Menu Tasting at The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK)

The Cock in the beautiful village of Hemingford Grey is one of the fabulous Cambridgeshire restaurants operated by Cambscuisine. I’m already a huge fan of one of their places – SmokeWorks, which I raved about here and here. I have been meaning to try out their other restaurants so I was delighted when Jessica Donnithorne, who’s in charge of marketing and people development at Cambscuisine, invited me to a sneak peek of The Cock’s new à la carte starters and mains menu, which launches on 14 May, 2015. I was impressed, not only by the delicious 20 or so dishes served, but by the very well organised, professional and hardworking team. It was also great to meet one of the owners, Oliver Thain, as well as head chef Wil Findlay who designed the new menu. I was joined by fellow blogger Miss Sue Flay, who made a rather neat video of the tasting session. You can view it here.

Tasting table

The Cock’s ethos is to provide high end casual dining and they’ve definitely hit the mark with their menu and decor. The food is guided by the seasons and there is an emphasis on sourcing fresh, local ingredients. It’s no wonder The Cock has been named the 2015 Cambridgeshire Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide.

The Cock Collage 2

It’s worth noting that the new à la carte starters and mains menu is mostly gluten free, which will please coeliacs, allergy sufferers and those with dietary preferences. There are plenty of meat-free options too, such as risotto, polenta, truffle gnocchi and smoked camembert.

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Wil Findlay

We all sat at a sunny table by the garden doors while I listened to head chef Wil Findlay speak passionately about the ingredients and train the fabulous service team on the new menu items. Then a parade of dishes – all expertly prepared by the kitchen brigade, which includes sous-chef George Allan – started coming out. We eagerly sampled a bit of each dish and gave our opinions. I was seriously impressed by each and every one of the dishes and it was great to have the opportunity to sample foods I never had before, such as pigeon and pig cheek. I would not hesitate to order these now!

Seared pigeon

I was particularly impressed by the seared pigeon starter, which was accompanied by a black cherry gel that went remarkably well with the gamey flavour of the pigeon breast. The pigeons are mostly local, from Hemingford Grey, but some come as far as Saffron Walden.

Duck Parcel

I was told the duck parcel has been a menu favourite for years and I can understand why. The duck parcel was served with sweet and sour cucumber, sesame, spring onion and soy dressing. Absolutely delicious!

Scallops

Another firm favourite was the beautifully presented seared scallops with honey and sesame glazed pork belly, red pepper puree and sesame brittle. It tasted as gorgeous as it looked. I definitely got the impression that Wil Findlay is a master of balancing Asian-inspired flavours and even gave a brief explanation on umami, which is a Japanese term for a pleasant, savoury taste.

The Cock Collage 4

Other starters in the new à la carte menu include dishes with fried truffle gnocchi, smoked camembert, squid, smoked pork fillet, crab & cucumber risotto, cured salmon and rabbit & black pudding terrine. Drooling yet?

The Cock Collage 3

The new mains menu features twelve dishes, four of which are fish based (baked mackerel, sea bass, hake and smoked haddock fishcakes). All of the fish was super fresh and each dish included a selection of tasty vegetables, such as new potatoes, courgettes, beans, samphire, rocket and asparagus from the Cambrigeshire/Essex border.

The Cock Collage 5

The rest of the new mains menu includes six meat dishes and two meatless ones (asparagus pea risotto and rosemary polenta). There are two types of steak (9oz sirloin and 14oz butler – or flat iron as it is known in North America) which are accompanied by hand cut chips and a herb roasted tomato. Both steaks are topped with Café de Paris butter, which is an exquisite butter with herby and citrus flavours. Rounding out the meat dishes are lamb rump, guinea fowl supreme, braised pig cheek & belly faggot and a massive beef wellington made to be shared. There are great things done with spuds on the menu, such as confit potatoes, rosemary potato bake, hand cut chips and Lyonnaise potatoes. Examples of veggies on the mains menu are carrots, asparagus, peas, red cabbage, watercress and radish, including mouli. Some of the meat dishes are accompanied by lovely gravies and sauces made with port, madeira or red wine.

Wondering about dessert? I’ve been assured that a new dessert menu is going to be launched as well. Stay tuned! You can follow The Cock through Cambscuisine’s Twitter and Instagram.

The Cock Collage 1

I can’t wait to return to this beautiful restaurant as a customer and feast on their selection of fantastic food and drink. It’s 25 miles from Cambridge city centre and there’s ample parking in their car park as well as on the streets. It’s definitely worth the trip to Hemingford Grey if you’re not local. Reservations recommended.

The Cock invited me to attend the menu tasting. All food samples were complimentary. I did not receive compensation for my review. All views are my own.

Unless otherwise noted, I am the legal copyright holder of the content and images on this blog. Please contact me for permission if you wish to use, reprint or publish any material.

2 thoughts on “Menu Tasting at The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK)

  1. Pingback: The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK) | One Two Culinary Stew

  2. Pingback: The Crown & Punchbowl – Horningsea, Cambridge (UK) | One Two Culinary Stew

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