Sorry I’ve been really quiet on the blog posts recently – time has disappeared with starting a new job and a busy couple of months in the social calendar, but the foodie/fitness antics have still been continuing and I have a back log of posts to fill you in…
Let’s start with our foodie trip to Cambridge!
After working in the city for a number of years and living just down the road in Bury St Edmunds it’s hard to believe that we hadn’t actually spent much time exploring Cambridge.
We decided to book a foodie mini break and it was fun to go back and feel like tourists and we enjoyed noticing things that we had regularly walked past and missed – like ancient gated doorways into the colleges, cobbled streets, quirky little pubs, quaint tea rooms and independent shops.
Where we stayed:
We stayed at the lovely Hotel Felix which is about 2 miles to the north west of Cambridge but easily walkable to the city centre in around half an hour. It’s set in beautiful grounds and has a great restaurant and bar which is always a bonus.
Quite often even basic rooms in Cambridge can top £300 but Felix has some great room rates for bed and breakfast and large comfortable rooms.
We had a room overlooking a quiet courtyard with a huge bed, bath and power shower. Don’t judge me but I always judge a hotel by the type of mini toiletries they have in the bathroom. Felix has miniatures from The White Company which scored a big fat tick from me. I love the shower gel and hand cream and everything smells amazing. It could only have been made better if they had some of the scented reed diffusers in the rooms too! The staff were friendly in both the hotel and bar and as we were a little early they stored our luggage while we had a drink in the bar. The breakfast the following morning was also impressive with a great continental selection of Greek yoghurt, fruit compote, pasties and cereals included in the room price and an additional menu offering a variety of eggs and a full English cooked to order. I’d definitely recommend Felix for a mini break or if you’re exploring the city for the first time.
Where we ate/drank:
We arrived at lunchtime so booked straight into the hotel restaurant (Graffiti) to try out their menu. We had a quick Hendricks and tonic in the bar and then went through to the dining room which overlooked the gardens. We are from the set lunch menu and had little brioche buns filled with crayfish pate and a goats cheese tart to start followed by grilled fish and a pasta dish. The food was delicious and artistically presented.
We then strolled into the city and called in at the Pint Shop. An aptly named beer house inspired by traditional Victorian pubs and gin parlours, serving up a long list of local ales, gin cocktails and homemade bar snacks. I remembered this place for making one of the best gin and tonics I’ve ever had with Adnams Copper House gin, lemon and juniper berries, along with some of my favourite gin cocktails including Hard lemonade, Autumn G&T and Sloe gin and ginger – did I mention I love gin?. For beer drinkers there’s an impressive and ever changing list of locally brewed beers and lagers to choose from off a large blackboard above the bar. You could enjoy and lose many hours in this place!
We carried on strolling around the city and then went on to have dinner at Hotel du Vin – somewhere I’d walked past many times on my way into the city but hadn’t ever had a chance to try out. The hotel and restaurant occupy an impressive building and have a great atmosphere with a dimly lit dining room full of dark wood and furnishing and candelabras. It felt both opulent but relaxed as though we were dining in a private lounge. There was plenty to choose from on the menu and we opted for rack of lamb and the rump steak which were cooked to perfection. The service was great even though the kitchen we dealing with a back log f orders after the fire alarm going off just minutes before we arrived. The staff fussed and apologised for the delay (even though we were unaware of one). Being Hotel du Vin the wine selection was fantastic and we opted for a carafe of my favourite Malbec and I could easily have ordered a second. We’ll definitely be back there next time we’re in Cambridge.
Other must visit places for foodies include:
– Fitzbillies – (apparently owned by foodies Alison Wright and Tim Haywood) serving up iconic Chelsea buns, French friands, tea scones this is the perfect stop for tea and cake.
– Midsummer House – a 2 Michelin star restaurant in the heart of Cambridge, housed in a Victorian villa on the banks of the River Cam next to Midsummer Common.
– Allimentum – in an unexpected location off the busy Hills Road, a modern 1 Michelin star restaurant with some great set menu offers.
– Cambridge Chop House, Kings Parade – located opposite the beautiful Kings College, offering a wide selection of locally sourced meats with a focus on high quality British food.
What else is there to do:
– Punting is an obvious choice! Head down to Scudamores and either self punt which is cheaper or you can pay a little more to go on a guided tour. I’d recommend self punting if you’re brave enough and have some one with good balance wearing flat non slip shoes. We took strawberries, magnum ice creams, a bottle of fizz and plastic glasses with us. The guided tours are a little more expensive unless you’re part of a big group but the cheeky tour guides are fun and are skilled navigators of the Cam (even if you have to take their historical knowledge with a pinch of salt and brace yourself for races/collisions with other punts).
– Official guided tours are a great way to see the private colleges and learn more about the city
– Botanic Gardens, I was lucky enough to work next to the gardens and have a free pass but they’re lovely to walk around and there’s a great little café on site
– The Fitzwilliam museum is a great way to spend an afternoon.
– Strawberry Fair – if you visit over the summer try to time it with the Strawberry fair (but you’ll need to book well in advance).