Confession time. I’ve never been to Kelham Island Museum. Or toured the brewery.
I’ve only ever been to this industrial backwater by night, to visit real ale pubs the Fat Cat and the Kelham Island Tavern.
On a sunny work lunch-hour, it’s quite something, this little diamond of land created by the building of a mill race, fed from the River Don to serve the water wheels powering workshops in Sheffield’s industrial heyday.
We’re sitting outside on the terrace of a new coffee house, Green City Coffee, which takes up a corner of Kelham Island Square, just a spit from the museum, the aforementioned ale pubs, the brewery and neatly hemmed by blocks of stylish new flats and the river.
Inside a bleached pine floor is scattered with casual clusters of tables and chairs for eating at or chilling in (there’s free wifi).
The ceiling is witty; suspended white discs look like giant buttons and I am loving the placemats made from hessian coffee bean sacks. Its name, and ceiling, are from the owner, Jimmy Green, who owns a suspended ceiling company. He must be a coffee buff; every cup is made from freshly-ground beans from Grumpy Mule in Holmfirth and The Foundry in Sheffield, says manager Tom Daniels. Today’s special is Fina Puerta Verde (strong, rich; hint of vanilla, we reckon, after a £2.10 latte and a £2.20 Americano).
We share a Stilton and grape salad (£4) which needed a bit more dressing, a brie and fresh mango panini (£4) which would have been a winner had the griddled mango been riper, and an excellent hand-cut brown doorstep sandwich - garlicky hummus, olives and tangy-sweet sun-dried tomatoes (£4.50). Both came with rosemary potatoes and teacups of coleslaw - nice ideas.
Cakes are normally made by waitress Anna, but she hadn’t had time today, so we settled for a pleasant bought-in custard slice. Our bill? £17.60.
As mentioned, there were slight issues with the food - plus the roast potatoes were soft and the coleslaw merely cabbage and mayo. But it’s early days. This place has got real potential and I wish it well.