The centre of Cambridge is a miserable place to drink. I’m not going to rant about this, but between soulless chains, student vomit production-lines, and brave attempts that have failed by becoming a restaurant with an unconvincing pub-shaped mask on, there’s basically nowhere to go for a beer. So when the Pint Shop announced they’d be selling around ten craft keg beers, another five or so cask ales, and serving food while giving equal space to drinkers and diners it seemed a bit good to be true.
After having dinner there last week, I can confirm that it is both good and true.
If you want to skip the rest of this review, the tl;dr is: go there and eat the Triple Cooked Ox Cheeks – they are heart-stoppingly delicious.
Midsummer House is widely held to be the best restaurant in Cambridge. Given it’s also one of only nineteen restaurants in the UK with two Michelin stars, I was prepared to be impressed. Then again, given it has a reputation for service that’s snooty to the point of open class war, I was prepared to be impressed through a veil of gentle fury.
Happily, the food was flat-out excellent, and the only thing that made me feel not really wealthy enough to be welcome was the wine list. I’ll get to that later, because although it didn’t remotely marr the meal it’s a serious problem for the overall quality of the experience.
No, the service was pitch-perfect, and the food while not exactly subtle was probably the best I’ve eaten. The TL;DR version is that it’s absolutely worth going, and it helps to have a slightly sweet tooth.
I’ve been eating out quite a bit lately, it seems. The latest place on this list is the new(ish)ly opened Cau on Bene’t Street. This being Cambridge, yes, it’s a chain. But it is at least a small one.
If their shtick weren’t obvious from the name, the grass and sky motif hits it home. This is all about the beef. Their specialty is large sharing steaks in exciting sauces, culminating in an 18oz rib-eye, marinated in chimichurri sauce and slow-grilled.
Sadly, none of us felt up to tackling one of those, so this review doesn’t really get to the soul of the place. This is doubly sad, because the rest was enjoyable if unremarkable, and I’m worried I’m not doing it justice. I’ll need to recruit some heavy-duty carnivores and return in force.
Cambridge is not a great place to have dinner. There are plenty of places to eat, sure, and a burgeoning selection of really good places to buy fresh produce if you’re cooking. But the actual choice of restaurants is poor, and heavy on chains.
Byron is a chain. But it’s a small one, and it isn’t photofit Italian, so it’s worth a mention.
The menu is pretty simple, as you’d expect from a business trading heavily on the idea of doing only one thing and doing it well. “Proper hamburgers” is the shtick, and the selection offers little else. Pick a burger, add some extras or choose a pre-set combo, add sides, and enjoy with an excellent selection of craft beer. It works.