The Milestone 2020
17 January 2020
Matt Bigland bought the freehold of the (then) derelict Milestone in 2006. At the time in the red-light district, the pub had been derelict for 15 years and was a real risk to take on.
After an initial dabble with pizza, tapas & Sky Sports alongside pub food, Matt & team made the decision to really focus on the “gastro” side of things, playing to their strengths & working with what they were really passionate about: good quality, hearty food – especially unusual cuts of meat and offal.
At the time, they were breaking new ground, especially for Sheffield, and they found their identity with a strong local sourcing policy. Their successful appearance on Channel 4’s Ramsay’s Best Restaurant in 2010 led to business sky-rocketing and a long wave of success.
Three cookbooks, a successful in-house training programme (Gift of the Gastro), 4 new venues and an app later, a decade has passed, and The Milestone is again at the forefront of the Biglands’ minds – as Matt has now been joined in business by his wife, Nina.
Their decision to close the venue and refocus at the back end of 2019 came as a shock to some, but with head chef & assistant manager moving on to pastures new, the Biglands have never missed an opportunity to rework things in their favour.
"Mixing heritage with modernity has always been the driving force at The Milestone. Housed in the oldest industrial site in Sheffield, we serve dishes that stir up memories and awaken the taste buds. At The Milestone we don’t buy anything if we can make it ourselves, including bread, pasta, chutneys and ice cream. It’s about being close to raw ingredients which is really something that matters to us.” – MB
That’s what this relaunch is all about – returning to The Milestone’s roots and embracing Matt & Nina’s passion for exciting, from-scratch food. New head chef, Patrick Bond (Paddy to the rest of us) hails from the Black Country and is particularly au fait with Matt’s enthusiasm for offal.
"At 15, I was a pot washer who ended up doing little bits in the kitchen like starters and desserts. From there I became a very inexperienced Commis Chef which is where I thought, 'OK, yeah, this is what I want to do'. At 18, I worked for Marco Pierre White before becoming a pastry chef at Le Manoir. I needed a change after a short while, so I moved to New York, working in an English pub. After a year, I got a job offer to work for Richard Branson on Necker Island, going back to desserts and sweet treats: that was a lot of fun! Before moving to Sheffield, I came home from the hot, hot Caribbean and helped my mum with her food truck. There's something about Sheffield that drew me in: I just wanted to be here. We want to bring (The Milestone) it back to basics. I'm inventive when I'm relaxed, and we want The Milestone to be inventive and exciting! A community pub where people are comfortable to try different things and chat to the team." – PB
Matt & Nina have also recruited a new assistant manager for The Milestone: Isabella Phillips. Izzy’s background is all about wine, and together they plan to launch a WSET accredited Wine School in the summer of 2020.
"My love of wine all started when I was doing my undergrad and I had to do a placement. I went to Portugal and worked at Graham's Port House, doing tours and learning the making of port. I graduated and didn’t know what to do and someone told me about Plumpton College where you can study Viticulture and Oenology, so, I did that and was able to make my own wine in Champagne! I'm currently doing my level 3 which is basically two months of blind wine tasting and an exam. At The Milestone, I'm looking forward to coming up with new events to do with wine, including as the wine school and making it more of a focus and experience for our guests." – IP
Izzy has immediately curated an exciting calendar of events for the upstairs room at The Milestone, including Wine + Oysters, Natural Wines, Orange Wines, Spanish Wine + Tapas and a special event for Mother’s Day with local jeweller, Victoria Billingham. Alongside the already bustling Cookery School Calendar for 2020, The Milestone is set to be busy indeed! When Wine School is up and running, Izzy will be leading WSET Level 1 + 2 courses in wine, with the potential to extend this to spirits, as well.
This week’s relaunch of The Milestone saw an exciting array of dishes hit the tables, including pig cheeks on toast with lashings of Henderson’s Relish, pig’s head terrine with black pudding, devilled sauce and confit egg yolk and a melt-in-the-mouth Dexter steak with a jus split with duck fat. No, we’re not doing Veganuary here. Izzy’s new wine list sees a range of natural, low sulphite & biodynamic wines alongside some more mainstream varietals, each with Izzy herself on hand to talk you through them.
Paddy’s printed menu is short, maybe 4 starters and 5 main courses, but is embellished by blackboard specials, displayed throughout the restaurant and energetically crossed out by servers when their time is up. This week sees skate wing and tempura oysters join the party, with a delicious homemade tagliatelle dish which can’t not be mentioned (and the first to be zealously swooshed through on Thursday evening).
So, what’s on the cards for The Milestone in 2020? The Milestone Wine School is in full planning mode, pending WSET accreditation. Cookery School continues, with guest appearances from Edo Sushi, MA-ba and Pie Eyed from Cutlery Works as well as a couple of classes hosted by Paddy himself, including pasta and preserving. Seasonal menus and specials are a given, and an array of exciting wine events are already on sale.
The Milestone Group (umbrella company which includes The Milestone, Craft & Dough, INC Rooftop Bar and Cutlery Works) was the recently announced winner of the Best Contribution to Sheffield Visitor Experience category at the Sheffield Business Awards. The award recognises an individual, organisation, charity, scheme, project or event that has achieved excellence in their individual sector area, as well as looking for activities that link events in the city to tourism & hospitality.
“We are honoured and thrilled to have been shortlisted in this category, let alone win! It is a great achievement for the group, and it really reflects our ethos of high service and standards: we continue to deliver excellent service and new ideas, to keep things fresh & inclusive for our guests. We want to continue to think and create outside the box, be innovative, challenge expectations and be one step ahead of the trends, putting our own unique Sheffield stamp on everything we do. Watch this space!” – Beth Green, Group Commercial Business Manager
Beth is in charge of all corporate bookings & experiences within the Group and is excited by the opportunities gifted by The Milestone’s relaunch. Historically, the Group’s offerings for corporates have included pizza classes, cookery schools, cocktail making and menu tastings. She has plans for these and more in 2020, including some exciting plans with Kelham Island Food Tours.