Not even top awards guarantee bums on seats in a recession.
Restaurants are resorting to austerity measures and canny cooking, as Kitchen, the Ecclesall Road restaurant handed a Good Food Guide 2012 award, will vouch.
Launched three years ago and run by chef John Parsons plus Adrian Walsh and Mark Sutton, owners of Food and Fine Wine next door, the restaurant has had to take to heart its prestigious editors’ choice award for Best Value Food.
“We’ve had tough times. In January trade slumped and we were sweating,” says John, formerly of London’s Criterion, The Ivy and Caprice. “So we pulled our horns in and devised a budget-conscious midweek Supper Club menu.”
It’s two courses for £12 and three for £15 with wine at £9 and BYO on Tuesday. Says John, “It’s gone crazy. We’re full almost every night. People like knowing what they will spend before they leave home.”
He’s proud of his budget menu: “It’s proof you don’t have to spend a fortune to eat and drink well, We’re not snobbish about food and I’m no prima donna chef. I don’t have to be cooking with scallops and truffles all day. I’m happy cooking pigs’ cheeks.”
When The Good Food Guide staged a winners’ night at Kitchen last week, John’s seven-course celebratory £35 tasting dinner was crammed with inexpensive ingredients. Dishes included smoked mackerel on wasabi horseradish, and slow-cooked ox cheek with marrow-bone.