Marmadukes Café and Deli is tucked away opposite Sheffield’s Catholic Cathedral on Norfolk Row, a lovely, quiet street that makes sitting out in the sun almost compulsory. However, to do so would miss out on an even lovelier interior. Occupying all three floors of a rambling, old house, Marmadukes is a cosy, friendly spot that has something for everyone, each of its five distinct spaces offering something unique. Beware of the maze-like interior though; I went the wrong way at least three times!
The coffee’s pretty good too, with head-barista Alex determined to keep Marmadukes up there with the best in Sheffield and beyond. The mainstay is London’s Workshop, the Cult of Done seasonal espresso front-and-centre on Marmadukes’ new La Marzocco Linear PB. Recent investment in an EK-43 grinder has allowed Marmadukes’ guest roaster, which changes every month, to now be offered on both espresso and filter. During August, it’s Finchley’s Campbell & Syme. Before that it was local roaster, Worksop’s Sundlaug Coffee Co..
However, it’s not just the coffee. Marmadukes has always had excellent food, as good as anywhere in Sheffield, with dedicated breakfast, all-day brunch and lunch menus, plus a stupendous range of cakes, including the house-speciality, cheesecake.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Marmadukes occupies a lovely, old two-storey brick-built building with small extensions to the side and back. A generous array of tables encroach on the pavement, wooden planters clearly defining their boundaries, while the north-east facing façade provides plenty of shade.
Marmadukes’ has three entrances. The main one, in the single-storey extension to the left, leads you to the counter, behind which is coffee machine, grinders and, behind them, kitchen. You can select your coffee here, but, in a slightly awkward arrangement, you then have to move around to the right to order and pay. There are three small, square tables opposite the till, and a two-person window-bar at the front. Surprisingly popular, given how busy Marmadukes gets, there’s a constant stream of staff and customers going by. However, it’s all changing soon, with the main entrance switching to the building’s front door, allowing Marmadukes to rearrange the whole counter area.
The third entrance is around to the right, down a wide passage joining Upper Chapel square with Norfolk Row. This leads to the second of the spaces, a large, long room with tables along the wall opposite the door. There are also tables to right and left as you enter, plus a lovely old fireplace. To get to the counter, turn right, go through the adjoining room with a large, square communal table, then go left and double back on yourself. This takes you under the stairs and around to the till-side of the counter.
The stairs, and what was originally the hall, separate these two spaces. You get here through a doorway to the right of the counter. Heading up, you arrive at a small landing, where, to the right, there’s a lovely rectangular room with a round window at the far end. Lined on either side with wooden benches, power outlets and two-person tables, Alex refers to it as the coffee-drinkers room. Carrying on, at the top of spiral staircase, there’s another room facing the front, with a small food preparation area to the left. Dominated by a long, communal table, there’s another row of tables along the right-hand wall. A solitary two-person table occupies the far left-hand corner at the front.
Inside it’s really bright, most rooms having windows front and back, with plenty of interesting lights for when it’s dull outside. The décor’s lovely too, predominantly bare brick & floorboards, plain, whitewashed walls, and wood everywhere.
At Alex’s recommendation, I had Campbell & Syme’s single-estate, naturally-processed Catuai from Nicaraguan through the Kalita Wave. Alex spent a couple of minutes raving about it, the build-up giving a high potential for disappointment. However, I needn’t have worried: it was excellent, a really fruity, complex brew that sort of exploded in my mouth, but without any sharpness or acidity. It also more than held its own as it cooled, retaining its fruity punch.
I followed that with the guest espresso, a Tanzanian, also from Campbell & Syme. This was a well-rounded, fruity and very sweet cup, especially on the first mouthful. Both filter and espresso were also beautifully presented, an aspect of coffee that’s all-too-often overlooked. I was joined in these coffees by no less an authority than Upshot Espresso’s Sam Binsfield, who enjoyed them as much as I did.
Given Marmadukes’ reputation, I had to try the Eggs Florentine from the all-day brunch menu, which I had for my lunch with crunchy, sourdough toast on the side. This was a real treat, with well-poached eggs and a rich, creamy hollandaise sauce. On my previous visit, I’d sampled the cheesecake, a wonderfully rich and creamy affair. Highly recommended.
|22 NORFOLK ROW • SHEFFIELD • S1 2PA|
|www.marmadukescafedeli.co.uk||+44 (0) 114 276 7462|
|Monday||09:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Workshop + Guests (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Tables outside|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||09:00 – 17:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||09:00 – 17:00||Cards||Visa, Mastercard|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Yes|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||7th February, 8th August 2015|
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