Fig Tree Sandwich barCity Centre
There's something very enticing about a sandwich bar called the Fig Tree. It sounds like it sells posh deli delights and ... it does. But only to a point.
You won't get fancy cheese, parma ham and artichoke hearts drizzled in olive oil here.
But what you will always find at this little sarnie shop on one of the cobbled, sloping streets that stretch down from Campo Lane to the law courts, is an unusual range of good quality sandwich fillings - I think the owner makes them himself - and some truly stunning soups which I know for a fact the owner makes fresh every day.
In fact, I could virtually live on his soups. They are packed with vegetables, texture and flavour. The Cherry tomato and basil is a delight. It beats Covent Garden's hands-down - and at 1.10 for a small cup or 1.40 for a large, it's good value.
But back to those sandwich fillings. We tried the Thai chicken and the sweet chilli beef, both with salad on soft white breadcakes (or rolls, if you're a Southerner). The chicken was the best. It was tender and really tasty. The beef was slightly less flavoursome, but very good all the same.
Without salad - a huge, crisp mound, which pleasingly included beetroot and good tomatoes - they were 1.80 each. With they were 2.05 each.
Next up, the paninis. You have to wait while they are grilled, obviously, and there's a choice of fillings. Unlike with the sandwiches and soups, though, there isn't a daily special.
We ordered a Club Melt - with bacon, turkey, tomato and cheese - and a beef, onion, tomato and cheese.
They were hot, well grilled and tasty. Very nice indeed. Though they can be a bit hit and miss. On his occasion I had a bit of a struggle with fatty rind on the edge of the bacon and once I got barely any bacon at all.
A bit more cheese would be good, too - especially when you're paying 2.85.
The Fig Tree also does hot potatoes with a range of toppings which are beautifully baked and great value; they start at 1.70 and the most expensive is the chilli version at 2.75.
Calorie counters are catered for, too. There are nicely thought-out fresh salad boxes at 2.50. And there are also boxes of ready-prepared fresh season fruit at 2.
If you don't already know the Fig Tree, then make a bee-line for it. Take an early lunch break if you can, though, or you'll find yourself at the back of a queue of hungry office workers.
Address: Figtree Lane, Sheffield
No telephone ordering or delivery service.
Waiting time - Depends on the time of day. In peak lunch hour, you'll be queueing out of the doors for about 15 minutes.
Open: Weekdays until early afternoon.
Service - friendly and fast.
What we had - Two fresh tomato and basil soups, beef, onion, tomato and cheese panini, Club Melt panini, sweet chilli beef sandwich with salad on white; Thai chicken sandwich with salad on white.
Verdict: Consistently good, always something new to try and the soup is fabulous. I think some of the sandwiches and paninis are a tad on the expensive side, though.