Tonight was a lovely evening with my parents. And for the restaurant, it was one of those evenings where anything that could go wrong, did go wrong.
For me, it was another evening where I didn’t get to eat much till dessert. I think I could get used to that!!
I’d made a slight amendment to my order vs the dish on the menu. The chef forgot the amendment, and the waiter took it back - before I said anything - to rectify it.
I really don’t want to know how they did that, as half way through my meal, I discovered a hair in my food. ICK! So I stopped eating my dinner and moved on to my dad’s chips instead
The waiter brought the manager over, who said of course my meal would be free, and offered us all free desserts. Dad said his meal had been lovely so he didn’t think he merited a free dessert, but the manager insisted.
The chef hadn’t really picked up on his attention to detail though - and dad’s dessert had ice cream instead of custard. We didn’t let the waiter take it back this time though!
I was really surprised though, as we enjoyed the meal - the food was really good, and the company great. But we didn’t make a fuss at all - just politely brought the hair to their attention. I’ve had so many far more serious or annoying issues in shops and restaurants in the past, where I’ve felt I justified some kind of recompense and had to make my point very assertively with the manager. But this was dealt with in a really understanding, professional and customer focussed way which really impressed me.
I’m wondering if there’s changes in policy as places don’t want to lose customers or damage their reputation because of the credit crunch, or whether they’d just been trained really well.
I’d go back. Especially for more dessert..
So, despite needing to lose 3 inches before ordering my wedding dress, the last week has seen quite a few meals out. Oops, but nyom…
Last weekend was a continuation of a quest to find the perfect pizzeria in Sheffield. It used to be San Lorenzo on Sharrowvale Road - awesome food and great atmosphere. Sadly it closed about a year ago. Since then, we’ve been looking but not yet found a new ‘local’.
So, we found ourselves in Mamas and Leonies. I’d heard that it was one of few places to have cheddar on pizzas, and that the lasagne was nice but very filling, so more of a winter place.
The service was great - very friendly, attentive and competent. The decor was a little dark, but interesting, with lots of pictures and things to look at. It was the food that really confused me.
The garlic bread was a pizza dough (normal) dripping in butter with some garlic. Theatrekat’s don’t really like butter on sandwiches, but normal garlic butter is fine. This was just overpoweringly buttery.
The ribs were definitely overdone, and didn’t taste as ribs normally do. The meat seemed decent quality, but the sauce seemed more like bovril than what I would’ve expected. Not unpleasant again, but just not to my taste or expectations.
I’d played it safe with my main course - pasta with tomato sauce. It’s not difficult, and always looks the same. Except here - this was a sort of bolognese brown sauce dumped on top of the spaghetti. You couldn’t discern any tomatoes - but lots of minced onion. And no idea what the rest of it was. Again, not inedible, but weird, and not particularly appetising.
But the staff were really lovely, so rather than complain, I tried to disguise the fact that I’d hardly eaten anything and said it was lovely and then scarpered quickly over the road to Piccolino’s for dessert.
If you’ve never tried it, cocktails and dessert outside Piccolino’s, overlooking the Peace Gardens, Winter Gardens and Town Hall is definitely one of my Sheffield Recommendations. It’s peaceful, relaxing, and everything on the menu’s delicious. Perfect end to an evening!
After great hype and exposure from Gordon Ramsey’s TV Nightmares and comments from colleagues, what else could we do but go and check it out? Particularly given that as the official partner restaurant of the Sheffield Theatres Spring Season, it has a (very) tenuous theatre link.
To summarise the tv programme, it’s an awesome chef (who’s language is even more colourful that Gordon’s), a slightly camp owner, who wishes he was running a club and isn’t too hot at running the front of house, and his long suffering girlfriend.
I was therefore unsurprised when it took around an hour and a half to get our starters - but the ambiance and company were good, so it wasn’t a problem.
It was a little disappointing that the waitress (the girlfriend) painstakingly wrote down the details of our order in longhand - particularly after Gordon had painstakingly explained how you can shorten each dish to just a letter or two.
Strangely none of us ordered the “special” - a vegetable pieat £12. This was leftovers from pie night, four days ago, and when fresh it had only cost £8.50.
It was also a little disappointing that we had to ask for the wine menu back after we’d ordered our food - how else are you supposed to find a wine that complements your meal?
But my choices - garlic prawns and tomatoes, followed by steak - sounded good. Ask! do a really wonderful prawn and tomato starter. Lots of yummy prawns in tomato sauce, with a nice rocket and parmesan salad and garlic bread to dip in the sauce. Silversmiths have large prawns, but no bread or salad, and the dish is overpowered by the very strong salty garlic butter. The rest of the party had barley soup - which looked like a thin vegetable soup, and again didn’t come with any bread.
The steak was inedible in parts due to gristle, but the chips it came with were nice. Again the dish was completely overpowered by the salt content of the garlic butter.
My final gripe would be that the cheeseboard listing in the menu explaine d in great detail the sourcing of the chutney, but despite three people in our party choosing the cheese, no-one thought it might be interesting for us to know what the cheeses actually were.
I’d give Silversmiths another go - as I’m sure alternatives on the menu must have a lower salt content. But I wasn’t overly impressed by the first visit.
If you like the sound of this: try drinking salt water
I was so excited about this show. I saw the original in London, and loved it, so saw it again. And then again when it transferred theatre, and when it changed cast, and the last night in London. Only a year ago, I saw the Mountview students production of it at the Albany theatre. The show was largely responsible for me working in the theatre industry. I was fascinated by the way it evolved over time and it was one of my all-time favourite musicals,. I say “was” because the current tour is a horrific mutation of the original show.
Almost every highlight of the show has been replaced, lost or destroyed.
The magic of the three witches flying over the audience is gone - they fly, or bob above the stage a bit - and aren’t even lit whilst doing so. Lighting was a problem at other points aswell - most niticeably the beginning, where the Little Girl was in darkness, and various points where the Witches weren’t quite in the right lights.
The set is unimaginitive, the crew can’t even be bothered to ensure pieces move in a coordinated fashion (the three houses were lifted out at varying times and speed and it was obviously not intentional), and key pieces are missing - I completely fail to understand why, if a semi professional production managed to achieve the cherries/disposal unit scene, a national tour can not.
The cast are poor. I sense that the budget was blown on Marti Pellow, and the producers couldn’t afford anyone else with any significant talent. Sure, some of them have West End credentials, but the three Witches are pretty interchangeable if you swap their wigs. There’s none of the spellbinding harmonies of the original cast, no motherly, feisty Lucie Arnaz, or prim and precise Joanna Riding, or feathery and incredibly funny Maria Friedman. Felicia is just scary, Michael had a good voice but the wrong physique, and Marti Pellow was truly appalling. He lacked charisma and authority, his voice lacked power, and he played the role like a simpering wannabe Phantom (please please never let him near that show).
The original script had a lot of great songs, and incredible humour. Most have been cut, and those that remain are delivered with a lack of subtely, nuance or comic timing. There’s no Who’s The Man, Loose End, I Love A Little Town or Eye of the Beholder. Even Who’s The Man replacement Glory of Me has gone. In place are some drivel about wildest dreams, being Darryl van Horne and a badly annunciated reprise of the once great Dance With The Devil.
The show’s humour I can’t remember word for word - but Clyde had some great lines in Evil “A candle - where’s the cake” “A silver dollar, my god she finally paid off”. All cut. Fidel’s “Right then” and exit after Darryl’s demise - gone. No Koolaid and hohos, no Disney porn or spaghettios. Why all the changes, I have no idea - the show was great, and now is less than mediocre. The only area I can’t criticise is the sound, and original arrangements of the score.
Whilst the show was an old favourite of mine, Paul was new to it, and also found it dismal. In defence of its glory days, I contacted a few of the people I saw the original with. They said
“Yes, it was the one with the people flying over the audience - and yes, very good and well worth seeing”
“Witches of Eastwick was definitely good”
Also check out: The Original Cast Recording of Witches of Eastwick (not the tour. It’s three hours of your life you won’t get back), The Toxic Avenger, Wicked