On Thursday night, I was very kindly invited to the newly refurbished Napoleon’s Owlerton Restaurant and Casino for a night where myself and 3 great food bloggers from Sheffield along with our guests were treat to a night of great food and an introduction to the world of casinos. Napoleon’s is a bit of a Sheffield institution, pretty much everyone I know has been there at least once from my parents through to friends so with a £2 million pound refurbishment having recently been completed it would be interesting to see how the casino and restaurant is developing for the changing face of gambling and food.
As soon as I walked in I was instantly impressed with how lovely and inviting everything looked, I’d never been to Napoleon’s before and I’ve always been slightly weary of casinos but I instantly felt at ease with the great atmosphere. We were welcomed, given a drink and shown around seeing the extended gaming floor, the bigger restaurant and bar and, the most impressive part for me, the outdoor smoking and gambling area which is something so completely different and amazing.
With 4 starters to choose from their was plenty on offer, on the plate was a prawn cocktail presented in a cute little jar, a black pudding won-ton with plum sauce, a goats cheese and fig tart and parsnip cappuccino. Obviously being veggie, I couldn’t eat two of the starters but the consensus from everyone around me was that they were very good especially the black pudding won ton with locally sourced black pudding. I swapped my won-ton for an extra goats cheese tart which was a great move on my part because it was the most delicious goats cheese tart ever with the fig working so perfectly with the flavour of the cheese, it is a combination I will be trying again for sure.
Now the cappuccino, let me just say that this was so good that it has basically ruined soup for me forever because it will never be as good as this. I’m not a parsnip fan in honesty but this converted me with such a rich flavour to the thick soup, it was so beautiful and every person on the table has asked for the recipe.We were taken through for our food where we were presented with an extensive menu but were also given the option by head chef Lee Swords to change up what was on offer if any of the mains didn’t suit our fancy that night. Starting off with bread baskets for the table which is always a winner in my eyes, we eagerly awaited the starter which was to consist of 4 mini tasters of what is currently on offer on their October menu.
After a great starter it was onto the mains and with a great veggie option, I was looking forward to my plate arriving and I was not disappointed. I had a pesto linguine with Mediterranean vegetables which was absolutely beautiful with fresh ingredients and great flavour combinations! The greatest meal I ever had was pesto linguine in Rome on my 21st birthday but I genuinely think this version has overtaken that, I didn’t finish my plate unfortunately [trying to save room to sample dessert mainly] but it was slightly heart-wrenching to send some back. The garlic bread that came with it was smothered in cheese and a perfect accompaniment. I also tried the potato gratin and fresh veg that was presented at the table and with perfectly cooked broccoli and a great cheese to potato ratio, it was a winner. Other mains on the night included steak sirloin, fillet steak, lamb shank, swordfish steak and pork loin [maybe needs more] and from the steak eaters that surrounded me it seemed that was a popular and much loved choice with the praise that was directed from all directions.
After a short break, it was onto dessert which I was super excited about, not just because I am pretty much renowned for my sweet tooth but also because somehow the chef had gone in my head, picked out 3 of my favourite desserts and stuck them on the menu for me that night, epic! A gorgeous chocolate brownie filled with nuts and covered in chocolate shavings was a great start, then came the plum and spiced apple crumble which was just the perfect level of sweet fruit meets spiced apple plus the crumble topping was a) perfectly made and b) the correct amount [I’m very nit-picky with crumble]. The highlight for me [and basically everyone else it seemed] was the warm ginger pudding which was so packed with a ginger punch, it was sensational. I absolutely adore ginger and though a lot of people prefer a hint, I prefer a smack in the face from ginger so this was just heavenly for me.
After all that amazing food, we were quite literally full and stuffed with great cuisine. Though the night was not over, we had a tour of the gaming floor before a gaming tutorial on how to play roulette which was fun and made me feel slightly less nervous about gambling, at least if I ever walk in a casino again I now know how to play roulette. With the £5 bet we were given I decided to play expecting to lose terribly but yet I somehow managed to walk away with £55 after a big first win on ’24’ before carrying on a small winning streak. I quit while I was ahead, knowing my clear beginner’s luck would fail eventually but it was a lot of fun and an added bonus walking away with some cash.
I really did have such a great night at Napoleon’s checking out the refurbishment, enjoying great food and learning how to play roulette. A massive thanks to Rachel, George, Lisa and the rest of the staff for hosting such a wonderful evening and keeping us all entertained and well looked after all night. Also, thanks for Lee for providing us with brilliant food, he’s not only a wonderful chef but also very accommodating to changes in menu something not many chefs or restaurants I have eaten at before have been.
Credits: header image from My Local Casino