Bragazzis, a popular and independent little café-cum-deli, is located on Abbeydale Road, Sheffield’s very own up-and-coming ‘in vogue’ area.
Some may say that the London Road stretch is the Sheffield equivalent of Dalston, despite the fact that Dalstonites are currently amidst an identity crisis after Harry Styles was spotted in the area, thereby instantly transforming the neighbourhood from one of unwashed hair and laddered tights to clean-living, bubblegum pop and colossal, veneered smiles.
Barring any appearances from One Direction, Bragazzis retains its cool and serves very nice food and coffee too. The mouth-watering sandwiches – made with bread thicker than me in Science class (circa 2003) - served heated or cold, your choice (£3.85) and selection of freshly-made, routinely innovative cakes (£2.50) are certainly the highlights. With fillings and flavours varying each day, you’ll have to frequent the place more habitually than Katie Price swings by the OK! Magazine HQ before you need have the same one twice.
To describe the food adequately, I feel that it is necessary to call in the help of pretend-Dr Gillian McKeith and her silly adage “you are what you eat”.
When in Bragazzis, I am a beautiful Italian supermodel, dressed from head-to-toe in the best quality designer clothing. I am deep, complex and memorable for all the right reasons and I’m the kind of woman that Berlusconi wishes he could go out with but I certainly wouldn’t waste my time on him.
And so, there is a reason why McKeith is as qualified as Homer Simpson to dole out advice about food. As I sit here, a mundane, quarter-Pole and non-model from Rotherham, I can begin to see why. This takes nothing away from the food though.
I had a large Americano (£2.10) and my date had a small mocha (£2). Bragazzis have developed their own blend of coffee, which you can buy from the deli department, if you so choose (£4.50). Also available at the deli is a selection of anti pasti: grilled artichokes, plump marinated olives (both £2.20 per 100g) and three types of thick, authentic pesto (£2.75 per 100g).
The piles of sandwiches, stacks of jars and abundance of produce provide the perfect example of “good clutter” and if I had known about Bragazzis a few years ago as a teenager, I would have taken my parents there to show them how stylish organised-disorganisation can look. The tables and chairs are delightfully mismatched, presumably having been sourced from jumble sales and generous grandmas alike.
You don’t pay your bill until you’re ready to leave and instead of being presented with an itemised list, you simply cobble together what you’ve consumed with the help of the person that served you. The day’s selection of cakes will be scrawled across the blackboard in the corner and there isn’t an American soft-drink in sight.
This is the kind of place that the big corporate coffee bores wish they were; they will try desperately to imitate such panache and they will inevitably fail. So make sure you enjoy the perfect antidote to all those cardboard cakes, flat-pack interiors and seasonally-coloured cups and give this joint a whirl.