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South Street Kitchen: Modernist chic

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Photo from South Street Kitchen

South Street Kitchen is the first cafe to open up in Sheffield's very own bastion of brutalism, Park Hill. The interior celebrates all of the building's best features, with uncovered concrete walls and elegant furniture inspired by mid-century modernism. We spoke to founder and owner Tim Jenkins to find out what they're doing differently, and why ethical practice is at the heart of their business.

Tell us a bit about South Street Kitchen.

We're an independent cafe based in Park Hill. You can meet and relax inside or outside, enjoying great views over Sheffield in a calm, traffic-free, tranquil setting right next to the city centre and only a few minutes walk from the train station. We opened our doors in March 2018, with the goal of creating a laid-back and sustainable cafe serving delicious fresh food and great coffee for the local community and beyond.

What is your food offering?

We serve fresh Middle Eastern inspired vegetarian and vegan food, and our kitchen is open for breakfast, lunch, Friday evenings, and Saturday brunch. We're passionate about providing fresh and seasonal produce to our customers, so our menu changes regularly - check our website and Instagram for details or become a Friend.

People also come from all over Sheffield and for many of them it was the first time they'd been to Park Hill

We're fully licenced and serve seasonal cocktails, a range of northern beers and European wines. In terms of our coffee offering, Dark Woods Arboretum is our house blend for all espresso coffees. We also offer a range of single origin coffee as a pour-over V60, and decaffeinated options are available for all speciality coffee.

How are you ensuring sustainability in the business?

We buy from independent businesses in Sheffield and the region, and we buy our fresh ingredients from local growers and suppliers. Our current coffee beans are locally roasted by Dark Woods Coffee in Huddersfield. All our bottled beer comes from breweries in Sheffield, and the north of England. All our wine is from Europe. We aim to buy as much organic food and drink as we can in order to keep our environment clean of pesticides and herbicides. We buy from local ethical suppliers, such as Suma near Halifax and LEMBAS in Sheffield, both of which are cooperatives.

Plastic takeaway packaging poses a real threat to our environment. At South Street Kitchen, we welcome people bringing their own containers and re-use cups to take our food and coffee away with them. If not, we can provide you with fully compostable containers and cups. We believe that you can maintain a clean and hygienic cafe without covering it with bleach. Wherever possible we use cleaning products made by Ecover or other green suppliers, which ensure that we're not flushing dangerous chemicals into our environment.

Both Park Hill and its current redevelopment are controversial topics in Sheffield. How do you see the area changing over the next few years?

Many of our customers are residents from Park Hill and the surrounding neighbourhood. We were the first cafe in the redevelopment offering a place for people to meet up and socialise, and we're looking forward to building on that. People also come from all over Sheffield and for many of them it was the first time they'd been to Park Hill.

For most, they come away with a positive view despite any negative perceptions they might've had before. Even in the year we've been open, you can sense a vibrant community growing with a mix of social housing, private housing and workplaces - we're looking forward to that community growing stronger.

Tell us about the benefits of being a Friend of South Street Kitchen.

You get a free coffee or hot drink when you join, a slice of cake on your birthday, and invites to exclusive events for Friends. Most importantly we will keep you up-to-date with all the great stuff we've got going on including events and what pop-up menu we're serving each Friday.

Sam Gregory

For the Doc/Fest weekend South Street Kitchen have extended their opening hours.

Friday 7 June: 9 am - 10:30 pm

Saturday 8 June: 9 am - 7 pm

Sunday 9 June: 9 am - 7 pm

Find out more about South Street Kitchen on their website, or find them on Facebook and Twitter.

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