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Sheffield’s Finest: Rafters Restaurant
The two AA Rosette, Michelin & Good Food Guide listed Rafters restaurant is a feast for the eyes and the palette. Owners Tom and Alistair’s vision for Rafters has always been to provide the ultimate dining package: Food. Service. Drink.
We caught up with Alistair Myers, Owner and Restaurant Manager – to hear all about the high-end establishment. You can find Rafters in the leafy Nether Green area of Sheffield and sit (as the name suggests) snuggled up next to exposed beams and a stylish interior. It’s Sheffield-takes-on-fine-dining, so you can expect it to be relaxed and quirky but with a focus on quality. Enjoy one of their three dining ‘experiences’, and rumour has it you might get a goodie bag to take home as well.
Tell us a bit about your background and how you got into the restaurant industry?
Aged 16 at school I had no idea what to do, so I ended up getting an apprenticeship at the nearest place I could find, a hotel. I actually enjoyed the work a lot, I had a passion for service, so decided to go for a career in food and hospitality. I met Tom (Rafters Chef Patron) in Baslow 8 or 9 years ago, and since 2013 we have been running Rafters together.
What is the concept behind Rafters Restaurant?
We want to offer people the whole package, so we don’t just focus on providing good food but make sure we offer customers quality drinks and excellent service as well. We really believe in making the customer feel at home, so we’ve put attention into the atmosphere. Rafters have an ethos of working together, ensuring the restaurant is managed well, we like to slow down, take time to speak to the kitchen and have our focus on the customer. There is constant training of staff, a constant development. This is not just a career or accident, we strive for professionalism and experience.
Talk us through the menus you offer?
Well, we have three different ‘experiences.’ A while ago we redeveloped our tasting menus, moving away from the traditional approach to something more unique. For our first experience, we went for quite a regional menu. It’s a kind of modern take on tapas, three courses where you get to choose one dish from each section. Experience two is our tasting menu. This includes eight to ten dishes and is something of a culinary journey. Lastly, experience three is our classic dinner menu. This entails quicker service and a choice of either two or three more relaxed courses. Regarding where the food is sourced, we look for quality first, and for regionality if it’s possible. All our menus are completely seasonal, so no dish will be found on any menu for too long. This means we have regular customers who have completely different meals on each visit!
What about your accolades?
Oh well; there’s the 2AA Rosettes, the Michelin Guide listing, 4/5 rating and recommendation within the Good Food Guide, a Hardens Guide listing, a Food Porn Award, we have a Trip Advisor ‘Certificate of Excellence’, Tom won the Craft Guild of Chefs ‘Young Chef of the Year Award’ in 2014, and we won Sheffield + Region Business People of the Year.
What about your plans for 2019?
We’ve not got big fancy plans for 2019. It’s mostly going to be a year focused on being sustainable and training our staff to the very best they can be. Not to forget that we’ll have to ride out Brexit! We’re putting an emphasis on how good we can be rather than comparing Rafters to other restaurants around. We are also really focused on the business aspect, which is why we want to make sure our staff are so well trained.
Do you ever collaborate with other Sheffield businesses?
We only collaborate ever with other Sheffield food and drink businesses for the produce we choose to use, which of course need to be top quality.
What’s your favourite meal on the menu?
It’s got to be the Mayan Gold Potato Gnocchi, it’s one of my favourite meals ever. Would definitely recommend.
He didn’t bring it up, but Alistair holds a certified Sommelier certificate, meaning that you will be well watered as well as fed. Time to experience all that Rafters Restaurant has to offer!
Rafters Restaurant Opening Times & Address
Tuesday: from 6.30pm
Wednesday: from 6.30pm
Thursday: from 6.30pm
Friday: from 5.30pm
Saturday: from 5.30pm
Rafters Sheffield – 220 Oakbrook Road, Sheffield, S11 7ED – 01142 304819
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