Everything you need to know about Marmadukes’ second café in Sheffield – and where their new bakery is opening in the suburbs

Marmadukes Two has opened its doors – and the owners couldn't be happier.

Sunday, 19th January 2020, 5:00 pm
Updated Saturday, 25th January 2020, 12:06 pm

The popular Sheffield café has traded on Norfolk Row in the city centre since 2012, and now the business has branched out to a second site underneath the new HSBC offices in Grosvenor House, part of the council-led £470 million Heart of the City II scheme.

"This is our eighth year and we wanted to make sure if we did do a second café, it was absolutely the right place," says Tim Nye, a retired police detective who founded Marmadukes with his wife Clare.

"It's such a great location, I genuinely love the idea of being part of Sheffield's regeneration. There wasn't a reason not to do it here."

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Inside the new Marmadukes cafe. Picture: Dean Atkins

The 1,500 sq ft unit on Cambridge Street has been turned from a blank space into an inviting-looking venue seating around 60 with a stripped-back, mid-century modern style.

Everywhere there is something that catches the eye - not least the giant neon sign that turns Marmadukes' characterful logo of a scarf-wearing polar bear riding a bicycle into an enormous flashing beacon, positioned in front of long, cascading theatre curtains.

"It represents Clare's favourite animal, the polar bear, and I'm the bike, helping her get to where she wants to be," Tim says.

The couple, who live in Bakewell, have invested more than £300,000 in the new venture. Hillsborough-based Star Upholstery worked on the soft furnishings, and Peter Foster, of Aspect Developments, has created sturdy metal railings, tables and even toilet roll holders.

Tim Nye at the new Marmadukes cafe. Picture: Dean Atkins

Attractive vintage chairs are dotted around the café, which is lit by atmospheric lamps, and Abbeydale Road florist Swallows and Damsons has created a display comprising pampas grass, reeds, broom and pink Gypsophila.

A mezzanine floor provides an excellent vantage point for gazing out of the floor-to-ceiling windows, while the countertop downstairs boasts a big slab of pink-flecked Granby Rock, a terrazzo-like material composed of recycled building rubble.

And then there's the menu, which head chef Matt Duggan-Jones says will differ from Norfolk Row, which continues to operate as normal.

"We're going to do a lot more take-outs," says Matt. "The kitchen is smaller than the one we have at the moment, but I think that constraint is going to push us to do more interesting plated stuff. I've got a few good ideas."

The neon sign inside the new Marmadukes cafe. Picture: Dean Atkins

Cinnamon buns, coffee cake, muffins and pastries will be available from 7am, along with filled croissants - roast ham with taleggio cheese, baby spinach and roasted tomato will be one variety - and bacon and sausage sourdough sandwiches.

An all-day brunch is served from 7am; eggs Benedict and a 'Danish plate' - featuring a savoury scone, hot smoked salmon, a boiled egg, Comté or Ogleshield cheese and sliced apple - are likely to be standouts.

From midday diners can pick up salads and quiches, and 'cocktail hour' runs from 5pm to 7pm with bar snacks including curried popcorn.

There will be an increased focus on vegan and vegetarian food, Tim promises.

Inside the new Marmadukes cafe. Picture: Dean Atkins

"No doubt about it, the food industry is moving that way. We can see it as a strength, because we make everything fresh every day. It's an easy thing for us to do. It's all about the seasoning and making the flavours come through."

Sheffielders are very fond of independent cafés, Tim says - if they are properly realised.

"You've got to be better than Starbucks and Costa. You can't complain about them and not do better coffee and service."

It's an approach summed up by Marmadukes' brand new slogan, 'Best Made', which is proudly emblazoned on the front doors.

One new addition, meanwhile, points to Tim and Clare's next step. A Dutch bike has been bought that will be used to ferry fresh bread from Marmadukes' upcoming new bakery and café in the old Royal Mail sorting office on Ecclesall Road near Banner Cross.

"We're really excited," says Tim. "Hopefully by April we will have that open."

In the meantime the team are looking forward to meeting lots of new customers - starting with the hundreds of HSBC staff above their heads.

"It is really busy," says Tim of the new Cambridge Street spot. "There's a lot of passing trade."

A launch party is happening at Marmadukes’ new site on Thursday, January 23, from 5pm to 7pm.