Thought running a new business was a challenge? Just ask brothers, Matt and Nick Burgess who opened V.Or.V in Kelham last December.
2019 gave countless sleepless nights as opening night was pushed back and back but when they finally opened they reaped the rewards for their hard work.
The first 3 months saw the restaurant fully booked and the reviews were great, then lockdown came along with 4 months of uncertainty.
“At the time, there were clearly bigger and more important issues in the world, but it was still a big kick in the teeth,” says Matt, “I think the first month of the lockdown was excruciatingly nerve-racking for several different reasons.
“Just the fact that we’ve just put everything we ever had into something and it’s now shut after four months was really quite worrying and we just had no idea on how we would pay for everything. And no one else knew how we would pay for things either.”
At that point the government stepped in and the restaurant benefitted from the chancellor’s schemes, outlined in the daily briefings. The brothers then, along with their head chef Danny Lynn, rolled up their sleeves to make some important decisions for the future of the restaurant.
Nick explains: “We’ve had to adapt and make decisions which we’ve then had to act on very quickly. We’ve worked with our head chef to make changes to the menu to provide dishes and food which don’t necessarily take as long but are still to the same high standards.”
Since reopening they have continued that winning run and today they are ready to launch a brand-new autumn menu focusing on delicious sounding sharing plates, along with sides and a whole new dessert menu, featuring some Sheffield-made favourites. and unmissable offers.
New dishes include: Jerusalem artichoke and quail egg massaman curry, green beans, crispy shallots and holy basil (£7.50), salt and pepper aubergine and kung paoketchup (£6.50), celeriac shish kebab, fermented hot sauce, herb salad, sumac roscoff onion and pickles (£8) and Tandoori cauliflower, beetroot raita, gunpowder chickpeas, pickled fennel, pistachio £7.50, as well as a host of other veggie, vegan and gluten free dishes.
Any five of the sharing dishes can be mix and matched for £32 during a normal service but they are also running a ‘Midweek Madness’ offer with 25 per cent off your total bill if you book between 4 – 5pm on Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. And if that wasn’t enough, they are also throwing in 2-4-1 cocktails, £15 house wines and six plates for the price of five (from 5pm Wednesday and Thursday only).
Matt said: “We’ve had to diversify and bring in some deals and discounts, which are going to be every week. These offers will just allow people to get a good discount at our less busy times. The menu is slightly different to what we’ve been serving over the last couple of months, but it will allow customers to get the same quality and the same tastes that they’re used to.”
As well as the new menu and fantastic offers, since reopening on 17 July the team have been striving to make people feel as safe and, just as importantly, as comfortable as possible. They have achieved this by reducing capacity from 40 to 26, removing the communal bar area, using inobtrusive screens to guide customers around the restaurant, maintaining social distancing while taking orders, QR codes, blackboards and new wipeable menus at the tables and of course, readily available hand sanitizer.
Matt said: “Customers have responded brilliantly to the changes. We wanted to make sure that the COVID redesign was done how we felt it should be, and we’ve had an excellent response. Everybody’s been very happy with the levels we’ve gone to, but at the same it feels like they’re still able to come out and enjoy the atmosphere that we originally tried to create.”
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