It has to be said, it is not the grandest of entrances.
Restaurant 450 Above is above a row of shops and takeaways next to the dual carriageway that runs through Wickersley.
You get to it via a side alley, up a set of outdoor steps and through a blue, covered walkway that reminded me of an old French lido. As we climbed, our hearts were not soaring with expectation.
Talk about not judging a book by its cover, though. 450 above was a bit of a revelation.
Inside, everything is in shades of aubergine - even the owner, Jeremy Ward.
I was none too sure about him initially. He seemed a bit gruff as he ushered us to squeaky leather sofas and took our drinks orders. The purple shirted one was also quick to correct my husband’s slightly concerned “We’re the only ones here” comment to “You’re the first ones here.”
But by the end of our meal, we liked him a lot. And his food. And his restaurant, which did indeed fill up. Remarkably so for a Tuesday night, even in Sheffield.
Jeremy opened it in 2011 after managing popular nearby Italian Vasco’s. Head chef Peter Green is also ex Vasco’s. Peter once ran the Robin Hood in Stannington, too. His commis is Martin Johnson, whose career includes stints at celebrated city gastro pub The Milestone, and at the Showroom bar under well-known chef Simon Ayres. And Simon is a regular at 450 above; he lives locally, says Jeremy.
We knew none of this when we sat down to eat, which just goes to show how interesting Jeremy turned out to be. Ditto the food. A list of good value £5 starters and £15 mains is supplemented by nightly specials at a few pounds more.
Moist, sweet hunks of pot-roast salmon on a crab-laced potato salad, presented on a slate dotted with flavour-packed drizzles and bright little slivers of raw veg made for a delightful £5 entree, as did the plentiful, nicely browned yet still pink inside pigeon breasts, which topped a dainty salad featuring crisped prosciutto for £7.50.
Mains of seabass fillet on a deliciously rich prawn and saffron risotto and crisp French beans, £16.75, plus £15 salmon fillet on Asian infused dark lentils with a spinach pakora, again proved the kitchen has imagination, skill and a generous hand when it comes to portions - though the lentils were rather too sweet and oily for my partner’s liking. (An apologetic Jeremy thought the chef might have got over-enthusiastic with the basil oil drizzles).
All desserts are £5 and we shared a deliciously dark slice of chocolate torte on well-made pastry with creamy honey ice cream, brought to life by the addition of whole, roasted hazelnuts.
From a well thought-out, reasonably-priced wine list, two large, quality glasses of Pinot Noir brought the bill to £61.25.
Venue: 450 Above
Address: 127E Bawtry Rd, Rotherham, S66 2BW Contact: 01709 532224