year, food producers and establishments all over the country take part.  A wide range of events will be running across the country, from chef demonstrations to special menus and promotions at pubs, restaurants and hotels.  There are plenty of things for the whole family to enjoy whilst finding out more about great British food!