Another in the series on former Sheffield restaurants and restaurateurs
THE legend on the café’s sunshine yellow fascia read “Food, Drink and Enlightenment.” And the best thing about the Bohemian at 53 Chesterfield Road, Sheffield, was that it didn’t cost you much.
It was something of a regular when I was reviewing for the Sheffield Star. There was that time when I did a Dine Out for a Tenner series (three courses, coffee not included) and we went then. We got in under budget by sharing dessert. It helped you could BYO with no corkage.
This was a feature not without embarrassment. Our feverish calculations in one restaurant were overheard by nearby diners. The woman whispered loudly to her companion: “That poor couple have got hardly any money!”
The last time I ate there in 2009, a couple of years before it closed, main courses could still sail in for under £10.
As befits its name, a Bohemian kind of customer frequented it: those who preferred organic, vegetarian and vegan food but that didn’t mean you wouldn’t also find fish on the menu. It was popular in the mornings with mothers and children. The blackboard menu listed ‘stuff you can eat before lunch,’ as well as sandwiches and salads plus a heavier menu which ran all day. In the evenings they lit the candles.
It was a 30 seater with no more than five tables at the front and a couple more at the back, just in front of the kitchen. On the wall was a framed photo of a bearded man in a turban. He was Sufi Master Sheik Nazir, the ‘guardian angel’ of Camran Munir and his brother Imran, who advised them to open the Bohemian.
The brothers also had the Shaan takeaway a few doors along. They came from a catering family. Their granddad had run the Mama café in Attercliffe.
Despite their background there wasn’t a lot of asian food on offer. That came later when the premises were turned into the Bhaji Shop, run by the very English Matthew Holdsworth, whose own family had made their name in supplying bhajis to Eastern and Western customers.
The blackboard might include mussels in tomato and chill, grilled sardines, mezze, goats cheese risotto, or lentil and vegetable filo parcels. Local ladies supplied the cakes and desserts.
The chef was Jonathan Cummings although he always seemed to be off when we called. One night it got busy with a couple of rookies in charge so Imran called his brother, who also cooked. Midway through our main course he burst through the doors, clad in his motorcycle leathers, and hurried up the stairs before returning to the kitchen. It was like a scene out of Blackadder.
While I can’t remember when it opened it had closed by early 2011. There was to be no more food, drink and enlightenment on Chesterfield Road.