We ate at Sheffield's Kommune food hall and this is what we thought
There are worse places to hunker down during a devastating storm than Sheffield’s newest food hall.
We braved the short trip to Kommune, within the former Co-op department store on the fringes of Sheffield city centre, while Storm Ciara whipped her way across the UK earlier this month.
Food halls appear to be all the rage at the moment, with Kommune opening last spring on Angel Street, hot on the heels of the popular Cutlery Works in Neepsend.
There are many similarities, with both bringing new life to abandoned buildings as part of efforts to rejuvenate previously down-at-heel neighbourhoods - but there is a very different feel to the two venues.
Despite its industrial setting, I found Cutlery Works more dressed up – perhaps in an effort to appeal to the trend-setters for which that corner of town has become known.
Kommune has kept things more stripped back, with an understated elegance to the makeover of what was already an impressive space, elevated by simple touches – such as the lights draped like necklaces from the lofty ceiling, and the bare branches we spent much of our time keeping our curious toddler from attempting to climb.
It is located in up-and-coming Castlegate, close to where Castle Market stood for many years, and, while I’m too much of a newcomer to the city to remember the once-bustling marketplace, it felt like there was more than a nod to what went before.
The vendors’ names and menus are set out on blackboards above the stalls, where diners can watch the food being prepared as the various aromas mingle temptingly in the air around them.
There was a good buzz for a Sunday afternoon, with a real mix of customers, from students poring over their textbooks, to older couples who may remember browsing the aisles of the old department store, and several families whose children enjoyed the chance to test their skills at table football and ping pong.
The best thing about a food hall is that you’re not limited to one cuisine – so even if you and your partner or children are in the mood for something completely different, there’s no danger of an argument.
From burgers and pizzas to Indian street food and Middle Eastern delicacies, there are plenty of options.
We went for an eclectic combination of fresh seafood from JH Mann and the Korean soul food dished out by YOKI.
Our Korean fried chicken with two bao buns and kimchi coleslaw felt like a bargain at £10 given the generous serving of crisp, sticky and succulent chicken in a soul-enriching honey, butter and garlic sauce.
JH Mann’s soft shell crab taco was possibly even better, with the crispy coating giving way to soft, moist crab flesh which felt like it had scuttled straight out of the water and onto our plate.
The only slight disappointment was the salt and pepper squid, rendered a little tough after spending too long in the fryer.
Even the zesty pickle salad and chorizo aioli couldn’t quite revive the dish, which at £8.50 for a small plate felt a tad pricey.
Our ice cream sundae from Sweet As was the perfect way to end the meal, with banana and peanut proving the standout flavour, and we washed it all down with a refreshing blackberry and mint soda, and a blood orange sour cocktail, bringing our bill to a reasonable £44.