FOOD REVIEW: Dishes like these only once in a Blue Moon...

The Blue Moon Cafe owner Nick Dunhill. Photo: Chris Etchells
The Blue Moon Cafe owner Nick Dunhill. Photo: Chris Etchells
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Places like these you find once in a blue moon, boasts cafe owner Bill Clarke. And, as a vegetarian since the early 1990s, I couldn’t agree more.

As a herbivore it is rare to be able to dine out and have a full choice of dishes - instead of the standard bean burger or stuffed mushroom.

Layered stilton and potatoe and courgette flan. Photo: Chris Etchells

Layered stilton and potatoe and courgette flan. Photo: Chris Etchells

Enter the Blue Moon Cafe, dedicated to offering exclusively vegetarian and vegan food.

These days vegan food is all the rage - but the Moon first appeared on Norfolk Row in 1995, quickly outgrowing those premises, until staff set about sympathetically restoring the current building next to Sheffield Cathedral – the blue ceiling was chosen from the original flecks of paint left behind.

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Caribbean curry dish. Photo: Chris Etchells

Caribbean curry dish. Photo: Chris Etchells

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As Sheffield’s longest running vegetarian restaurant, they have had plenty of time to craft varied menus, which have evolved to include a range of dietary needs such as gluten free and dairy free dishes.

Bill co-owns the restaurant with Nick Dunhill. He said: “I used to manage the council’s homeless person’s section so I’ve learned as I have gone along.

Inside the cafe it is hard not to notice the leaflets that plaster the walls by the entrance with details of everything from yoga sessions to craft days.

“It’s quite anarchic”, said Bill.

“But it’s a good place to expand your knowledge of Sheffield.”

We joined the canteen-style queue to peruse the menu boards above the counter. There are no menus on tables so you have to decide on the spot, and anyone with poor eyesight might find the boards a little tricky.

At busy lunchtimes it is also wise to nab a seat first, unless you want to stand holding a packed tray and praying for a table to clear.

I decided on the Homity Pie - a regular favourite - and colleague Ellen had the curry, which by chance suited her Paleo diet, a rarity indeed.

Both dishes are served as a meal with salad and extras for £6.80.

The salad had a a range of cous cous, pasta salad, leaves and dressings – and on its own would have been a worthy meal.

Presentation was excellent, and portions generous. The pie was well layered with potato, cheese and pastry - and full of flavour.

Ellen’s curry had a distinct sweet and sour tang, with a strong, lingering level of spice, and almost all of your five a day in one go. Vegan raita and chutneys, as well as a chickpea masala, made it worthy of any Indian

Desserts (£2.50 each) were an incredibly moist chocolate cake and a vegan cheesecake - nuts, dates and hints of rich chocolate, without the guilt.

The bill -at first totalled incorrectly, but amended with a smile and apology - came to £23.05.

Here’s to another 21 years in business.