Pork chop black pudding croquette crackling

Weekend eats – Aagrah, Graze Inn, The Grind Café and Forge Bakehouse

Well, this past week, I took the title “Girl Eats Sheffield” to its limits. It’s Sunday night and I’ve not had dinner at home since last Sunday night (and even that was an easy, bung-it-in-the-oven Costco number). Despite having said in my pulled pork post that I don’t eat out every night, I seem to have proceeded to do just that.

Monday night we went to meet our friends’ beautiful newborn baby; she was just 6 days old then and totally scrummy. We stayed longer than planned, which was lovely, so our planned menu went out the window and we instead stopped for a quick bite on the way home, babbling away about the baby and her awesome parents as we ate. Tuesday night I went to a bloggers’ dinner at the Common Room (post coming soon). Wednesday I was at a friend’s for dinner and wine. Thursday it was a night out with work pals, and we ended up back at the Common Room. Friday… I’m in love.

I love Fridays. I just absolutely love that moment when the working week ends and two whole days off are stretched out in front of me. We had my fave type of weekend lined up- hosting visitors to our awesome city. They weren’t coming til Saturday, though, so Friday night we went with the besties to the Yorkshire Artspace open studios night at Persistence Works. This was a really nice night and we saw loads of cool stuff made by some of Sheffield’s finest artists, craftspeople and creative folk, and got some really good gift ideas.

Afterwards, we wanted to go for a bite to eat. We tried the Showroom, but they had stopped serving food (we got there at 9pm), so we agreed to head over to Leopold Square for a curry at Aagrah, a tried and tested choice. When we got there, there was a 45 minute wait for a table, so we put our names on the list and headed up to Popolo to sink a few drinks before our table was ready.

When you walk into Aagrah at 10pm on a Friday night, as well as the yummy aroma, the other first thing you notice is how lively and busy it is! But that was just what we wanted. We were shown to our table and ordered some drinks and poppadoms. I had my usual Aagrah drink, the raspberry Collins. I realise a cocktail isn’t the first drink you think of when one considers what to drink with a curry, but Aagrah just do these so well that I can’t resist them.

For my main, I had the shahi lamb tandoori. It was delicious! It was served on a sizzler dish, adding a bit of theatre to proceedings, and came with a very tasty Kashmiri sauce. It’s lamb marinated in spiced yoghurt, cooked on charcoal, then cooked in bay leaf juices with tomatoes, onions, green chillies, garlic, ginger, coriander and peppers. All this for £9.50. I also had a peshwari naan for £3.50, which was beautiful-looking, studded with raisins, pineapples and pistachios on the top; it tasted pretty delightful, too.

Aagrah Shahi Lamb Tandoori Sheffield curry
Shahi lamb tandoori

One of my friends ordered from Aagrah’s special fish menu. He had the monkfish dish which cost about £16; unfortunately it’s not listed on their online menu for me to recount the full description of it, but there’s a picture below. It was a really great dish; I always like the meatiness of monkfish and to have it in an Indian restaurant was something a bit different for me. I always order lamb. Next time, I’d try this dish, based on the little bite of it I tried. It was really fresh and felt healthy in a way I don’t normally associate with a late-night curry.

Aagrah Sheffield monkfish
Monkfish, Indian-style

Other dishes on the table included Mumbai machli (another monkfish dish, another delight), chicken Mangalore and karahi lamb. Everything looked, smelled and tasted awesome, as we’ve come to expect at Aagrah. I’ve been several times and never been disappointed. Service is always efficient but friendly. We left with full bellies and a sense of satisfaction.

On Saturday, our visitors from the south-west arrived. The Other Half took them on a nice walk to Graves Park; I had to sit it out with a leg injury, which is a shame as it’s my favourite park in the city. They were gone for long enough for me to peruse my Jamie magazine, which had arrived on Saturday morning, and for them to build up a decent appetite.

Jamie Oliver Christmas magazine
Jamie mag- packed with Mr Oliver’s Christmas ideas

It was just as well they did, as we were going out for dinner. The pressure was on: with our three guests only here for one night, and not having seen them since March, it had to be a good meal out. We decided to go to Graze Inn, which was just smart enough to feel like a treat, but with a menu to cater for everyone’s tastes, including their 15-year-old daughter. Readers of my previous Graze Inn blog post will know that I really enjoyed it last time, which is the only other time I’d been.

Again, the place was busy, packed with a varied clientele like on my last visit- groups of girlfriends, parents and their grown-up children, younger families, birthday parties… they were all here. We were glad to have booked. We each had a starter and a main. These included, for starters, olives and tapenade; hot and cold chorizos; bocconcini with artichokes, capers and pesto (these first three were £10 altogether); and the potted ham hock in Jaipur jelly at £5.95. This was missing the “homemade pease pudding” which the menu promised, but it was tasty enough and the hock was still in meaty chunks.

Our mains included half a rotisserie chicken at £9.50 (with three sides); the beer-battered fish and chips; a Cobb salad; and a steak burger with mozzarella cheese. This last dish was brought out with ordinary fries and not the sweet potato ones which had been ordered. Chris, the same fab waiter we’d had last time, had the correct fries on the table within 90 seconds of this being pointed out, and insisted we keep the ones we’d first been brought out as well (rather than them being thrown away), for no charge.

My main was the pork chop, which was a massive piece of meat, served with sage mash, a black pudding croquette, half a cinnamon-glazed apple, crackling and cider gravy. It was lovely, I’d definitely order it again at some point. Though I think the shepherd’s pie is next on my list.

Pork chop black pudding croquette crackling
“A big pork chop” the menu said; they weren’t kidding.

We were too full for pudding and returned home to catch up with the X Factor and with each other some more, swapping stories about family members and our holidays this year.

After our guests left today, we headed out to forage items for a picnic at home. We went down to Kelham Island to one of our faves, The Grind Café. They were having a pop-up market, with some lovely looking veg, cheeses, olives, granola, breads and houmous among the goodies on offer. We selected a massive slab of olive and red onion focaccia and a pot of lemon and coriander houmous, as well as our old favourites at Grind- a sausage roll and a piece of chocolate tiffin.

As ever, the sausage roll delivered a deliciously meaty hit. They’ve got the meat:pastry ratio just right for my tastes. The houmous was delicious and was gone in about 55 seconds, or so it seemed. As well as lemon and coriander, they also had beetroot or roast pepper houmous; they all looked delightful. It was amazing that anything made it home before we dug into it.

homemade lemon and coriander houmous Sheffield
Homemade lemon and coriander houmous from The Grind Café

The focaccia, which we warmed through in the oven, was really great too and had a generous amount of olives and red onion on the top of it. We inhaled the tiffin too quickly for a picture, but take my word for it- you need to try it if you’re into chocolate and nuts. Though it’s definitely one to share with at least one other person.

Meaty sausage roll, lemon houmous, focaccia
Grind’s amazing sausage roll, focaccia and houmous

After this mid-afternoon picnic, and a few episodes of Masterchef Australia (we love it!), we headed to the cinema with some friends. We were still pretty full when we got in after the film, but managed to squeeze in the goodies we’d picked up from Forge Bakehouse on our way home from Kelham Island this afternoon- two perfect little frangipane tarts. With juicy pear and a good almondy hit, the pastry case was crisp and the service we received in the bakery was lovely too; we’ll be heading back for more.

frangipane pear almond tart forge bakehouse sheffield
Frangipane tart from Forge Bakehouse

So it’s with a contented sigh and a loosened belt that I bid adieu to another weekend. It was a great one, discovering some really talented local artists, showing Sheffield off to our visiting family and taking in a lot of the city’s culinary awesomeness… one of those weekends that reminded me how special Sheffield is and how lucky we are to live here.

3 thoughts on “Weekend eats – Aagrah, Graze Inn, The Grind Café and Forge Bakehouse

  1. Ah, I was drinking in Graze saturday night……
    Have you tried the almond croissant from Forge, I’ll be honest, they are the reason I had to start my crazy diet, but they are worth it.

    1. Sorry to have missed you! Though I assume you were in the bar, we just stayed restaurant-side.
      No, that was my first (I know!) Forge Bakehouse experience. I’ll defo be going back though so I daresay an almond croissant will make an appearance in my future!

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