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Back Buzz - February 6, 2011

pumping heartTom Scott's Restaurant & Coffee House, 190-B Crookes Road, Crookes, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

A few months ago I was walking through Crookes when I noticed the giant orange and brown TOM SCOTT'S RESTAURANT & COFFEE HOUSE emblazoned across a building. On further inspection I realised it was in the previous location of Spinrocs Tapas Bar and Grill On The Hill, where my mother and I once got drunk on champagne while dining on gorgeous salmon skewers. As a friend and I had just had lunch and I was caffeine-saturated, I didn't stop in. But I knew I had to return someday and try out TOM SCOTT'S RESTAURANT & COFFEE HOUSE, simply because with a name like TOM SCOTT'S RESTAURANT & COFFEE HOUSE announced so proudly, it simply has to be sampled. Like Seattle coffee houses I've been to with names like Cry Baby, Gee Whiz, and Nice Day, and like pubs with names like Who'd A Thought It, Frankenstein, and The Auld Motor Hoose, it's fair to say that one is initially drawn in by the name. Names can put one off as well, such as Ye Olde World Famous Pasty Factory or The Amazing Fabulous Food Machine. So such a direct name as TOM SCOTT'S RESTAURANT & COFFEE HOUSE is psychologically unique, as if Tom Scott, whoever he is, expects us to put our complete trust in his ability to run a fine restaurant and coffee house.

It was a snowy Friday morning when I finally stopped in. I was pleased with the interior decor: big white flowers on a rusty red background, rusty red light fixtures, and warm maple wood and granite tabletops. "Stardust", the song I always associate with my late trumpet-playing father, was playing on the stereo. Bliss.

It was too early for lunch, but I was nearly tempted by the vegetarian burger with grilled haloumi or the houmus and haloumi wrap. Any place that features haloumi in their lunch menu is all right with me. The dinner menu looks very nice, too, and there are still a few tapas on the bar menu. Along with espresso there are plenty of spirits and European lagers on draft, and cocktails offered include Long Island Ice Teas, Tequila Sunrises, and a "French Martini".

But I was there for a coffee. My double macchiato was served in a flat wide china cup, more of a single-cappuccino sized vessel. The macchiato was made properly, although the espresso itself was a bit too smooth, as if a light roast was used. Ah, well if the place was called Ristorante e Caffé di Tommaso Scotto, then I would certainly expect a richer darker espresso to knock my socks off. But on this snowy day I couldn't complain too much, as I needed my socks to stay on my feet in order to make the long trek through the snow to work.

As I sat sipping my mild light macchiato I pondered a wooden rack hanging on an ex-door near me. Four pleasingly designed wooden items hung on the rack, and they appeared to be umbrella handles ending in cords attached to handles. What could they possibly be? It was such a mystery...

After further research I am still no wiser as to who Tom Scott is. Online I found a self-proclaimed magician and comedian named Tom Scott; an American saxophonist named Tom Scott who is the bandleader of the West Coast fusion band the L.A. Express; and an Olympic hopeful from Motherwell named Tom Scott who was tragically killed in a car crash on his way to an athletic event. But the Tom Scott who opened his own restaurant and coffee house in Crookes is still a complete mystery to me and could easily remain so -- as could the purpose of those pleasing wooden objects.

Speaking of pleasing mysteries reminds me of a recent e-mail conversation with a workmate:

Since I forgot to wish you a Happy 1/1/11, I now have the opportunity to wish you a Very Happy 11/1/11, which is even better! Such a positive "On" day. I'm rather looking forward to 11:05 on the 11th of November this year. I will enjoy that moment briefly, but will really be most excited six minutes later.

In the meantime, have a magnificent 11/1/11 yourself. It is indeed a pleasing date to write! Last night on the BBC Look North weather report they showed four boxes with the maximum Sheffield temperatures for the next four days (Thur, Fri, Sat, and Sun). And guess what the boxes showed? "11", "11", "11", "11"! Is this a wonderful week or what? Wow! And Bristol Zoo has the only captive Aye-Ayes in this country, I was told today.