Food Review: The Nottingham House, 164 Whitham Road, Broomhill, Sheffield S10 2SR
Monday night, in British Pie Week last week, and we're starving'¦
It’s a no-brainer, but where to go?
We’ve been to pie night at Silversmith’s, had chicken pie at the Broadfield, fish pie at Trippet’s and steak pie at the Dog and Partridge at Flouch.
All excellent but we need something new, and there’s a whisper turning into a student-fuelled roar that The Nottingham House in Broomhill is doing a decent pie these days.
“The best home-made pies in Sheffield’’ according to the ‘Notty’s’ website.
A bold claim - and one that made up our minds.
More pie talk later.
The Nottingham House is one of those pubs that always looks so appealing when you go past.
An old-school Victorian-style corner boozer of character that the pub lover in us wants to see survive – but not always enough to make us go in on a regular basis.
The Notty has been closed down a few times in recent years but always seems to bounce back, this time round thanks to current landlord Cathal Langan or Cax as he’s known.
Cax came to Sheffield in 2003 from Derry in Ireland to study accountancy.
He took, as he so descriptively puts it, ‘the scenic route’ to his degree, taking a couple of extra years and working in city pubs – and eventually taking over the Nottingham House in February 2012. But for the flick of a university guide page he might never have come to Sheffield at all.
“At school we were making university application choices and I needed one more so I flicked through the guide and picked a page at random,” said Cax, now aged 30.
“It was Sheffield and I liked the look of it .
“I started working in pubs within a month of coming to Sheffield and over the years the lease on Nottingham House came available a few times. Then it came up again in 2012 and the time was right for me so I got it.”
“We made it a comfortable, relaxing pace with entertainment and music and a fun place to be.”
First impressions are of a busy, slightly chaotic pub with music, great-smelling food and lots of students.
On the blackboard behind the bar is the evening’s list of pies which are crossed off as they run out.
I start with a pint of marvelous Moonshine and my daughter Ellen has a Moonshine shandy.
There are no starters or desserts at the Nottingham so we open the evening with a couple of bags of Yorkshire crisps – one tomato, basil and mozzarella and the other Henderson’s relish. Proper crisps with bags of flavour.
So what about those pies?
I chose the steak and mushroom with mash and veggie Ellen went for red pepper, artichoke and feta with chips, both with mushy peas.
Because it’s so busy – Monday nights the university sports teams head there after they’ve played or watched - we’re told when we order that there is a 40-minute wait.
In the end our pies were before us in 20 minutes.
They look home-made, slightly nobbly and lop-sided like a good pie should.
I opened mine up and have never seen so much meat in an individual pie.
I don’t know how they got it all in there.
And it’s gorgeous. The filling has a rich, savoury, almost creamy gravy and the meat is fall-apart tender. The side pastry could be a little firmer but the top is light, crisp and buttery.
My mash is decent enough without being stand-out and the peas are lovely with a re-assuringly authentic hint of soda, just like your grandma made – if in fact she ever did.
Ellen’s veggie pie is equally rich with soft creamy cheese and packed with chunks of artichoke hearts and sweet pepper strips. Really lovely.
Then the crowning glory, the chips.
Mahogany brown in places, crunchy outside and soft and waxy within they are stunning.
Twice cooked and all the better for it they are the best I’ve had in ages - though I do say that quite regularly. The gravy that comes with it is Bisto, which isn’t really necessary but people seem to love it.
All told it’s a cracking, cheap, unpretentious meal with bags of class and flavour.
“The pies are made here in the pub kitchen – the staff make all the fillings themselves.
“I buy the pastry in from the wholesaler. We don’t make that. We use shortcrust for the sides and puff for the top.
“We have more than 100 different types of pie and always make sure there’s lots of filling in there.
“We sell around 100 pies a day from Monday to Friday and 200 a day on Saturday and Sunday.
“The chips are important too, we cut them here and we cook them twice and we soak our own peas from dried.”
“I’m not thinking of expanding at the moment but if something came up in future I might consider it.
“We get all our meats from Beech’s in Walkley – it makes a difference.
So we did our British Pie week duty and re-discovered Nottingham House where, apparently, every week is pie week, and long may it remain so.
Pie and chips and peas is £7.50 at the Nottingham House. Great food, fantastic value.
Category: Pub grub
Star rating out of five:
* The Nottingham House, 164 Whitham Road, Broomhill, Sheffield S10 2SR, Tel: 0114 3270508
Opening times: Sunday to Thursday: noon - midnight, Friday and Saturday: noon - 1am