It wasn’t hard to persuade me to swap a turkey meal for a delicious #fishmasdinner at Loch Fyne in Cambridge this week. I’m only sorry that I couldn’t try more of the menu. Trot on turkey, I'm eating more fish!
- soft crab pakora with raita ( I could eat all day)
- chilli and garlic prawns
- pollock served with mussels from the specials board
- seafood grill, the best way to try everything!
- treacle tart
- creme brulee
Last time I ate at The Tickell Arms in Whittlesford there was a sign on the door saying 'no long haired lefties'. That was in 1981. Nowadays the pub is part of the CambsCuisine Group and is much more accommodating. Dogs are welcome (in the pub) and long haired lefties are allowed in too. I ate duck breast with pearl barley, roasted red onions, parsnip puree and port sauce. Very good it was too!
If you find yourself in the Cambridge area in the next two weeks check out Eat Cambridge. Lots on! Lots to eat!
I was invited by Lottie, PR for the Double Tree by Hilton in Cambridge City Centre to try dinner at The Marco Pierre White Steakhouse Bar and Grill. So I took up the offer. The meal passed the Suffolk Foodie quality control with flying colours. You see we get invited to eat out and review restaurants on a regular basis and we'll only write about anything that's very good. The hotel is at the end of Mill Lane in the city centre. It's a beautiful location next to the river and from the dining room you can watch the punts go by. Well, you can when it's not dark outside. Lottie told me that the restaurant opened in April 2014 and is branded by Marco Pierre White, with the brand team writing menus and ensuring that the Head Chef at the hotel meets the required standards. Its actually a very stylish restaurant with more than a nod to fine dining, not what I had expected of a steakhouse, bar and grill. Service was charming with the extremely friendly, but unobtrusive team of Marion, Claire and Evelin (pictured above) looking after us extremely well. I took Mr Suffolk Foodie ... he loves a steak. Steaks are on the a la carte menu and listed as 28 day dry aged native breed steaks. The usual classic cuts ... Fillet, Sirloin, Ribeye, T.Bone and Chateaubriand. There's a table d'hote menu too, so we ate from each menu, with a bit of wheeling and dealing done between us at the table. Table d'hote menu comes in at a keen £20 for two courses or £24 for three. From the TDH menu we chose a starter of smoked salmon, celeriac remoulade garnished with peashoots. Really simple but pretty presentation and a beautiful remoulade, which happens to be a favourite of mine. This one was good because it was very well seasoned and held its' own against the flavour of the smoked salmon. From the a la carte we chose the rillettes of duck with prunes d'Agen and toasted sourdough. Chunky prunes and soft, succulent duck meat, but don't tell MPW I had to use the salt and pepper mill as it was lacking. A little amuse bouche arrived; a palate cleanser of sharp lemon sorbet which was super and appreciated after the rich rillettes. Mr Suffolk Foodie chose the Ribeye (rare) with a side of Bearnaise Sauce for his main course. It was a very tender steak and served with triple cooked chips and a classic watercress, grilled tomato and onion ring garnish. My seafood risotto from the TDH was creamy and packed full of prawns, mussels and squid. Concasse tomatoes added some colour too. Actually, it was very enjoyable and I would eat it again right now. Cambridge burnt cream featured on both dessert menus. The burnt cream was orginally made within the walls of Trinity College, Cambridge in the 1600's and sometimes called a Trinity burnt cream. It's the predecessor of the French creme brulee. I ordered one and it arrived with a proper glassy and crunchy top and a thick ... really thick custard underneath. Other puddings included a New York cheesecake, sticky toffee pudding and a brownie but catching our eye was a Knickerbocker Glory. Layered fruits and icecream and a very classy one too. In fact it was pretty damn perfect with thick raspberry coulis,whole fruit,layers of vanilla icecream and whipped fresh cream on top. My brulee spoon wasn't long enough to get to the bottom of the glass and Mr Suffolk Foodie wouldn't let go of his sundae spoon. Dammit! I won't take him out again.
- House Salad, simple, but excellent dressing
- Pistachio, macadamia and coconut crisps were served at the end of the meal
- Cambridge burnt cream
- Gavi by the glass....mmm
- Knickerbocker Glory
- Seafood risotto with garlic bread
- Smoked salmon, celeriac remoulade, microcress
- Lemon sorbet
- Ribeye steak, bearnaise, triple cooked chips, onion rings, grilled tomato, watercress
- Table d'hote menu
- The lovely team
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.
On Saturday night Cambridge was hit by flash flooding which forced most restaurants in the centre of the city to close, including Jamies Italian and The Cambridge Chop House. Forced to search elsewhere for supper we spotted Fitzbillies, famed for Chelsea Buns and for having Stephen Fry as a fan. The 1922 vintage facade gave us no clue that anything other than afternoon teas were served. On closer inspection we saw diners inside so went in.
A hesitant Maitre D' thought carefully before allowing us a table (we thought they must all be reserved, but in fact weren't) The main courses were simply presented and included a pork chop with roast fennel, cherry toms and new potatoes, and grilled mackerel with courgettes, saffron and organo which I chose. Portion sizes varied wildly from a Ploughmans size starter of Potted Venison, pickled redcurrants and sourdough, to a three mouthful plate of Goose Ham and melon (yes, we asked, it's cured and dried goose breast) No culinary masterpieces but well cooked and fresh ingredients.
The service is laid back here and the staff appeared to be having a good time on their own table. One of our puddings is pictured - Filo, layered with chocolate cream and raspberry, but the best part of the meal was undoubtedly the discovery of a delicious Boekenhoutskloof ( Franschhoek. Cape Wine.) The Wolftrap. delicious...buy yourself a case. I will.