In the middle of the concrete floor at The Depot Bakery and Eatery in Neepsend in Sheffield, there’s a clue to the place’s previous life - two parallel lines once filled with rails and used by a company making miniature trains.
The industrial unit off Burton Road had other purposes before that; it was part of the Tungsten Springs site, and was originally built as an extension of the Cannon Brewery complex. But now, on a weekday morning, tempting loaves and freshly-baked cakes are arranged around the cafe’s counter, while early customers sip artisan coffee and log on to the wifi.
Next door are a bicycle shop and a dealer in mid-century furniture, signs of the transformation in the wider Kelham Island, Neepsend and Shalesmoor area - mixing the city’s heritage with the enthusiasms of millennials.
Once solely a commercial bakery, The Depot moved 18 months ago from a smaller space off Arundel Street, allowing the addition of The Eatery, open six days a week. The venture was founded by the couple who started Tamper Coffee, Jonathan and Natalie Perry, alongside fellow director Ben Smith, one of the instigators of the Peddler night market, held monthly near The Depot. The interior is utilitarian grey and white, with bare breezeblocks, suspended metal lightshades and original features retained.
The breakfast and brunch menu combines basics - croissants, toast - with more elaborate offerings. Pies, sandwiches and salads are available at lunchtime, and there’s a specials board too.
Everything is designed to show off the bakery products - ordering at the counter, we tried eggs benedict and eggs Montreal, served on thick, crunchy slices of toasted sourdough bread with spinach, leeks and creamy mustard hollandaise.
The former was the meatier plateful - tender, subtley-flavoured slow-cooked ham hock was piled onto the bread, while the latter featured delicate smoked salmon instead; whiskey-cured, though this wasn’t evident in the taste. The sizeable poached eggs were slightly firm, but kept enough runniness in their golden yolks.
An excellent latte coffee had distinct flavours of fruit, while a ‘batch brew’ with milk was more of an everyday mug. We took away two chocolate cakes - a deliciously moist, sticky cross between a brownie and a muffin, sandwiched and topped with sweet, smooth peanut butter icing and gleaming pieces of nut brittle. Service was pleasingly swift and the bill for food and coffees came to £24.50 - justifiable, perhaps, for an occasional treat.