Two States, Hillsborough, Sheffield (66%)


Saturday 26th November 2016.

“Don’t let him shoooooot! Don’t let him shoooooot!”

Ah, dear Shamim, of Pond’s Forge, five-a-side goalkeeping fame. It was a familiar cry, as I approached goal on one of my snaking runs, ball on a string, Axeman at my heels. Though not quite as satisfying as Mica’s “Too good!” as the ball scorched past his flailing hand, completing my last ever hat-trick. It was the end of Mica’s playing career too. I see him, in my mind’s eye, forever floating in that audacious, slow motion dive (worthy of Lee Majors’ The Unknown Stuntman, or Jimmy Rimmer), honouring my achievement with the last of his breath. Too good.

It’s regrettable how the trivial incident with that child marred my footballing legacy. How many characters and careers have been tarnished by a milksop tot crying for its mother? An innocuous overarm toss of a football, that’s all it took. Striking the ceiling tile above the prone child’s head, down came the ball, smack in his face. I sensed the imminent arrival of an aggrieved father from the changing rooms, so could hardly dawdle. I imagine the child, in later years, will thank me for that (Little Bodger, let’s call him). There’s nothing like a good weep induced by physical pain and the smart of injustice, especially when it’s solitary. Little Bodger’s first glimpse of a cold, indifferent world.

Anyway, like Johann Cruyff in his prime, shrugging off Jan Olsson with one of those trademark turns, Shamim, also in his prime, shrugged off office life. Ditching the lunchtime five-a-side for entrepreneurial enterprise. One of his strings being Darbaar on Middlewood Road, Hillsborough. We held a Pony Club event in the upstairs room there one February, I remember. Splendid Indian buffet. We danced under a Glitter ball; sang with raucous gusto. Hey prestoed a bottle of gin… Soon afterwards, Arusuvai, another Indian, came and went in a blink. And now, in daring defiance of empirical evidence (suggesting forlorn prospects), we have Two States, offering Southern Indian cuisine, if you’re quick. If you’re as eager as we were on Saturday night, you may even catch them ironing tablecloths at the bar – a novel, early evening distraction.

Only the two dips on the standard pickle tray serving (superior versions of mango chutney and Pungent lime pickle), together with three ‘pappadams’ – but for a meagre £1 who can argue? (Raita and a mixed vegetable pickle also available at extra cost.) The starter highlight, devilled squid, looked like a Lilliputian oil slick tragedy: the black sludge snarled with the bleached rubber rings of the drowned; yet its rich, fiery depths transcended appearances and rubber ringiness. The onion bhajis stole the beauty contest: three delicate, golden hotties; just lacking a juicy, melting look to the judges. Main dishes, more than acceptable: mutton chettinad and mutton mappas; though never quite flashing enough flesh or garter.


In a disturbing office offsite reconstruction, it soon emerged that post-it comments would be elicited and stuck to the central pillar in the restaurant. Provoking chilling flashbacks to mind-messed thought confessions penned in exchange for release from further white board inculcation and abuse. Rest assured, non-violent disobedience cannot be quelled in these situations: on the back of every dubiously extracted post-it I’ve ever written you will find these tell-tale words in clear, emphatic script: “Help, they made me write this!”


Judge ‘Gonzo’ Pickles
Fred ‘Skippy’ Pickles



  1. Good food, as with the other Southern Indian Restaurants we have visited, a little different to the usual. Have to say that for me, the room was slightly too cold, it was a very cold night and we were there on opening, but still, I’d like to be able to take my coat off for these occasions. That red cloth napkin proved dual purpose; stopped me dropping my food on my trousers and helped keep my legs warm! £55 including tip which included the Gulab Jamuns…


  2. […]                The Valley Junction 397, Jesmond, Newcastle Gulab Jamun:              Two States, Hillsborough, Sheffield Light Fitting:               Magna Tandoori, Berwick Restaurant Rating:   Gymkhana, […]


  3. Mr Shuaib Mammu · · Reply

    Hi 🙂

    Wow I just saw this article today and didn’t notice this before . I enjoyed reading your article and yes you were the lucky one to see us ironing the table clothes that day (we have stopped doing that now haha)

    I think you guys came in at the wrong day when we had issues with heating and were short of table clothes ,all thanks to our Hillsborough dry cleaning place but I am happy that you enjoyed the food 🙂

    I liked the post it notes comment in the article and the way you described the meal

    Hopefully I shall see you soon in the restaurant

    Thank You
    Shuaib Mammu
    Two States


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