We tasted the food at the new Italian restaurant on Ecclesall Road and this is what we thought
With its ever-changing variety of restaurants that regularly serve up some of the best food in Sheffield, Ecclesall Road is not the easiest place to open a new food business.
But the team behind new Italian eatery, Raffina Caffè Bar & Ristorante, have no reason to worry because the combination of phenomenal and indulgent food, excellent service and elegant surroundings is sure to make them a success.
If that wasn’t enough, they are also the first place in Sheffield to serve Nutella Gnocchi, a devilishly decadent dessert that is definitely worth the calories, but more on that later.
As we entered Raffina on a sunny Thursday evening, the friendly and accommodating staff could not do enough for us and we were immediately shown to our reserved table.
I was quickly offered, and furnished with, an apperitif of a Botanical Gardens gin and tonic using a blend of Oro Gin, lavender, cucumber and lime with Fever Tree lemon tonic that tasted as delicious as it looked.
To start, I plumped for the Burrata, with sticky tomatoes, pine nuts and basil, while my dining companion opted for the Bruschetta, served with roma tomatoes, basil, garlic and extra virgin olive oil.
The Burrata tasted incredible, and the creamy, pillowy texture of the burrata combined with the tangy taste of the tomatoes was the perfect pairing, and tasted like summer on a plate.
My dining companion described the Bruschetta as having a great texture in the bread, with a really vibrant basil garnish.
The sun streamed in as we waited for our main course, and that combined with up-tempo music playing softly in the background, made it a very pleasant place to while away time between courses.
I selected the Mushroom and Truffle Risotto with Carnaroli rice, wild mushrooms, summer truffle, Parmesan and extra virgin olive oil, which was a taste sensation. It was rich yet light, and I savoured every mouthful.
Raffina’s helpful bartender Christian suggested I pair the Risotto with the Lambrusco Rosé Doc Aneri wine from the Emilia Romagna region of Italy, which elevated the flavoursome dish even further and was very refreshing.
Meanwhile, my dining companion chose the Half Tail Lobster Linguine, served with chilli tomatoes, ginger and parsley.
He said it had a really great mouthfeel and described it as the best quality linguine pasta cooked perfectly, with a slight hint of chilli to cut the richness along with sweet and sour richness from the datterini tomatoes and a herb garnish.
We selflessly selected three scrumptious desserts to sample for research purposes, choosing the Tiramisu; Cherry and Almond Tart and Nutella Gnocchi.
All three were delicious, but the stand out sweet treat had to be the Nutella gnocchi. Oozing with chocolate and hazlenut, the delectable mini doughnuts are a triumph.
Christian selected a Moscato Passito dessert wine from the Calabria region of Italy to accompany the desserts, which worked really well.
Raffina’s Operations Manager, Achille Travaglini, selected them for the Raffina menu after trying ones made by London-based artisan fresh pasta producer, La Tua.
Achille, who currated the entire menu, says Raffina are the first place in the city to serve the Nutella gnocchi and will soon add Pistachio and Pesto Gnocchi to the menu.
The tasteful decor and attentive staff enhanced the already brilliant dining experience.
Raffina Caffè Bar & Ristorante opened on May 17, following the successful launch of introduction of Raffina Coffee & Deli to Fox Valley Shopping Park, Stocksbridge, earlier this year.
The owners say their aim is to “bring authentic Italian flavours, high-quality ingredients and world-class service to the people of Sheffield.”
The food and drink tasted in the review was courtesy of Raffina Caffè Bar & Ristorante, and I would highly recommend it.