The Furnace, Sheffield – Restaurant Review
By Richard Jones
Some foods were made to go together – macaroni and cheese, eggs and bacon, burgers and fries. However, there are other sweet and savoury combos that traditionally don’t belong on the same plate but have somehow become popular. Cola and fried chicken, banana sandwiches and, of course, the scourge of Italy, pineapple on pizza.
So, what about Yorkshire puddings? Traditionally they are served with a Sunday roast, or even as a starter with rich onion gravy before the meat arrives. But can Yorkies be mixed with something sweet? They are puddings after all.
The Furnace bar and restaurant opened in Sheffield city centre in June and was immediately acclaimed for its Yorkshire-inspired menu, including “the UK’s biggest brunch choice”.
However, one of its dishes garnered more headlines than the rest put together. When people think of Yorkshire fayre, their minds will naturally conjure up a Yorkshire pudding, so it’s no surprise these staples are on the menu at The Furnace.
However, diners maybe surprised to see Yorkies on the dessert section – a move that caused fierce debate on social media, as well as in the kitchen.
When asked about the dish, which combines a crispy pudding with ice cream and dried fruit, operations chef Guy Greaves said: “I have fond memories of visiting Grandma Greaves on a Sunday and hoping there was Yorkshire pudding for pudding. I wanted to share this memory with guests – and offer them the same warm welcome I used to get at my Grandma’s.”
And it’s not only this Yorkshire pudding dish that springs surprises at The Furnace, which is run by New World Trading Company, who also own The Botanist and The Florist brands.
The menu designed by Greaves and his team pairs famed local products and dishes with cooking techniques inspired by the functions of a furnace – cooling, torching, flame-grilling and blowtorching.
While these methods are an appreciative nod to the Steel City’s industrial past, the food that emerges pays homage to God’s own country.
Greaves adds: “Yorkshire has so many fantastic unique recipes and traditions passed down from multiple generations. The team and I have dug into our own experiences growing up – combined with our modern styles to provide a menu that evokes nostalgia but stands up to the test of time.”
My wife Rachel and I headed down to the pub and bar on Charter Row on a Monday evening in August (the day after Yorkshire day, by coincidence).
We were immediately taken aback by the look of the place which features a stylish terrace with a stunning six-seater firepit overlooking the HSBC and CMS’s new the Heart of the City office development.
We took a seat on the top floor, next to the floor-to-ceiling windows looking out towards the Moor, and after a read through the cocktail menu, I ordered a Mardy Rum Punch.
A warming and sweet tipple, it is made up of maple cordial, Eager pineapple juice, Gosling’s Black Seal rum and Tonka banane batch, and anyone who knows their Sheffield music will recognise that it is a nod to local indie band Arctic Monkeys.
“Cooked to perfection”
Rachel, meanwhile, fancied something cooling and went for a Little Frenchie – Haku Japanese vodka combined with prickly pear liqueur, watermelon syrup, raspberry purée and pineapple juice.
Both drinks hit the spot as we contemplated which of The Furnace’s wide range of Yorkshire classics with modern twists to sample.
Among their starters is the Yorkshire Tea-smoked mackerel, which has proved to be popular with brew-loving Yorkshire folk.
However, Rachel opted for another seafood dish – the Yorkshire Fishcake – two pieces of potato sandwiching a fillet of cod served with a fried egg and warm tartare sauce. A homage to everyone’s favourite Friday chippy tea.
I went for the Chicken Wings, which like a fair few of The Furnace’s dishes, were charred and cooked to perfection over coals, before being served with tangy fermented chilli sauce.
Then for the main, although I was tempted by the Sheffield-themed steak, potato and Henderson’s Relish pie, I opted for another of the dishes from the grill – the succulent chicken and chorizo kebab, marinated in chermoula purée, and served with a tomato, garlic and nut-based romesco sauce and flatbread.
Meanwhile, Rachel chose the pot roast lamb shoulder, accompanied by white onion purée, rainbow chard, peas and mint and almond pesto.
And while she rounded off the meal with the Liquorice Allsorts milk jelly with rhubarb compote, there was only one dessert on my radar.
Yes, it was time for the Yorkshire pudding.
I was intrigued to see how it worked filled with vanilla ice cream and dried raspberries and drizzled with salted caramel sauce, rather than being drenched in onion gravy alongside meat and two veg.
The verdict – the dish had a taste similar to that of ice-cream filled choux pastry or profiteroles, and although I may not be introducing it to my limited repertoire at home, as a one-off pudding, it was actually delicious.
With The Furnace, Greaves and the owners have captured the spirit of hardworking industrial South Yorkshire folk, as well as recognising their modern innovation and playful nature.
This newest addition to Sheffield’s flourishing food and drink scene works quite perfectly – the proof is in the pudding.
The Furnace Bar & Restaurant, Unit 7 & 8, Block D, Heart of the City, Sheffield, S1 4HS
Mon-Wed 12 – 23:30
Thu 12 – 00:30
Fri-Sat 10 – 01:15
Sun 10 – 23:30
0114 479 7980