In conversation with South Street Kitchen
South Street Kitchen opened in April at Park Hill and it offers a Middle-Eastern inspired menu packed with vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Owned and run by husband and wife team, Tim Jenkins and Rachel Cornish, this is the first cafe to open at Park Hill. This makes it pretty special in itself along with the location which offers a fine spot to enjoy a panorama of Sheffield.
I chatted to Rachel to find out more about South Street Kitchen and what you can look forward to from the menu.
We built up everything from an empty shell, from the design, getting the kitchen in and of the decor and furnishings. It is a beautiful space and we didn’t want to take away from the concrete and the light, or make it a place which felt too precious.
We’ve gone for a Scandi style with colour, so it’s inviting and people feel comfortable. The best thing a few people have said is that it feels like we have eaten in your house, that feels good, as that’s exactly what I wanted.
Why now? I always had a feeling that one day I want to open a cafe. When the kids were little we used to live near the Botanical gardens before they did up the glass houses, and I thought then that would be a fantastic place for a cafe. I knew I wanted an interesting location.
One day my son said, ‘Mum, you have all of these ideas and you never carry them out.” I thought I have to do something, it planted a seed. I trained as a lawyer and run a family charity, I am an ideas person though and this is a good challenge.
I have been vegetarian since I was 18 and my husband Tim studied environmental science and became a vegetarian from an environmental point a view. We wanted to serve tasty food and food we love eating which is why South Street Kitchen is vegetarian with a Middle-eastern influenced menu.
The cuisine offers so many interesting recipes with a gloriously wide selection of vegetarian food.
We wanted to share our enjoyment for good food with other people and here you can enjoy a regularly changing menu of homemade falafels, mixed salads, tagines and soups.
On Friday evenings we open later and so there’s a different ambiance and the menu is all about small sharing plates, meze-style. Also, we are looking to do special evenings to mix things up, including hosting a burger night and working with guest chefs.
We are really happy with how it is going so far, the staff have been great, we have amazing baristas and one of them, Dom, is actually competing in the Barista championships in London.
The head chef has been creative, working on tweaking dishes and trying new combinations, which is exciting. Our sous chefs are really on it and are passionate about learning, which is fantastic.
We are going to review how things go over the next few months, see what works for people, adapt as we need and let it organically grow.
If I was to choose something from our menu I’d go for the changing salads and depending on the weather then it would be soup. We had a really interesting mushroom, barley and lime one on yesterday. The falafels are great and we try to have dishes on the menu which are £5 or under, so far we have eggs on toast, soup and falafels served in a wrap.
In Sheffield, I think the Bhaji Shop, Thali cafe at Kelham Island has a great atmosphere, VeroGusto on Norfolk Row is good for traditional home-cooked Italian and I like the vibe at Hathersage Social Club.
South Street Kitchen
19-20 South Street
Tuesday – Thursday 8-5, Friday 8-10 and Saturday 9-4