THE food at Aston Hotel must be the mother of all secrets.
At 1.30pm on Sunday we were ringing local pubs and restaurants to try and book a table to celebrate Mother’s Day.
More in hope than expectation I tried Aston Hotel, on Sheffield’s Parkway, and was surprised to learn they had space, lots of it.
The hotel might seem a little out of the way, but in reality is in the perfect area to catch diners from Sheffield and the surrounding towns, just a minute’s drive from Junction 33.
The interior of the Brasserie, and Bar 59 is classy, well lit and modern.
A chef on display proved to be a surprise highlight for our toddler, who was furnished with crayons and a puzzle page by extremely welcoming staff.
A special Mother’s Day set menu included a starter, main course and dessert, along with a plate full of chocolates – all for the incredible price of £9.95 per person.
For the little one, his set menu came to just £5.95.
He had the leek and potato soup, then fish and chips and ice cream to finish.
All three were met with approval from our two-year-old, who couldn’t finish his starter or main because the portions were so generous.
He somehow managed to eat every drop of his ice cream however.
Fitting for the occasion, my wife and I were in total agreement.
Thai fishcakes to start, and carved roast beef for the main course.
Only when it came to dessert did we fail to see eye to eye.
She had the warm chocolate fudge cake with vanilla ice cream and I plumped for the Eton mess.
The fishcakes were homemade, just spicy enough, and of a decent size.
They were also served promptly and piping hot.
The service, throughout, was fantastic.
Our waiter, the manageress and a waitress seemed to be ever present, without intruding on our experience.
The main courses were also brought with sufficient haste, the beef was tender, the vegetables al dente and the gravy delicious.
With the sun beating through the restaurant’s glass frontage, my Eton mess was light enough to bring about a perfect ending to a big meal.
The fudge cake was very, very good.
And a plate of chocolates almost felt like overkill. Almost.
A meeting with the chef provided the icing on the cake for the youngster, and allowed us to express our thanks for some great food.
Given the amazing value and superb service, why, on Mother’s Day, were there so many empty tables?
Nothing in our experience provided an answer to that question.
by Graham Smyth