Is this the best brunch spot for families in Sheffield?
A brunch menu with a solid mix of classic breakfast dishes and creative cooking – check. A playground to entertain the little people – check. And a farm as well as a farm shop too – check.
The new restaurant at Whirlow Hall Farm, called The Barn, must be a strong contender for the best places to have breakfast with a family in Sheffield, if ever there was one.
The farm tucked away at the top of Whirlow has taken its food offering a level up with this new eatery.
Work to transform the barn into a 120-seater restaurant began before the pandemic and was completed earlier this year.
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It is overseen by Luke Rhodes, who became known for his twist on Yorkshire food and for introducing the judges on Masterchef: The Professionals to Henderson’s Relish. A Sheffield hero, then.
The 27-year-old is now the head chef at Whirlow Hall Farm’s restaurant, which also boasts beautiful views of the surrounding countryside.
His experience shows in the food, no doubt aided by the immediate access to top notch ingredients that the farm enjoys, as all of the dishes are made with ingredients grown or reared at the site. But more of that later.
We’d arrived in the morning and after taking our two toddlers around the small animal pens and through the (also top notch) playground, we finally managed to steer them into The Barn with the bribery of ‘snacks.’
It’s a lovely airy space with plenty of room for all the paraphernalia that comes with young children, and the counter was heaped with tempting looking pastries and cakes.
We ordered two coffees first and a croissant for our two youngest reviewers to get started on. But by the time it came to order our main courses, there was still no sign.
And it took two reminders to the otherwise friendly staff, as well as the hot dishes turning up, to finally get our hands on a flat white and an oat latte. Apparently they’d gone to another table of guests, the thieves. Thankfully the coffee was worth waiting for.
My beef brisket hash (£8) looked and tasted incredible. The tender meat gently fell apart at the smallest tug of a fork and there was a really good kick of spice to it.
Texture came from the crispy potatoes, roasted onions and fried egg with a vivid orange yolk, and more heat from a drizzle of siracha mayo. I’d have been happy with this as a main course at a dinner too.
They do full breakfasts at The Barn, and my mum friend went for the ‘veggie Whirlow.’
Everything from the meat-free sausages to the confit tomato was perfectly cooked and farm fresh, and her son stole most of the mushrooms as they were that tasty.
The team haven’t just trotted out the usual dishes though, as daily changing French toast as well as Australian style chicken and waffles were on offer on the menu.
There are plenty of options for kids. Our two enjoyed a nibbles box – the name is deceiving, we took it home for tea due to the vast portion size – of carrots, ham, hummus and cucumber, as well as a classic lunch box.
It would have been good to have the choice of wholemeal bread, sugar free juice and vegetable crisps though, especially for younger children.
Strangely for such a family focused destination there also didn’t seem to be a flip down baby change unit anywhere in the building, so we were forced to contort ourselves and the babes into yoga positions in the regular toilets instead.
We plan to go back to try the lunch menu, and with some tweaks this could easily become a masterclass in family dining in Sheffield.