The wonder of Fagan’s is, quite simply, portion size. Food here is big:
“D’ya think we’ll fit 3 plates on this table?”
“Dunno…they’re pretty big…”
“What’s the pie like?”
Me: “Does the steak come with chips?”
Tom (landlord): “No…it comes with chips, mushrooms, tomato, salad, olives and a fried egg”.
Fagan’s (link to Google map here) serves traditional pub food and is proud of it. The blackboard menu always includes favourites such as fish and chips, all day breakfast, ploughman’s, chilli con carne, chicken/veg curry…most meals at a seemingly standard price of £5.30.
Fagan’s is also well-loved by some of Sheffield’s best known musicians. There are regular folk nights and Richard Hawley has been known to throw the odd impromptu gig here. He namechecks Fagan’s in an interview in this weekend’s Guardian:
I’ve often reached the dizzying heights of ecstasy holding a pint of frothy seasonal ale in Fagan’s pub, chatting away with Tom the landlord.
Pete McKee immortalised some of Sheffield’s music legends in Legends in Fagans (Made in Sheffield) as part of his 22 Views of Sheffield collection. It shows Richard Hawley, Jarvis Cocker, Alex Turner, Phil Oakey and Tony Christie tucking into a pint and a fag in the snug – the very same snug we sat in last week, with a print of the McKee work hanging above us.
Fagan’s ales include the ever popular Moonshine from Abbeydale Brewery in Sheffield as well as Tetley cask. It can take a while to get served at times – but that’s usually because the aforementioned Tom is off in the kitchen dealing with a food order. We’d been looking forward to a good bit of Fagan’s grub for a couple of weeks since a friend suggested going for her birthday and most of the group had decided long before they got there what they were going to have.
We ordered 2 steak and potato pies, 1 sirloin steak, 1 chilli con carne, 1 ploughmans and 1 sausage, egg, chips and beans. We’d asked for 1 more pie but were told there were only 2 left – when they arrived, however, I suspect that each portion would have merrily served 3. They came with a good helping of chips and mushy peas. My steak did indeed come as promised with an array of accompaniments, as well as some of Tom’s homemade salad dressing (honey and mustard) which he highly recommended, and so do I. My steak was on the rarer side of medium rare (which was fine for me but be warned if you prefer yours better done), nicely seasoned and – unsurprisingly – big. The steak was a couple of pounds more expensive than the rest of the meals. I was impressed with the chilli, made with big chunks of steak and it had a nice bit of heat (as I discovered when I polished off the remainder of my friend’s portion). The sausage, eggs, chips and beans did exactly what they said on the tin and didn’t disappoint at all.
The ploughman’s is a sight to behold. Except you’ll have to go and behold it yourself, as I didn’t get any pictures. You get a stack of tiger bread, pork pie, scotch egg, a hearty slice of ham, olives, salad, coleslaw and 6 different cheeses: Le vache qui rit, Boursin, cheddar, Cheshire, an unidentified soft creamy cheese with blue veins (a bit like Cambozola) and a cottage cheese. More than enough for one, which worked out rather well as a few of us were just ready for a small cheese course.
That was quite a meal, all in all, and that’s what you get from Fagan’s – piles of honest food at a good price (ie, £5.30), good beer and a good atmosphere. It seems to inspire great loyalty and warmth in Fagan’s customers, as summed up by Hawley when asked how he wanted to be remembered:
As that 198-year-old bloke in Fagan’s.