Restaurant reviews

Bungalows & Bears: A delightful diner in Sheffield

What a wonderful world the twittersphere is! Charlotte and I certainly thought so after great tips from fellow foodies helped us to find a tasty treat in Sheffield before a trip to the World Snooker Championships at the Crucible Theatre. Having put it out there on Twitter that we were making this trip, we were fortunate to be recommended a fair few places to go, including one sushi place that sounded fantastic. Whereas sushi would normally win the day, given Charlotte is pregnant, we opted for a place that is a bit more “pregnancy friendly”: Bungalows & Bears, where Ruby Jean’s Diner is located.

From the outside of the building, Ruby Jean’s Diner doesn’t look particularly trendy, but the moment you enter the building you get hit by a great vibe. While Charlotte and I are not exactly trendsetters (!) the fact is that the laid back feel and nice decor is designed to attract a trendy crowd for a few drinks that may well turn into a main meal. Sure, there is no pool table, and unlike places like Roxy Lanes in Leeds, it doesn’t focus on a sporting theme as its ‘thing’ to differentiate it, but nonetheless Ruby Jean’s has that je ne se quoi that hip establishments just possess!

Having sat down to eat at one of the many booths on the main floor, we had a tough choice picking what to go for. All the starters sounded appealing but we knew there was a balance to be struck. I am fairly sure that we are not alone in being caught out by starters at American restaurants that end up ruining your meal as they leave you far too full to even contemplate a main course! A bonus at Ruby Jean’s to counter-act this is that you go up to the bar area to order, so you can pace the timing of your food. After some deliberation, we ordered a starter of nachos grande.

I can’t lie that I am a bit of a sucker for a good nacho plate and feel that my version is a pretty decent attempt at making them. For this reason, I find myself judging nachos at restaurants rather more harshly than I probably should do!

At Ruby Jean’s I was not (and nor was Charlotte) disappointed with them. With loads of cheese, salsa, sour cream and guacamole complemented by some flavourful (and with a bit of a kick) burnt end chilli, the dish was a great way to get some fire in our bellies ahead of our main dishes.

Ruby Jean's Diner at Bungalows & Bears

After enjoying this lovely starter, we did decide to have a short break as we weren’t rushed for time and were enjoying a nice chat and soaking up the atmosphere. When we decided to dive back into the menu, we did so at the deep end!

I took up one of the “burger off” burgers that was effectively a special burger created by one of the staff members and Charlotte went for Ruby Jean’s fried chicken. In a slightly mad moment we also decided to go for some additional onion rings!

When the plates turned up they looked wonderful, with my burger retaining some degree of decency upon the outrageous mound of chips it was stacked on! Charlotte’s fried chicken met the menu description nicely and managed to avoid that weird fake look that seems to be patented by KFC! Indeed, the chicken itself looked like it might have come from a bird that had been well looked after and saw a bit of daylight in its life. Unlike KFC, it didn’t appear stuffed full of water.

Ruby Jean's Diner at Bungalows & Bears

Both dishes tasted brilliant. The nice, spicy, and flavourful chicken skin combined with the occasional bite of the slaw and chips dipped in the lovely hot sauce that came with the dish was delightful and really left you wanting more.

My burger was as indulgent as a burger with pulled pork, an onion ring and loads of BBQ sauce should be without being lost in a sea of sauce. The glazed bun itself tasted good and was rather excellent at mopping up all the juices and not falling apart!

Ruby Jean's Diner at Bungalows & Bears

All in all, the onion rings were lovely although completely unnecessary and we ended up finding ourselves unable to finish our meals let alone this wonderful side!

Ruby Jean's Diner at Bungalows & Bears

With the staff being really genuinely friendly, the portions generous and the location and atmosphere both brilliant, I think we made the right choice going to Bungalows & Bears to enjoy the fine taste of Ruby Jean’s Diner.

I would recommend it to anyone Sheffield bound.

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