Naturally after a week of pretty warm weather, Britain (and Sheffield) has most definitely returned to the norm. Overcast skies and rain were forecast, meaning that I absolutely had to make the most of the sunny Sunday morning.
Just a short walk from Sheffield Station, I made my way up the hill to Howard Street. You can’t miss it after you follow the fountain from the train station taking the path into the “Heart of the City”. Adjacent to one of the many university campus buildings stood this rather endearing cafe named HowSt — abbreviated from Howard Street, how quaint.
It may be 9.50am but it’s already a bustling and busy spot within 20 minutes of opening. As soon as I walk through the door I’m greeted by one of the HowSt front-of-house team who takes all of 10 seconds to grab some menus and guide me to a table… brisk!
After a few minutes of perusing the menu and taking in the location, so much green, plants dotted around everywhere. Some of which may not be quite real but there’s one thing for certain: the energy is not artificial, neither is the enthusiasm of the waitress who approaches to take our order within one whole minute — I kid you not.
It could (perhaps mistakenly) be perceived by some as rushing you, but after a brief moment I realised that the scale of the incoming onslaught meant that a brisk nature was necessary to handle the turnover of tables in short order. I did say it was busy.
We opted for two dishes to kickstart the day. First we chose a dish called ‘Smashed’, a vegetarian affair featuring a thickly cut slice of toast topped with two poached eggs lathered in a hollandaise sauce, served alongside a freshly smashed avocado with a chilli, pumpkin and black sesame seed mix sprinkled on top.
‘Smashed’ was more than befitting of its name, chunky, creamy and ever so dreamy avocado, which was given a delightful kick courtesy of the chilli and seed mixture. The poached eggs were amazingly done too.
This was accompanied by another speedily created number, aptly named ‘Sroom’. Yet more poached eggs, except this time featuring a roasted portobello mushroom and grilled slices of halloumi topped with a virgin mary sauce on toast.
The sauce was rich, thick and perfectly complemented the oozing yolk, thick grilled halloumi slices and the Portobello mushroom textures. Reyt nice!
Naturally, a couple of coffees were required and the flat white delivered an agreeable caffeine boost with a good temperature. Sadly the accompanying latte felt a tad too cool and were it not such a busy morning I would have sent it back and requested another. Nitpicking, I know… it was fine.
Back to the food though, there’s a veritable selection of food on offer, from a Full Meaty English (veg option available) to skillet pan options like the stunning Andy Hash (v) and loaded bagels or ciabatta toasties and cake, HowSt has something for pretty much everyone, even those with discerning tastes.
Up until recently, I never knew HowSt existed, when looking up its social pages it’s a fairly barren existence online. There is a barely curated Facebook page, a vanished Instagram but plenty of hashtag mentions and appetite-rousing photos taken by visiting patrons… and for good reason. The food is great, I just wish they would shout out about it more, or at least curate some pages that would give their culinary efforts the spotlight it deserves.
It wasn’t that expensive, nor was it traditional greasy spoon cheap either. For the food and the two coffees, it came to £25.74. That was including the “discretionary 10% tip”, which you are informed of at the footer of the menu, but the team are quick, friendly and they never seem to stop moving for a second. They kind of deserved it to be honest.