Sheffield Moor Markets (c) Sheffield Telegraph

Sheffield Moor Markets. Photo (c) Sheffield Telegraph

Food and drink writer for the Sheffield Star and Telegraph, Ellen Beardmore, gives us her take on how Sheffield’s food scene is changing.

Step into the dining area at Sheffield’s Moor Market and anyone can see a slice of how the city’s food scene has evolved in the last few years. Lunch there now can mean a Nepalese curry for mains, followed by a hot sweet crepe cooked in front of you.

Hungry Buddha (c) Sheffield Telegraph

Hungry Buddha Dev prepares lunches at his Moor Market cafe. Photo (c) Sheffield Telegraph

Of course, Castle Market always had a variety of independent, and much loved, traders selling produce from all over the world. However, would you really have found such a wide range of families, city centre workers and students heading down there every lunch-time? Last Monday there were no seats to be had in the market dining hall when I visited at 12pm.

And two weeks before that, more than 2,000 people headed down there on a Friday night for its first ever Love Cheese festival. Gin was sold, the market was packed after 5pm, and there was a fantastic buzz in the air, even without two glasses of prosecco.

There’s a long way to go until we have the likes of Borough Market in London – or soon-to-be Chesterfield, for that matter, where the North’s first ‘food barn’ has been given the go ahead (The Batch House will feature a mix of bars, restaurants, start-ups, street food traders and a demo kitchen).

Mercado Central, Valencia

Mercado Central, Valencia

It would be fantastic to see even more developments, and the sky should be the limit when it comes to what will be next. Perhaps there could be an oyster bar, with one of the fantastic fresh fish traders? Or even a tiny micropub making the most of all the local produce, and beer, just feet away? How great it would be to see an authentic Spanish restaurant like the one in Valencia’s Mercado Central, serving up fresh tapas, sandwiches and drinks at a bargain price, or a superfood juice bar.

But I digress… The market’s food offer is certainly heading in the right direction, and so is Sheffield’s generally.

Love Cheese (c) Sheffield Telegraph

Simon Davidson, of R.P Davidson Cheese Factor at the first Love Cheese event at the Moor Market. Photo (c) Sheffield Telegraph

And I’m not sure what the underlying reason for that is – perhaps the proliferation of students coming to Sheffield, growing appetites for provenance and quality, or just more traders striding out on their own to create lively, proudly independent food destinations.

They really are destinations too. People travel miles out of their way for breakfast at Tamper or a pastry at Forge Bakehouse. I’ve been known to cross town for a glimpse at 4 Eyes Patisserie cruffins. Last week it was announced that a vegan cat cafe is set to open on Abbeydale Road. Whether you agree with the concept or not, that really is catering to every niche.

Another encouraging sign is, that as food writer for the Sheffield Telegraph it has become harder and harder to keep up with the new restaurant arrivals. When I first started writing reviews, it was sometimes a struggle to find somewhere that hadn’t been covered in the last two years. Now it is a case of it being too tough to decide where to go first!

Pick up the Sheffield Star every Wednesday and the Sheffield Telegraph every Thursday for food and drink news, reviews, recipes and more.

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