Interview

‘One of the most exciting restaurants in Yorkshire, if not the UK’ – Jöro, Sheffield

HOUSED in a couple of retired shipping containers on Sheffield’s former-industrial Kelham Island, Jöro makes beautiful and functional use of its space, and lack of, respectively.

New-Nordic and Japanese flavours, techniques and attitudes influence a kitchen whose resourcefulness and imagination expose the potential of local British produce, focusing on unlocking sensations hidden in humble ingredients.

High-end references are presented in an accessible way, deceptively ‘simple’ dishes enriched with technical prowess and a complex understanding of flavours – sometimes both at once.

Avoiding typical high-end ‘premium’ ingredients means that this is all offered at incredibly good value

Aura Potato may be whipped into a small bowl of nourishing soup, like the best possible expression of Smash imaginable. Concealing a bright green slick of chive oil beneath, beads of translucent burnt butter float on the surface of a vitalising celeriac broth, transforming it into something resembling hot-buttered cider.

Sourdough’s tang, meanwhile, is fortified by a miso-tinged cultured butter; while the old-school eye-roller of beetroot and goat’s cheese is dragged into modernity – presented alongside yuzu as blobs of pure emulsified flavour, on a shard of linseed, suspended in time and space as a translucent cracker. These are just the snacks to get you in the mood for the main menu.

Classics and staples are revamped with modern flavours, too, conscious of provenance and responsible sourcing: Scottish mackerel, cured with English wasabi and yuzu hits all the familiar cues of smoked salmon with horseradish while being just different enough to spark intrigue.

Likewise, Norweigan cod with a green salsa version of tartare sauce lends delicate freshness to hefty seaside flavours. It’s not all cover versions and nostalgic references, though; hot smoked eel in a seaweed broth with dainty cubes of barely-holding-it-together silken tofu is unlike anything else.

There are rare glances towards nose-to-tail cooking – grilled duck heart is served with the breast, as well as a slick of hoisin and wilted wild garlic – but there’s a good balance between catering to the squeamish and using less-prime parts of the animal. Impossibly tender pork belly is served with katsu ketchup, gutsy lamb shoulder is finessed into an elegant broth, and duck receives the preservation treatment (as a lot of produce does, allowing it to be served out of season), served as air-dried ham with white asparagus and a spruce foam.

It’s fruit and vegetables that benefit most from the Jöro treatment, though, seen in the likes of roscoff onions – fudgy and slow-roasted in onion dashi, bracing from a quick pickle, crisp layers unfurled after being brined and fried – and barbecued broccoli with fermented garlic and aged parmesan, a masterclass in layering flavours of umami which your tongue might never fully recover from.

Avoiding typical high-end ‘premium’ ingredients means that this is all offered at incredibly good value; dishes are available a la carte but, for £50 and £65 respectively, you can get nine and twelve-course tasting menus, served with flawless timing and presented by the chefs that make them.

This truly modern fine dining restaurant is not just making a play for ‘most exciting restaurant in Yorkshire’, it could make a case for the UK title too.

Read more about Jöro here.

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