Brocco on the Park, Sheffield

Brocco on the ParkIn the UK, we’ve been having a surprisingly beautiful spell of weather despite it still being February. Last year we were plagued by snow and frost when the ‘Beast from the East’ storm swept across England so my partner, Richard, and I have been making the most of the unseasonably beautiful weather!  We celebrated Richard’s birthday in true style by visiting Sheffield in South Yorkshire. We don’t live far from there and we were drawn by the bustling city centre alongside the many attractions such as the theatres and the beautiful botanical gardens which are wonderful to wheel around in when the sun is shining. We found an absolute gem of a restaurant less than ten minutes walk from the botanical gardens called Brocco on the Park (https://www.brocco.co.uk) which was amazing for access but also offered a diverse range of delicious food choices. Brocco allowed us to celebrate in beautifully decorated surroundings with menu choices that were not only beautifully presented, but had a balanced flavour palette filled with fresh goodness. I loved their ‘Smorgasbord’ menu which was a Scandinavian option similar to Tapas where multiple small plates are ordered and shared on the table. This was a really social dining experience and also allowed us both to sample multiple tasty options rather than digging in to solely one meal choice. Brocco was so accessible all the way through the restaurant area. I’ll expand on all of this further below of course but I just wanted to emphasise what a wonderful time both Richard and I had at     Brocco in Sheffield!

 Endcliffe Park is a beautiful area of Sheffield, with many amenities close by. Plus, Brocco is only a short walk from the city centre of Sheffield which has a lively theatre, music and arts scene. Brocco also boasts many beautiful hotel rooms if you wish to extend your stay beyond a meal (https://www.brocco.co.uk/rooms/). One of the most helpful things about the restaurant was the car park and parking arrangements as city centre parking can be expensive and hard to find! There are car parking spaces allocated for each of the hotel rooms and also a Blue Badge holder designated space available. More  parking can be found nearby at St Augustine’s Church or on the Brocco Bank road from 9.30am-4pm. Despite being a beautiful redbrick historic building, Brocco had really easy access for wheelchair users. The front of Brocco shows a short flight of steps and this is the main entrance to the building. However, there is a smooth ramp that leads from the righthand side of the building to a level-access disabled entrance. This is well signed on the large dark green board at the front of the building so wheelchair users can easily find their way towards this side entrance. Again, the doorway itself is very well signed as there is a clear notice stating to press the bell for attention and including a landline number to ring if there is no response.We had no problem with this at all; a member of staff arrived really promptly to open the door and welcome us into the restaurant. The entrance was fully smooth with no steps and only a very small lips which was really positive to see! The flooring throughout was smooth, solid wooden floor so any wheelchair could easily navigate the entire dining area. I used my powered wheelchair which is the WHILL Model C throughout my visit but a manual wheelchair user could easily self-propel on this surface without any problems! The staff member was really welcoming and took our coats before seating us at the table we had booked. I would always recommend booking if you have dietary or access requirements (plus Brocco is really popular so it’s great to know that you have a reserved space that’s available!). We were served by a really lovely waiter called Liam who truly went above and beyond in helping us. He explained the Smorgasbord menu and was always available for refills of iced water and for anything else we needed. Thank you to him for helping make Richard’s birthday celebrations even    better!

 The decor inside Brocco was light and airy. The design was simplistically Scandinavian but the fresh floral arrangements and large windows letting in natural light really set it off. Since Richard and I visited shortly after Valentine’s Day, there were still love-themed red paper heart decorations dotted across the ceiling but these weren’t too garish or kitsch in any way! I think the decor perfectly balanced clean simplicity with fresh modern touches such as tea light candle holders or large glass lanterns placed on the floor. I personally, really liked the complimentary, minimalist touches alongside the bursts of colour coming from the fresh floral arrangements and red heart decorations! The beautiful decor was very thoughtful in many ways as it would suit every diner and allow each party to make the place their own, whether they were celebrating an 18th birthday or an 80th birthday! We visited at a lunchtime but the restaurant was still filled with many customers in a wide range of age groups and group sizes. It was really nice to see a great restaurant be as popular as Brocco clearly is. There is even a lovely outdoor seating area with comfy sofa-style seats and tables if the weather    is bright enough. This would also be an ideal location as a smoking area if members of your group smoke.

 I was thrilled also that Brocco had clearly thought of disabled guests when designing their table arrangement; I could easily weave between every table and there was plenty of space for me to easily manoeuvre and pull into most seats. I used my WHILL Model C powered wheelchair during my visit and WHILL’s specially designed omniwheels are perfect for a location such as this since they allow me to make really tight turns if I need to. Plus, the responsive controls are handy when changing direction to go between tables. However, I was lucky that I didn’t need to make full use of the tight turning circle capability of my WHILL C as Brocco was so accessible to me. I liked the design also that allowed you to see prepared dishes arriving to the service hatch. The bar area shows some of the alcohol available alongside advertising special events on the chalk board such as jazz musicians who are at the restaurant on a Sunday and the Valentine’s Day themed afternoon tea. An afternoon tea is always available at Brocco but there are often themed   versions during special events.

 Brocco are really helpful in that they have all of their current menus online. Their drinks menu can be found at https://www.brocco.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/Brocco-summer-drinks-menu.pdf or through clicking on the ‘Kitchen’ tab on their website. There are also additional seasonal menu choices available that are created specifically for that particular month. Richard and I both chose the cocktail named ‘Romeo and Juliet’ which was very apt since we were visiting shortly after Valentine’s Day. The cocktail included Finlandia vodka, cranberry juice, apple juice and ginger beer. It was really delicious and the glass was really big so  you got a lot of cocktail for your money! Perfect for sipping while browsing the extensive menu or for celebrating a special event! 

 We decided to share a ‘Nibbles’ option while our Smorgasbord menu was being cooked. We chose the seeded crisp bread with homemade hummus and marinated olives. The presentation allowed the great food to speak for itself but I also loved the rustic slice of wood that it was served on! This was a really social sharing dish as we could break sections of the crisp bread off and eat it on our smaller plates. I think this and the Smorgasbord menu were all highly social choices as you got to share meals, try new foods and order things to place in the centre of the table. It would be the perfect   choice to break the ice on a first date or to bring a larger group for a celebration shared meal!

The Smorgasbord menu involved ordering lots of smaller dishes. The menu recommended ordering two dishes per person but you could decide to order more or less depending on how hungry you were. The dishes arrived as they were prepared so there was no guarantee that all of your dishes would arrive simultaneously, especially if you are in a large group, but I really enjoyed that aspect as it prolonged the dining experience and allowed our stomachs to rest after each delicious dish!  Richard and I ordered one Smorgasbord dish off of the specials menu so it may not be available when you dine at Brocco, depending on the month you visit in. I liked the specials menu as it added seasonal products and allowed the chefs to add ever-evolving meal choices to the already varied menu. Plus, it gives a whole new dimension to your Brocco dining every time you visit! Our specials choice was the seared scallops which came with roast cauliflower puree and was topped with smoked trout roe. The scallops were delightfully light and their mild flavour contrasted with the stronger taste of the cauliflower and smoked fish roe. You could really tell the high quality ingredients that had been used and how these intensified the flavour palette.  Alongside this, we also chose another fish dish. This was the crispy squid with lemon and garlic aioli. This was a really tasty dish as the crunchy calamari rings contrasted beautifully with the homemade creamy mayonnaise-like sauce. The portion size was plentiful to share alongside the other    small plates.

 We both decided to go for the same dish as our second small plates; the 3oz beef fillet with roasted onion purée, potato terrine, crispy shallots and pink peppercorn sauce. This was absolutely beautiful! The steak was really tender and had a deep meaty flavour. The chefs at Brocco had made some apt decisions as the crunchy shallots really paired well with the rest of the dish. This was my favourite Smorgasbord plate and I would definitely order it again! Richard and I paired this with a side dish of triple cooked chips which were chunky potato chips that had been cooked in three separate ways. The result were moreish chips that were fluffy in the    centre but had a really crispy crunch to the exterior. The perfect pairing with the beef!

 Since we visited at lunch, Richard and I decided that we were too full to have a dessert but there were plenty of different varieties on offer there; something to please everyone. A Disabled Travel with Georgina review is certainly not complete without photos of the accessible bathroom! It’s always great to add the photos in so you can all analyse whether the bathroom would suit your particular access requirements. Personally, I thought the disabled bathroom at Brocco was perfect for many wheelchair users. There were plenty of handrails to aid transfers, the toilet was at a good height and the sanitary bin was within easy reach of the toilet. There was a red pull cord and, although this initially seemed like it didn’t fully reach the floor, when you lowered the side handrail to the toilet this did. This would be really handy for a disabled visitor to feel safe when visiting the toilets. Plus, I loved the smell of their hand wash and moisturising cream. The space within the toilet was easily large enough for me to fully turn my wheelchair around in. As I mentioned previously, I use a WHILL Model C which has specially designed omniwheels to allow really tight turning circles and great manoeuvrability. However, I think most wheelchairs would easily turn in this space unless you are using a bulkier mobility scooter rather than a chair    with a more compact frame like the WHILL C I used.

 Overall, Richard and I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Brocco. I loved the minimalistic Scandinavian decor but also the opulence of the fresh floral decorations that added wonderful pops of colour. The Smorgasbord menu had plenty of options that would suit every visitor, I also found this type of menu very social as you could share food with other members of your dining party. The food itself was nutritional and fresh but also had the sumptuous flavours you find in many forms of comfort food. The menu had many modern twists on classics that we all love and I enjoyed the fact that there was a monthly rotational specials menu to consistently give diners a fresh Brocco experience. You can see their current non-specials menus online at (https://www.brocco.co.uk/kitchen/). The flavour palettes were well-balanced and the food looked beautiful on the plate; the food was certainly the star of the show at Brocco! The access was also a real highlight of our dining experience at Brocco! There was a disabled bay in their adjoining car park and the historic Brocco building was easily accessible to me via a side door that was clearly signed. The floor throughout was level-access and smooth. The table layout meant there was plenty of space for me to manoeuvre between tables and access all areas of the restaurant. Also, the accessible toilet met all of my needs and had every amenity necessary to make a disabled customers’ life easy. Plus, the staff were really friendly and welcoming throughout our visit so this definitely made our experience even better. If you’re in Sheffield or the surrounding areas then please do give Brocco (https://www.brocco.co.uk) a visit; our whole experience was exceptional and we will certainly be visiting again!