Hospital food which doesn’t give you the glums

IMG_0790 lasagne at the Claremont 06-03-2018 14-26-01I’VE just been to hospital for my lunch. And very good it was, too. In fact, if you’re passing, I thoroughly recommend the Claremont on Sandygate Road, Sheffield. You don’t have to be a patient!

The last time I ‘reviewed’ hospital food I was in a bed at the Royal Hallamshire posting glum messages on Twitter and Facebbok about breakfasts limited to cereal or soggy toast, and mince and potato pie with two more kinds of potato. When I discharged myself early my notes read: “Reason for discharge – does not like the food.”

A family member has been receiving NHS treatment at the private Claremont and I took myself off to its restaurant, like the rest of the place, bright and clean. That day I had fish and chips and thought it was lovely – excellent fish with a crispy batter.

The next time it was lasagne and I was halfway through eating it when the realisation hit me (one can get distracted in hospital) that this was really, really good, baked with a light touch. Sadly, it was half-eaten by the time this happened so a picture was out of the question.

Now I’ve just been again and as luck would have it lasagne was on the specials menu at £5.95. It wasn’t as elegantly presented as the first time round but it tasted just as it had before. The pasta was so melting I would have sworn it was home made but, as a chef explained, it wasn’t. But the meat filling is and it’s as fine as anything I could eat on the shores of Lake Como. I liked the way it was not overwhelmed by tomato but the cheesy béchamel took precedence.

According to the chefs – the kitchen staff often serve at the table – it was tray baked and when reheated to order a little tomato juice is sprinkled on the bottom to stop it burning. I like the cheffy tip! But I did enjoy the way it was beginning to crisp – just – at the edges.

Apparently they get lots of compliments about the food and I can see why. Enjoying your meal is one way to get better, as the Claremont recognises. Polish head chef Bart Komuniecki was at Sheffield’s Kenwood Hotel when he cooked feijoada, Brazil’s national dish, for that country’s Olympic 2012 judo squad, staying in the city.

And he headed the team at Nottingham’s four star Belfry Hotel before coming here.

We have another appointment at the Claremont in a couple of weeks. I can’t wait to see what’s on the menu! I just hope they improve the machine tea – strong and stewed!

Bart Komuniecki

Claremont Hospital head chef Bart Komuniecki