Raffina by Reece Elliott | Sheffield (UK)

Creative cooking, skilled, full of flavour and presented with care.
The crab consommé seemed to contain the very essence of an Italian summer! 

A couple of weeks ago we took a trip up North to explore the Southern parts of Yorkshire. We started our tour in the birthplace of stainless steel: Sheffield. A city with real character, woven into the stunning Peak District National Park, against a backdrop of northern cool.

We were invited to have dinner at Raffina by Reece Elliott. The restaurant is easy to spot on Ecclesall Road, with its standout glass-fronted exterior and a distinctly more modern façade than surrounding buildings in the area. Raffina by Reece Elliott launched last March, when former Masterchef The Professionals contestant Reece Elliott partnered with an established Sheffield restaurant Raffina (opened in May 2021).

Local lad Reece Elliott has more than 8 years of culinary experience. After Sheffield College Reece started as an apprentice at a bistro and worked his way up to acting Head Chef at the three-rosette Cavendish Hotel in Baslow, Derbyshire. The 26 year old chef started to make a name for himself when he scooped second place in Junior MasterChef UK at just 19 and later impressing the judges on BBC show MasterChef The Professionals in 2020. He has cooked alongside Michelin starred chefs including Marcus Wareing, Monica Galetti, Raymond Blanc, Tom Kerridge and James Martin.

We were warmly welcomed the restaurant manager Jane who lead us our table. The décor and atmosphere is a pleasant mix of a modern posh Italian restaurant, a chic Southern European bistro and a Parisian bar. Well designed with colourful furnishings and plush seating.

Raffina by Reece Elliott is open from Wednesday to Saturday for both lunch and dinner. The dinner menu offers a choice 6 starters, mains and desserts (2 courses at £45 and 3 courses at £55). The lunch menu offers a broad range from salads to pasta and from pancakes to risotto. Besides that they also do special offers like a Bottomless Brunch, Tapas & Tunes evenings and Wednesday is Pasta and Prosecco Night.

We had dinner on a Friday evening and made our choices from the dinner menu.

Crispy Guanciale Croquettes

To start an extra bite from the chef. Crispy guanciale croquettes with chilli jam and gorgonzola. Rich and cheesy ragout, seasoned with green herbs and guanciale (cured pork cheek), wrapped in a breadcrumb crust and topped with chilli jam and chives. Lovely!

Bread & Butter

The croquettes come with some sourdough with lightly salted whipped butter.

Devon Crab

My starter was Devon crab with elderflower, pear, avocade and crab consommé. Beautiful salad of immaculate crab with lots of dill. Little balls of pear enhancing the sweetness of the crab and refreshing avocado cream establishing a well balanced flavour palette. The crab consommé with just the right level of elderflower seemed to contain the very essence of an Italian summer. Only thing I missed was a bit of crunch to add some texture. Great dish!

Chicken & Garlic Butter Arancini

Joanne had the chicken & garlic butter arancini with chargrilled gem lettuce, parmesan & ceasar dressing. Love the presentation! The risotto in the arancini with punchy garlic butter lacked a bit of salt, but the gem lettuce made up for that. Loved all the flavours together with slithers of parmesan and the citrusy ceaser dressing. All laying on a slip of lovage powder, not only there for esthetics, but finishing off the dish nicely.

Yorkshire Beef Fillet

For mains we choose the Yorkshire beef fillet with green chilli pesto, rainbow carrots, pickled shallot & bone marrow. Blushing beautiful beef fillet, just melting on the tongue, grilled perfectly. Star of the dish for me was the green pesto. That hint of chilli in there is genius! The cracker on the side with bone marrow and shallots was a great addition and would make a great snack on it’s own. Nasturtium leaves for a peppery note. Love that attention to detail.

Caramel Glazed Sea Trout

The other main was caramel glazed sea trout with tempura & herb mussels, pak choi, dashi sauce and prawn & wasabi ravioli. The cuisson of the sea trout was perfect. The miso glazing seasoning the fish in a clever way. Loved those crunchy mussels and the rich dashi sauce. Lots of salty flavours on the plate, but still all in harmony. The wasabi in the ravioli was quite subtle. Actually it was too subtle. If you put it on the menu, it needs to be easily recognizable. Other than that, an excellent dish!

Coconut & Mango Cheesecake

Time for dessert. Coconut & mango cheesecake with biscoff, coconut sorbet, mango and lime salsa. The coconut sorbet was divine as was the fresh mango with the fragrant lime salsa. What a delicious combo. The cheesecake, with biscoff base and mango top had it’s flavours spot on. The designated coconut in the cheesecake however made the texture on the edge of being grainy, where you expect smoothness. Room for improvement there.

Glazed Amalfi Lemon Tart

The other dessert: glazed Amalfi lemon tart with raspberry, basil, vanilla sablé & clotted cream ice cream. The lemon tart was both rich with its sharp zesty taste, yet delicate with lightly sweet raspberry and vanilla sablé spiked with basil. Clotted cream ice cream is lovely. A dessert to remember!

A enjoyable and relaxed evening with service to match. Thanks to Bar manager John by the way, who gave us some good tips to visit in Sheffield and Leeds. The informal atmosphere makes you feel right at home.

Creative cooking, skilled, full of flavour and presented with care. Highlights for me were the crab, sea trout and the lemon tart. All great dishes, showing the possibilities of this kitchen.

Was nice to meet you Reece. Thanks for coming out of the kitchen and having a chat with us. Appreciate it when chefs take time to do that. I wish you and your team all the best on this adventure. I see the potential and will be curious to see how this develops over time. We will be back!