Victoria B. Darcy was something of a rebel. Coming from a well respected family of industrialists, she was a professor of horticulture as well as a keen conservationist. From her opinions on the up-keep of parks, to turning the industrial landscape into beautiful gardens, she was most certainly ahead of her time with these new ideas.
She lives in the cocktails and dishes created in the newest addition to Ecclesall Road’s bustling food scene. Sadly, because Sheffield could always do with more heroines, Ms Darcy is merely a work of fiction, an enigma around which a restaurant and bar is made. If she did truly exist, I feel sure she would be mighty proud of The Lost and Found.
An attractive setting and good atmosphere can be as important to dining as the presentation of the food. It makes or breaks a good night out and this venue has certainly got things spot on. The Lost and Found even looks great from the street.
You can’t miss the fact that the theme is agriculture, courtesy of Ms Darcy, and you can’t help but smile when you step inside. The effort which has gone into the decor and feel of the building is impressive.
Sheffield’s is only the sixth in the chain and is housed in the imposing former Polish Club building, more recently the Pointing Dog Clubhouse.
It had only been reincarnated a few days earlier but both the service and welcome were slick when we visited. We were quickly shown to our table by a very friendly waitress who was more than happy to explain the concept and answer our questions.
We started with a crispy duck salad which came with a shredded vegetable salad and hoisin dressing (£8). It was delicious. The crunch of the meat was perfectly partnered with a good helping of very fresh salad.
The other starter we ordered was crispy squid and chorizo with roasted garlic aioli and semi-dried tomatoes (£8). There were big circles of squid, cooked well so it wasn’t too chewy. The chorizo was very thinly sliced and they paired delightfully.
The menu is fairly varied and we selected two classics for our mains after much discussion about what to try.
The wagyu beef burger was topped with caramelised onions, crispy bacon, Monterey Jack cheese and smoky chipotle ketchup with seasoned skinny fries (£13.50). It was an adequate portion with a great combination of flavours but would have been improved with a small side salad.
We also tried the king prawn linguine with garlic, tomato, chilli, rocket and lemon (£14). There was generous serving of pasta and the sauce was tasty, although quite a bit hotter than anticipated. Ideal for chilli fans.
We were pleased with the meal overall but it was the venue and the staff which really pulled together a lovely evening. Despite being an elegant drinking den, it is also very welcoming to families.
The children’s menu is £7.95 for three courses, plus a drink. It is simple and to the point, which is what many children want. Garlic pitta bread, margherita pizza, ice cream – thank you very much. It all disappeared quickly, then back to the games sheet provided on arrival. The vanilla ice cream drizzled with warm chocolate sauce is worth a special mention. It is a combination which was just as popular when I was a child as it is today and this particular bowl-full was top quality.
Two of us shared a pudding and we didn’t manage to clear the plate. We opted for millionaire’s shortbread with dark chocolate, sticky whisky caramel, honeycomb and rich chocolate ice cream (£8). The name was a bit unfortunate as it neither tasted nor resembled millionaire’s shortbread. It was very rich and ideal for fans of very dark chocolate but certainly a dessert for a specific palate.
One thing I did spot and hope to give a go is the brunch and bottomless bubbles which is available on Saturdays. What a perfect way to kick start a weekend … if you aren’t planning to do much for the rest of the day.
The cocktail menu is also a delight to behold. In keeping with the green theme, why not try forbidden fruit or a fruits and flora, which boasts the irresistible combination of maraschino liqueur, black cherry jam, St Germain elderflower liqueur, lemon juice and vanilla syrup plus elderflower tonic. Who needs puddin?
I am as pleased as punch that The Lost and Found has spotted the potential in Sheffield and joined the many amazing foodie delights we have to offer. It shows not only our pulling power but also that on a street where quite a few restaurants have come and gone recently, some places will clearly stay for many years.
One unusual hangover of getting a licence in a former members’ club, is you have to be a member if you want an alcoholic drink. You can sign up as you order and it only takes a few seconds, but certainly sparks unexpected conversations with the waiting team. I am in no doubt The Lost and Found will prove a hit. It is an ideal place to impress friends and share giggles of a cocktail or two. The food is good but not outstanding – yet the atmosphere and look will keep Sheffielders going back for more.