Food Review: The Broadfield Ale House

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452 Abbeydale Road, Sheffield, S7 1FR. Food served every day from 11.30am to 10pm.

We went to eat pie and came away with half a pig.

That’s how it felt when we left the Broadfield with bellies bursting and a stonking great piece of ham hock in a brown bag to take home.

I felt a bit like the big bad wolf, mid-story, full of pork and feeling very pleased with myself but knowing there’d be no third pig to ruin it all.

If it ended well it started even better, sampling beers while waiting for my dinner companion to park his car – somewhere in Edale judging by the time it took.

The Broadfield, celebrated pie and ale venue on Abbeydale Road, does a ‘flight of beers’ – a term taken I think from whisky tasting – and the Broadfield does keep a sensational range of malts. Another time.

I started with a pre-flight half of First Noel, a nicely spiced Christmas beer.

Then we launched the flights.

A flight of beers is three one-third of a pint samples. We chose three light and three dark beers.

On the dark side was a London Porter, a Plum Porter and one called Chaos that tasted, as a very astute young man once observed of a similar brew: ‘like soot and flowers’, and was none the worse for that.

On the lighter was one called Cleopatra which our extremely beer-knowledgable waitress said tasted like Petit Filou fromage frais – and it did. The second was an American pale ale and the third got lost somewhere between starter and pie, pretty good though according to Simon sitting opposite who knows a thing or two about the amber nectar.

For food starters we ordered The Broadfield Platter to share with baba ghanoush, bresaola and vegetable and peanut spring rolls.

Baba ghanoush was new on me and had to be worth a try just for the name – until I read that it’s an Arabic term that means “pampered papa” or “coy daddy” which is slightly creepy, but the coarsely textured and smoky, houmous-like starter traditionally made from aubergines, garlic and tahini was refreshingly different.

It came with warm pitta bread, crudités and a strangely tasteless bresaola – a cured beef cut too thin to have any texture and with disappointingly little flavour.

The vegetable and peanut spring roll was much tastier, though we expected a peanut-buttery satay kind of flavour but that wasn’t the case, very good though, if a little greasy.

And the beers were going down well as we settled in to the pub built in 1896 and still with many original details, though the décor is so authentic-looking some of it has to be fake.

But the beer, service and atmosphere are 100 per cent top pub quality.

It’s the kind of place where your eyes jealously follow other people’s food as it’s carried shoulder-high across the room to someone you hope didn’t make a better choice than you.

Mussels were very popular on the night but we weren’t there to fiddle with shellfish. We came for meat and pastry, chips and gravy and beer.

But we didn’t have it.

Leastways I didn’t. I saw the ham hock on the menu and though I knew the portions were generous I never dreamed we would still be eating it a week later.

Simon went for the pork, haggis and leek pie,chips and mushy peas, all class.

A good crisp pastry on a beautifully made pie crust, and a proper bottom, hunks of melting steak in a rich gravy, chunky chips and excellent mushy peas.

The ham hock, glistening and big as your head was slow-cooked to a slippery, salty splendour. Fantastic, and the meat just kept coming.

Turn the thing 10 degrees and another cliff of flesh hoved in to view begging to be excavated.

I gave up partly because it was too much and partly because I had my heart set on making a slow-cooked split pea and ham hock soup later in the week.

Hence the brown bag.

With beers all spent Simon had chocolate brownie and ice cream and I went for the spiced fruit crumble which our waitress said was pretty spicy when she tried it.

But the kitchen let her down.

The crumble was fine, nicely tart apple and I think cranberry filling and a crunchy crumble top – though not a lot of it – but no spice. Not a scintilla of cinnamon nor nibble of nutmeg anywhere. Custard was good though.

The brownie was rich and chocolatey, lots of Brazil nuts as advertised, but not exceptional, though the vanilla ice cream that came with it was.

The last time Martin Dawes was here, exactly three years ago, he was driven mad by a Mr Toad-style horn parping from the kitchen every time an order is ready.

I can assure him there was no parping this time, though a gorgeous split pea and ham soup did conjure up the Wind In The Willows a day or two later.

With two ‘flights’ of beer and a shared starter our meal came to £47.90.

Star ratings
out of five:

Food 4

Atmosphere 5

Service 5

Value 5