A fishy tale in Sharrow Vale

IT’S BEEN a gloomy old week and that’s not including the weather. Holiday cancelled yet again and we really need to cheer ourselves up.

Let’s go down the hill and see if a trip round Sharrow Vale can revive our spirits.

Sharrow Vale may not be Minori – or Majorca – but it is close on becoming Sheffield’s new Restaurant Quarter with a more than Continental flavour.

Spanish, Sardinian, Italian, Vietnamese, Modern British, veggie and fishy places are all within a short stroll.

We fancy lunch at Mann’s wet fish shop where you just point at whatever you fancy on the slab and get it cooked at counter price. How is that for a bargain?

It is when you consider this place has spawned Native, the new, trendy ( and minty) fish restaurant Native, recently opened at Gibraltar Street, West Bar, a sort of son of Mann’s.

Chef-turned-fishmonger-turned-entrepreneur Christian Szurko has rapidly built up a mini fish empire based on his success in wet fish.

Mann’s: Join the club

First there was a unit at Kommune, now deceased, then Native and almost simultaneously a fish shop in upmarket Bakewell.

The surroundings at Sharrow Vale are hardly swank: no more than eight stools bum to bum and within inhaling distance of the fish counter, with no chance of booking so it’s first come, first served, but, hey, it’s atmospheric and with the same ingredients as Native this is a bargain.

Yes we have done it beforehttps://wordpress.com/post/dawesindoors.wordpress.com/3772 but it’s well worth reporting it again.

I strike lucky and keep two seats warm while my wife finishes an appointment. To keep myself amused I have three lovely oysters at £2 each, enjoying the thought I am saving 50p a mouthful on Native prices.

The fishmonger-chef is Scott Mills who will cook it how you want it while selling halibut or hake to non-dining customers.

He suggests a crab and coconut daal (one of two ‘sides’ available although the fish chowder has run out) and we settle on a scallop, couple of cod’s cheeks and some sea trout on top. Actually that just means we say yes to whatever he points to.

I reflect that cod’s cheeks have gone up in the world since you bought them for your cat.

Meanwhile I popped a few doors along to winesellers Starmore & Boss for a Madrigale rosato (just over a tenner).

That main was heaven. Daal is comfort food anyway ( the equivalent of sausage and mash), while the coconut added sweetness and a touch of the exotic and the crab a richness in flavour.

The trout skin was blackened just this side of barbecue and very crisp, the scallop was sweet and the cod’s cheeks also firm and sweet and far too good for cats. A sprig of samphire rounded things off. That’s £12 a plate. Perfect Scott!

We are not finished. We need dessert and coffee and so decamp around the corner to Spanish cafe-deli IberiCo in Dyson Place, newly removed from Hickmott Road with a larger menu. This what the Spanish do, somewhere for tapas, another for mains, a third for dessert.

We sit outside in the wan, chill sunlight and enjoy fine coffee and equally fine cakes involving lots of almond.

We think how lucky we are to have all this on hand and be only a short walk back home for a siesta.

To finish: Coffee and cake