SHWI member and blogger, Ros Arksey has written about the recent SHWI Eats trip to The Bhaji Shop for her food blog, Nibbly Pig. SHWI Eats is one of our spin-offs that organises trips to local eateries around Sheffield. She’s kindly allowed us to post it below….
The Bhaji Shop, thali cafe, was our chosen venue for the March outing of the SHWI Eats group. This was my first visit to the cafe and first outing with the group, as I’m a ‘newbie’ Seven Hills WI member. Yes, it was inevitable that I was going to be drawn to the group which involved food…
Positioned on Chesterfield road, the Bhaji Shop is relatively new, having opened last year. It is run by brother and sister Matthew and Melissa, who between them and the wider Holdsworth family have plenty of culinary experience. (Many of you may be familiar with the famed bhajis from their dad’s business ‘Masterchef’ based in Attercliffe).
As the name suggests, the food at ‘Bhaji’ focuses on spice, offering Indian-influenced wraps, curries, bhajis and samosas – to mention a selection. As we were taking over en masse (about 30 of us) we were lucky to have the opportunity to try a bit of everything from the menu with a buffet.
We arrived at 6.30 and were greeted by the colourful turquoise exterior and swathes of twinkling fairylights. The style made me think of the film Amélie with it’s warm kooky design and quirkiness. We even had our own special welcome written up on the blackboard.
Once everyone arrived and was seated, there was a real buzz and cosy atmosphere. Every table had a dish of poppodoms, chutney and raita, so we got stuck into those whilst watching the activity in the kitchen. It wasn’t long before Matthew let us know that the food was ready and served, then the queue formed quicker than you could say ‘bhaji’.
Everything was served together, so you could do starters first and come back up for your main course of curries. Alternatively, depending on your strategy, you could use your time efficiently and pile your plate high with a bit of everything!
There was a real mix of tempting homemade delights to choose from and the aromatic smells were tormenting to those of us near the back of the queue!! There were big bowls of golden crisp bhajis, sweet potato fritters and samosas, plus coriander and plain flatbreads, coleslaw and green salad. Then there were large dishes of more ‘mains-style’ meals with prawn Keralan curry, chickpea and sweet potato tagine, chargrilled harissa lamb steak, earthy daal, chunks of crisp paneer and tender marinated chicken skewers and rice. There was a selection of condiments too, I enjoyed the sweet and sour pineapple chutney.
There was plenty of food so there was no danger of anyone leaving hungry. We were well looked after by staff, with water constantly topped up as well as a seamless flow of dishes being brought through from the kitchen. I managed a few trips up to the buffet table so I could try as many of the different dishes as possible, (but I only had a small plate!). I think I managed a bit of everything, I enjoyed it all but my favourites were the king prawn Keralan and the spicy chickpea tagine (which reminded me of chana masala).
It was an enjoyable evening with lovely food, as well as an ideal chance to get to know other foodie-minded WI members too. I definitely plan on returning to the Bhaji Shop – but next time it will be a more sensible portion, as I was still full the next morning!
Having checked out their Facebook page, the menu changes regularly (with daily specials) and you can grab a lunchtime wrap or salad, go for something more substantial with a thali selection with curry or just indulge in a cup of tea and dessert.
The Bhaji Shop
53 Chesterfield Road,
Sheffield S8 0RL