We went to the reopened Old House in Sheffield city centre - and this is what we thought
Family dining can be a difficult balancing act.The kids want their favourite dish – and the adults want food worth eating out for, without breaking the bank.
The Old House – which has been brought back, after becoming The Devonshire for a while – by True North Brew Co, straddles the balance well.
Inside is just as regulars will remember, a charming and quirky interior, with a mixture of booths and tables to choose from.
We were invited to try the meny on a Tuesday after work and while fairly quiet, there were enough people in to give it something of an atmosphere without the hectic cocktail queues that can form at a weekend.
The Old House was firstly well known for its drinks – anyone else remember the divine Toblerone flavoured cocktail? – but also carved out a bit of a niche for its home-cooked food, particularly pies and Sunday roasts.
We nabbed the booth next to the bar and enjoyed table service from the friendly waitress.
For our two teenage guests, there were plenty of alcohol free drink options, including a sweet twist on a pina colada, and chilled beers came in a much needed frosted glass.
To ease ravenous appeties we shared two of the “small bite” options, with one being a huge platter of crusty bread served with two interesting dips plus olives.
The second was also far from small, as the beer battered anchovies were absolutely massive. Small bites are two for £10 and three for £12 – I’d like to have tried the crispy fried brie as well.
Despite the odd tiny bone the anchovies were crispy, golden and tasty, even the teens had a go.
Abigail loved her pie of the day £10) main course, a well formed, proper pie, with excellent short pastry packed with “perfectly cooked” steak and mushrooms. It was so large she couldn’t finish it, and we all had to help out.
Jamie’s whale-sized fish and chips (£10.95) also went down a treat, with a lovely batter and no greasy aftertaste. He’s from Blackpool so fish and chip praise means something to a seaside chippy stalwart.
Both said the Jenga style soft chips were a highlight.
It was a baking hot day so the new potato salad seemed like the coolest option to me.
To make it interesting there was a light blue cheese dressing, which wasn’t strong at all, shaved fennel and pine nuts.
The latter added some extra texture to what could have been a very samey dish, but I would have liked more of a cheese flavour and less slickness overall.
The ham hock I added in (total cost £10.95) was a lovely meaty, salty contrast to the creamy potatoes as well.
He’s gone for the osso bucco of beef.
The menu is only small but strong in that it offers classic dishes, as well as some more interesting ones for those who like something different when they eat out.
The £13.50 dish – usually braised veal from Italy – was slow cooked to falling-apart perfection, in a rich and intense sauce.
It came with slices of tomato and saffron polenta, not his cup of tea, but others may like it.
There are some dishes on the menu we’d return to try, not least the super Sunday roasts.
The Old House is back, and long may it stay a fixture of Devonshire Street.