Rendezvous with Richie


This is Richie Russell, head chef at Remo’s in Broomhill, Sheffield, and he’s pretty big in South Korea. I know this because I keep getting visits to my blog from that country.

There have been 35 in the last week alone. And the one post they want to read is Rendezvous with Remo, written this time last January, about our Italian bistro evening cooked by Richie. So far that particular item has notched up 532 views, half of which have come from South Korea.

My WordPress blog has some nifty analytics and not only tells me which countries read it but also the search terms and they include ‘Richie Russell chef,’ ‘Richie Silversmiths’ and so on. That means I can’t kid myself they want to read about Sheffield Fishcakes or how to make brown sauce. But how had they tracked him down to my blog?

Richie, you will remember, starred in the Gordon Ramsay Kitchen Nightmares series back in 2009 which saw the Runaway Girl restaurant in Arundel Street turned into Silversmiths, with 310 expletive deleteds uttered along the way, almost all of them by Ramsay and Richie.

This show has been seen around the world. I had a flurry of interest from Australia when it was shown there. And it can be seen on the Korean version of YouTube, presumably with sub-titles. Someone has put a link in the comments section to that post on this blog. hence the visits.

Now Kitchen Nightmares happened over six years ago but the past is always present on the internet. Richie has moved on, first to Piccolo, then, three years ago, to his old friend Remo Simeone’s place in Broomhill. Between them they have turned the best coffee shop in town into a thriving café and once a month bistro.

I popped in for coffee and put my head round the kitchen door to see Richie. He’s not unaware of the interest. “I can always tell which country is watching the show because people try and contact me. When it was shown in Australia people wanted to befriend me on Facebook,” he said while preparing for that night’s bistro evening.

He has not, so far, had any requests from South Korea although that can only be a matter of time. I had a request to make of Richie. The blog picture most clicked is that of the café but while it shows Remo at work there is no sign of Richie.

Every journalist knows they should never disappoint a reader so here, for all of you out there in South Korea, is Richie. Now how long before someone puts a link on YouTube to this?

STOP PRESS. Richie left Remo’s in September, 2018. For readers in South Korea I am trying to find out where he is now. In fact, he has quit catering and is now in painting and decorating.

Rendezvous with Remo

Italian meatloaf

Italian meatloaf

luxurious tiramisu

luxurious tiramisu

The other night my wife and I did something we haven’t done since last October. Well you can stop sniggering because we went out for a meal together. Not with the grandchildren, just ourselves. Oh and a pen, notebook and camera. When you’ve had over 1,400 meals out over 26 years of restaurant reviewing old habits die hard.

I thought I might as well, for the blog. Anyway I could never switch off when I was working. I’d always pause mid-mouthful and ask myself what I could say about it if asked. Once on holiday we went to the famous Magpie fish and chip restaurant in Whitby. “Now you’re not working, just enjoy it,” admonished my wife.

“Hello Martin, Are you going to write about them?” called a well-known Sheffield character who spotted us coming in. And I thought, why not? Lots of Sheffield people eat here on holiday so a review would be legit. My wife didn’t quite see it that way but I jotted a few notes on a paper serviette, took the odd picture, wrote up the piece and in the end the paper settled the bill. Now that’s what I call a free meal.

We were certainly paying at Remo’s in Broomhill, a place we invariably call in for coffee when we’re out shopping on Saturday. It’s got lots of atmosphere, looks authentic (the boss is Italian via Rotherham) and has very probably the best coffee in town.

Last year owner Remo Simeone finally realised his dream of expanding the place and doing rather more in the food side than a few salads and sandwiches and the odd hot dish cooked and brought in by veteran Sheffield restaurateur Marco Giove Senior. He hired his old pal Richie Russell as chef.


Chef Richie Russell

You’ll know Richie. He was the chef in that Kitchen Nightmares TV show in 2009 who memorably swapped 310 expletive deleteds (including 240 F words) with celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay at the restaurant rebranded as Silversmiths in Arundel Street. Despite this, one reviewer described Richie as one of the nicest chefs seen in the series. And so he is.

Since starting, Richie has introduced more hot dishes to the menu, which now changes every month, and there is now a monthly bistro evening. Well, chefs have to keep interested. We’ve been meaning to go and eventually did.

Soup was cauliflower, chickpeas and celery, with a background flavouring of rosemary, with a slice of ciabatta with toasted taleggio on top. Nice flavours, which is what you could also say about the asparagus and artichoke tart which followed. I followed next with Italian meatloaf (a sort of square meatball) and got two gutsy slices. The kitchen had used quite a bit of bread in the mixture but it was a good, rumbustious dish, although it cried out for a tomato sauce.

Instead, it was partnered with a bean casserole, as was my wife’s main course of baked squash with pasta and Dolcellate. It looked rib-sticking but was quite delicate, if too much with the beans. It was all good spirited stuff and the meal ended with a quite glorious orange, chocolate and Amaretto tiramisu so, with BYO and no corkage, it was great value for around £25 a head and I heard nobody swear all night.