I’ve been a fan of (Homemade by) Thelma’s since they opened their bijou cafe on Sharrow Vale Road in 2011, when the seeds of the Sheffield food revolution were just being sown. It was clear back then that Emily and May Rowley, the charming sibling cafepreneurs who set up Thelma’s (though it's now run by Emily), had a serious talent for flavours and a head for business. Now operating from a bright 35-seater bistro in central Nether Edge, Homemade by Thelma’s is bigger and even more bounteous than before.
May and Emily hail from Hull originally and are self-confessed foodies: "if we’re not in our cafe, we’re in someone else’s!" They named their original cafe Thelma’s after their beloved grandmother, a fellow foodie. Within a year and a half of opening on Sharrow Vale Road, they were looking for a bigger cafe. These new premises came in the shape of an already-established cafe, Homemade, with a loyal customer base devoted to their fresh vegetarian food. May and Emily bought the business, sold their own (now Sebastian’s), and Homemade by Thelma’s was born.
The team cook all their food fresh on site and it’s glorious: a mouthwatering mash-up of Yotam Ottolenghi and Nigella Lawson. Think Middle-Eastern salads, made of heavenly grains, roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, jewelled fruit, nuts and salty cheeses. Picture airy sponges, filled with berries, or chocolate and passion fruit curd, little mouthfuls of joy in every slice. Salads and cake are just two of the highlights of an imaginative lunch menu that includes quesadillas, deli-style sandwiches and platters.
If brunch is more your thing, you’ll find a breakfast menu that’s among the best in the city. Who wouldn’t want to start the day with halloumi next their eggs? Vegetarians, vegans and gluten-free eaters are spoiled for choice here and kids do well too: the children’s menu balances nutrition with what kids actually like to eat.
Like many quality cafes in Sheffield, Homemade by Thelma’s run bistro nights, which have been such a hit that they now run every Friday night, featuring a three-course monthly menu that’s as innovative as it is delectable. Booking in advance is essential and you can bring your own wine. Then on the first Sunday of each month there's brunch club, an all-you-can-eat extravaganza topped off with newspapers and with BYO prosecco encouraged.
Take it from me, expect increasingly bright things from the Thelma's team and their tantalising brand of modern local cafe.
- Words by
- Joanne Mateer
- Images by
- Nigel Barker