Is this the best pub in Ipswich? An astonishing range of craft beers from around the world, a beer sommelier, gorgeous gins, street food on a Friday and the friendliest staff.
The perfect pre-drink drink. Drink on a hot summers day, after cutting the grass. Mix the French bitters with pilsner or a wheat beer for a perfect apertif. Or nip to Duck Soup in Soho and enjoy with a plate of green beans, anchovy, soft boiled egg and sour dough crumbs.
If you get the chance to spend a day or two in Cambridge then here is my mini food tour. Arrive in the afternoon and start with Afternoon Tease in King Street. It is very close to the bus station in Drummer Street and as the name suggests serves tea and cake. You can also get breakfast, brunch and lunch. It stays open until 6pm in the week. I had a big slice of stout Christmas cake with homemade marzipan and icing. The dark molasses flavoured cake had huge juicy chunks of stem ginger and figs which made me go straight out and buy figs, because sometimes you just forget how nice they are.
After a good long walk around the city, a little retail therapy perhaps and working up an appetite, then go for supper at Pint Shop, another new restaurant to the Cambridge scene and just off the market by the Corn Exchange. Meat, bread, beer, about 50 types of gin, 30 whiskies and a very good wine list. The bar was full but I got a glimpse of some scotch eggs and sausage rolls on the bar top as I walked through to the restaurant. I was by myself, but had a good time. Staff are friendly and welcoming and bring a plate of bread to the table once you are seated. I had half a pint of so'hop moor ultra pale keg beer, with triple cooked smoked ox cheek, horseradish gremolata and sprouting broccoli. The side order of mash was perfect to mop up the gravy. The puddings sounded really good and included a sticky figgy pudding, but you can only eat so many figs in a day. And so to bed..... there are loads of places to stay, look at Quality in Tourism for rated properties.
In the morning find your way to Norfolk Street Bakery. it is an easy walk from the Grafton shopping centre. Do not leave Cambridge without visiting this delightful, bijou, Portuguese bakery. Adilia bakes with her cousin Daniel and the window alone just calls you in. It is bang in the middle of a residential part of town and a little terraced property. You can get coffee to drink in or take away. I tried salt cod pie, a meat croquette , a suckling pork rissole and cod fish cake. Yes, I am a pig, but how can you resist, and they were still warm! I brought home a box of cinnamon topped pastel de nata (custard tarts) to eat later.
A late arrival got us both in for a fiver (you have to pay for this one...) but most of the food people were still there. What a proliferation of pickles! Lots of the same thing (of the chili jelly/home-made tomato ketchup variety) with one or two interesting exceptions - home made drinks and hot food, and lots of suppliers from Essex. But we love Abroad, and of course Essex gave us Jamie Oliver. We tried ice-cream, crisps, chocolate, strawberry and raspberry vodkas (although they weren't keen on Inspector X's horseradish vodka suggestion...) rhubarb and ginger cordial, fresh lemonade (so easy, so nice) and a shark kebab (very close to my Caribbean heart...shark kebabs...)
Beers from Old Chimneys Brewery (Market Weston), Brandon Brewery (Brandon), Green Jack Brewery (Lowestoft), St. Peter's Brewery (Bungay), Grain Brewery (Aldeburgh), and Iceni Brewery (Mundford) are all available in this new beer shop. I'm hoping that since I responded to their press release, a couple of bottles might be heading my way because I'm fed up with yoghurts.