Review: Sette Colli brings a little flavour of Italy to the Steel City

Paulo Amaral, joint owner, pictured in the restaurant with manager Helena Butterworth. Picture: Marie Caley
Paulo Amaral, joint owner, pictured in the restaurant with manager Helena Butterworth. Picture: Marie Caley
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It sits just over a thousand miles from Rome, very cosily sandwiched in inauspicious surroundings between a petrol station forecourt and a car garage.

But, make no mistake, Sette Colli is a little - and we mean little - corner of Italy, right in the north west of the Steel City in Hillsborough.

Paulo Amaral and Paulo Ferreira, joint owners of Sette Colli Restaurant, pictured with head chef Yuri Herbas.

Paulo Amaral and Paulo Ferreira, joint owners of Sette Colli Restaurant, pictured with head chef Yuri Herbas.

Owners Paulo Amaral and Paulo Ferreira are hands-on, ensuring their restaurant retains the authenticity often lacking at other Sheffield Italians, and have worked hard to blend their Mediterranean roots with Steel City elements.

It’s difficult to argue with the results.

Even the restaurant name means ‘seven hills’ in Italian. And you can’t get much more Sheffield than that.

We arrive in unpromising conditions, with the evening drawing in and the rain lashing at our backs, but the welcome warms us instantly as manager Helena Butterworth shows us to a table under the bar.

Sette Colli Restaurant, Bradfield Road, Sheffield. Pictue: Marie Caley

Sette Colli Restaurant, Bradfield Road, Sheffield. Pictue: Marie Caley

The size of the place is hard to ignore. Sette Colli is small, but in a way which creates a cosy atmosphere rather than a claustrophobic one. A pleasant,rustic decor adds to the feel of the place and even on this miserable Tuesday evening, in a business that traditionally thrives on Friday and Saturday nights, there’s a healthy crowd.

A good sign, we muse.

Helena attracts further praise from my girlfriend after suggesting a perfect wine from a pretty vague brief, and our starters - garlic bread and olives - come on plate and bowl, without a wooden board or ceramic toilet in sight. Real food, no gimmicks.

Encouraged by the excellent garlic bread, I couldn’t waver from the idea of pizza - it is an Italian, after all - while Natalie eventually settled on fillet steak Naturale, chargrilled with garlic, although a strong selection of Mexican dishes did catch our eye for more than a fleeting second.

Desserts at Sette Colli

Desserts at Sette Colli

Stripped down, pizza is a simple concept but, like all simple concepts, there’s an art to getting it right and head chef Yuri Herbas certainly stepped up to the traditional, ceramic plate.

The crust, just fluffy enough, retained that satisfying crunch and the base, in thickness, texture and taste, was spot on. The steak, I am assured, went down equally as well.

With desserts specials on the wall, crying out to us like some kind of hand-written chalkboard beacon of sweet hope, we briefly toyed with the idea of accepting that enough was enough, before realising our absurdity and ordering one each.

A handmade cheesecake for me, with delightful lemon curd, and a handmade Ferrero Rocher cake for the lady, rich beyond her wildest dreams.

What’s not to love? Well, nothing for us. We’ll be back soon.

“I know of a few other people who had independent restaurants, but they’ve all gone out of business now,” says Amaral, who worked in the industry before taking over Sette Colli 13 years ago.

“It’s hard to compete with the chains.”

Maybe. But at £58 for three courses, wine and beer for two, they could’ve stumbled across the winning formula.

Star rating our of five:

Sette Colli, Bradfield Rd, Sheffield S6 2BY

Food: 5

Service: 4½

Atmosphere: 5

Value: 4½

Three more to choose from:

Italian Kitchen, Ecclesall Road
Kia’s Pastaria, Abbeydale Road
Vito’s, South Road, Walkley