Multilingual Goran’s experience brings top service to promising Rotherham brasserie.
Wickersley. Posh Rotherham. Quaint village and suburban strips of bars, designer clothes, fancy bathrooms and jewellery.
A lovely place but not one that many would quit Spain for.
Goran Todorovic did. Goran was running a successful restaurant in Majorca but he left to return to South Yorkshire so his daughter could get a better education.
Mischa, the name of his daughter and of the restaurant in Majorca, is now at Wickersley School and Sports College – Wickersley Comp in old money.
Goran - who speaks four languages - is manager of Sloane’s brasserie on Bawtry Road. Born in Belgrade, Serbia, his family moved to the Venice area of Italy when he was a child, he tells us.
“I have been manager at Sloane’s for almost a year now,“ said 52-year-old Goran, who has been in Rotherham on and off for 25 years after meeting his Rotherhamian partner Alison Varah in Switzerland when he was a ski instructor.
“It’s going very well but things could always be better – that’s what we are working on.
“It’s a very popular place for ladies at lunchtime. We often have between 50 and 80 covers for lunches and 40 for breakfast.”
More from Goran later.
My dinner guest is The Star’ s former Rotherham United reporter Les Payne.
He gets there first and is already chatting with Juventus supporter Goran when I arrive - amazingly they aren’t talking about football yet.
Les threatened to compile a sports quiz for the evening but he’s spared my casual knowledge from the intensity of his weapons-grade football wisdom.
Les orders caramelised chicken liver parfait, brioche and grape chutney and there’s a crème-brulee-style hard top to his parfait, though he doesn’t think it tastes of much.
The rest he likes. The parfait is creamy with plenty of liver flavour, it comes with toasted brioche, tasty chutney and halved grapes. It gets the Les nod of approval.
My ham hock terrine has lots of shredded, tender and salty ham pressed into a block with a rich plum sauce. Looks good, tastes better.
Talk inevitably turns to football, Neil Redfearn, Steve Evans, Louis van Gaal and without skipping a beat an excellent story about Roy Ironside, Gordon Morritt, a winners tankard and the 1961 League Cup Final between Aston Villa and Rotherham.
Only Les can do this with such expertise and charm.
For main course Les has pork tenderloin with 24-hour braised pork belly, roasted pumpkin and sage jus. The loin is as tender as can be and the slow cooked pork belly crisp and gelatinous at the same time. Les loved it, as he did the luxuriously creamy mash, sage jus and piece of crispy-crunchy pork crackling.
I had casserole of ox cheek with parsnip cream, winter greens and pearl onion sauce. Low cooked beef is one of my favourites and this doesn’t disappoint.
Silky, tender and flavoursome, the beef melts in the mouth and goes wonderfully with the parsnip mash, seared shallots and rich onion sauce. Top stuff.
With it we get winter greens - al-dente Brussels sprouts, flat leaf kale and wilted lettuce which all work well together.
For dessert I chose chocolate and beetroot cake with chocolate sauce, beetroot cinder toffee and vanilla ice cream. The brownie-like cake is tasty but perhaps a little dry though the beetroot flavour comes through. The sauce is rich and chocolatey and the cinder toffee crunch complements it well.
Les’s victoria plum jelly with plum compote, cardamom cream and rose sorbet is slightly disappointing.
The subtle flavours of the rose sorbet and cardomom cream are delicious but the plum jelly seems overset and lacks a bit of oomph.
Service is excellent throughout and Goran manages six tables with ease and charm and chats comfortably with his guests.
So does he miss Majorca?
“I miss the lifestyle but I like it here and hopefully I can help Sloane’s to do well. Maybe I’ll move on, but not yet.
“We were in Majorca 10 years. We had a restaurant called Mischa’s which means little bear - though our daughter Mischa is 17 now and is occasionally like a grizzly bear!
“I have been food and beverage manager and restaurant manager at seven or eight places including the Consort Hotel at Thurcroft.
“We came back to Rotherham because the education my daughter could get in Majorca was not as good as it is here.
“She is studying sport and medicine at Wickersley School and Sports College – it’s rated excellent and is one of the best places in Yorkshire.”
How does the rest of Rotherham compare to Majorca?
“Rotherham is Rotherham,” adds Goran. “I think the town centre is having a hard time but Wickersley is very nice.
“There are good restaurants and bars and we get lovely customers from Sheffield, Worksop and Rotherham who come back time and again.
“I would like to eventually retire to Spain but we will see what happens.”
For three courses our food bill was £56.81.
Star rating out of five:
* Sloane’s 131 Bawtry Road, Wickersley, Rotherham S66 2BW, Tel: 01709 700669
* Open: Monday to Saturday, brunch 9am-11.30am, lunch noon-4.30pm, Thursday to Saturday,evening 6pm-9.30pm. Bar open until late
* Category: Bistro/Brasserie