Kelham Island’s population is getting bigger. Building work on 131 apartments is poised to get under way towards Neepsend, and plans are in for a further 92 flats under the same scheme.
These aren’t for students – families and young professionals are targeted, furthering the aim of creating a real ‘urban village’, so long an ambition for this former industrial area in Sheffield. Kelham could still do with some independent shops, but The Grind café has sensed it is the right moment to expand.
Opened in 2010 by Howard and Amanda Wade on the ground floor of Cornwall Works, a former silversmiths, the glass-fronted venue on Green Lane has undergone a refurbishment. The owners have ‘knocked through’ to an old office, creating more kitchen space and extra seating. The latter is needed; waits for tables have been common.
Some things are much the same, though: the informal atmosphere, mismatched tables of varying heights dressed with fragrant daffodils, and the cabinet beneath the menu board filled with the day’s offerings. A true feast for the eyes.
Ordering at the counter, where service is bright and friendly, we made an improvised starter out of a Grind staple. Sausage rolls are so readily abused in this world of bargain High Street bakeries, but here they are things of wonder, presented on a chopping board on a bed of rocket – thick, seasoned filling encased in flaky, glazed pastry, with a shockingly good, intensely meaty crust at each end.
Daily specials come with a choice of three salads, served in enamel dishes on basic metal trays. Balsamic beef striploin was well marinated yet on the tough side – sharp knives would help – while a generous chunk of sriracha slow roast belly pork had no crackling, but was enlivened by hot, sweet sauce.
Our chosen salads added up to a colourful dish of their own, piled with spinach, peppers, beetroot, pinenuts, watercress and pesto potatoes with black olives.
Two enormous slices of maple syrup and blueberry cake were taken away, neatly boxed up. It was a rich, soaked-sponge achievement, smothered with cream cheese icing and studded with large berries, as well as hunks of what appeared to be brioche.
Handsome coffees – a cappuccino and a latte – took the bill to £39.05. Cucumber-infused water is free.
Those additional covers won’t leave much slack for long. Soon it might be time to add another floor.
The Grind, Cornwall Works, 3 Green Lane, Sheffield S3 8SJ. Tel: 272 3929