Tuesday, 14 June 2011

The summer of food

Ask any food enthusiast in Cambridge where they like to eat out and you'll get the same reply. They'll list a handful of great independent restaurants, before going on to muse that really, there's not much choice. In a city responsible for some quite astounding scientific discoveries and world famous literature, the food and restaurant scene has lagged behind somewhat. 
Until now that is. I think Cambridge is about to get a lot more interesting for those of a foodie persuasion. 

Not that it’s been entirely dull in the past of course – there have always been spots of gastro greatness. We all know who they are, but they have always stood out as a few in a mass of sticky menus, microwave meals passed off as 'gastro' and terrible, terrible milky coffee.
Perhaps it's the summer sun going to my head but I think there is a real stirring at the moment. There are lots of tummy rubblingly good things about to happen. Here's just a few that I'm clearing my diary for...

Alex Rushmer, set to open his much-anticipated restaurant next month. Photo by @photolotte
First up, Alex Rushmer, Cambridgeshire resident and Masterchef finalist, plans to open his new restaurant in July. Alex is keeping schtum about exactly where the new place will be, 'a nearby village' is all we know so far, but is guaranteed to be good. From what I've heard diners can expect what could be termed 'proper grub' but with a touch of Alex's adventurous cooking style. And rumour has it that the Sunday lunches are going to take some beating. You can find out more about the opening by emailing bookings@alexrushmer.com

Those Chelsea buns, about to be restored to their sticky glory

Come August husband and wife Tim Hayward and Alison Wright will be re-opening Fitzbillies. Long termed a 'Cambridge institution,' but sadly, long falling short of this reputation. But not anymore. You can rest assured that Tim, a Guardian food writer, will not rest until those Chelsea buns are returned to their former, gooey glory. Those with a love of all things sticky and sweet should be excited. You can find out more at chelseabuns.com.

Gog Magog's resident pet turkey, Clive
If you prefer rustling something up for yourself with great quality ingredients then you'll probably already frequent the local farm shops. Neal’s Yard cheese, a proper cup of coffee and a friendly and informative butchers make Gog Magog Hills farm shop and deli top of the list. They are opening a larger café in the next week or so and will be turning the Cart Shed (the current café) into a dedicated deli area. Charles, Marcus and the team have more exciting plans afoot and so expect more temptation soon. In the meantime their twitter account @gogmagogshop is the best place to find out about their tasting days and all the gossip on the new cafe.

The wine bar at Cambridge Wine Merchants
There's really little point in a good meal unless you have good wine to swig alongside it. We're covered on that front too. Cambridge Wine Merchants have gone from strength to strength over the past few years, winning countless awards and putting on successful tasting events almost every week. For those after a weekend wine retreat, the Cherry Hinton road branch has recently opened a wine bar. There’s nibbles from nearby Balzanos and selected wines by the glass, or you can pick a bottle to enjoy for a £5 corkage fee. Call 01223 214548 to get a table on your chosen evening.

It's an exciting time, I think you'll agree. As nice as a trip to London to try a new place is (and honestly, go to Spuntino for the lamb slider alone), having a range of independent restaurants and delis to visit is pretty unbeatable in my book. I am sure there are countless other exciting local ventures that I am yet to find out about - please do tell me about them below. And if you like a decent meal and quality ingredients as much as I do then get in touch - I have plans to try and unite those who love to eat in a new Cambridge club in the near future. 



  1. Great blog...I love hearing about exciting things going on in Cambridge. And so excited that Fitzbillies isn't dead forever! I'm intrigued to know more about you 'new Cambridge Club'too...

  2. I love this foodie summer, thanks for the info!

  3. I am really looking forward to Alex's resstaurant and the Gog Magog cafe in particular.
    The wine bar looks FAB!


  4. Think I want to move to Cambridge now!

  5. I would just like to register my delight of happening upon a Cambridge-based food blog! Yay! (My own is unfortunately in Norwegian, but no less Cambridge-based for that :))