The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK)

A few months ago, I was kindly invited to sample The Cock’s new à la carte starters and mains menu, designed by talented head chef Wil Findlay. I was seriously impressed and raved all about it here. I also vowed to return and experience the restaurant as a customer. I had that opportunity on Monday!

The Cock sign

The Cock side sign

The Cock, which is one of the restaurants operated by Cambscuisine, isn’t one of their Cambridge locations. It’s located in the picturesque village of Hemingford Grey in Cambridgeshire (out Huntingdon way) and it is definitely worth the drive. Its focus is on high end casual dining, with no sign of pretentiousness. Reservations are strongly recommended as The Cock has been garnering rave reviews and has even been named the 2015 Cambridgeshire Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide.

Collage The Cock

Paulo and I arrived 10 minutes before the restaurant opened at 6:30pm for dinner so we were able to enjoy a drink in the cosy pub, which has a separate entrance but still connected inside for staff to make their way from one section to another. The Cock’s building dates back to the 17th century so some parts have a quirky layout but it is all quite charming.

The pub had some nice ales on tap and Paulo chose the Wagtail, brewed by Great Oakley (3.9%). I had a few sips and the flavour was light, fruity and hoppy with a bitter finish.

The Cock fireplace

Bread

We were seated at a table for two at the front of the restaurant by the fireplace, given our menus and some fresh, warm bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar for dipping. I had already sampled all of the items on the à la carte starters and mains menu at last May’s tasting so it was hard to make a choice because I knew every single dish was scrumptious!

Half pint prawns

Whilst we pondered the menu and fish board, we ordered a half pint of prawns from the “To Kick Off” menu. We were warned that they would be served still in the shell and we would have to peel them ourselves, but that’s what we expected and preferred anyway (much more fresh tasting). The accompanying harissa mayonnaise was deliciously creamy with a nice spicy kick.

Scallops

Although there were many delicious options for our starters, we both decided on the seared scallops with honey and sesame glazed pork belly, red pepper purée and sesame brittle. It was beautifully plated but definitely not a matter or style over substance. The scallops were perfectly seared into a golden crust, revealing a tender and succulent inside. Spot on.

The scallops went very well with the cubed pork belly. The sesame seeds on top on the cubes added texture and a subtle, nutty flavour. The luscious red pepper purée enhanced all of the flavours and the sesame brittle took the whole dish to a new level. I ate the brittle last so I could finish on a sweet and crunchy note.

Sirloin Steak

Cambscuisine restaurants are revered for their excellent meat dishes and The Cock is one of them. I had the 9oz sirloin steak with chips, herb roasted tomato and Café de Paris butter. The herbed butter was drizzled on top of my steak, which was cooked exactly as I requested – medium.

Herb roasted tomato

I was particularly impressed with the accompanying chips and herb roasted tomato. Sometimes tomato accompaniments can be merely a garnish afterthought. However, this tasty tomato, cut in two, was an integral part of the dish and the chunky chips were perfect… crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside.

Beer and fizz

Paulo enjoyed the Wagtail beer so much he ordered another one. I had a glass of excellent fizz from the “To Kick Off” menu: the Blanquette de Limoux sparkling wine.

Butler Steak

Paulo ordered the massive 14oz butler steak (known as “flat iron” in North America) with the same herbed butter and accompaniments as my sirloin. He enjoyed every bite of his dish too!

Rocket salad

We made the wise decision to order a side salad and we were very impressed by its flavours and size… big enough for two to share. Some tasty truffle oil was drizzled over the rocket leaves topped with a scattering of toasted pine nuts and shaved parmesan. Such distinctive flavours that complemented each other perfectly! Some thought was put in creating this salad… certainly not a boring, generic side dish.

Menu Puddings

We were full at this point but I was very curious about the dessert menu, as it was discussed at last May’s menu tasting but not ready for sampling. The dessert menu featured a varied selection of sweet temptations, as well as a cheese board, pudding wines, whiskies, liqueurs and hot drinks.

White chocolate lemon mousse

I couldn’t resist ordering the white chocolate and lemon mousse with mango and lime salsa. The sweet and citrusy flavours of the mango and lime really brought out the mousse’s lemon flavour. The creamy mousse was topped with gorgeous piece of high quality chocolate.

Raspberry Creme Brulee

Paulo’s raspberry and Pimms crème brûlée was served with a delectable raspberry cookie. I just had to have a little taste of his delicious dessert… all in the name of research for the blog, of course!

Table at The Cock

Collage The Cock Garden

Collage The Cock Musicians

The Cock strikes the right balance by offering high end dining in a casual and friendly setting. The menu is complex enough to be interesting but not pretentious and overly fussy. Simply put, it’s nice food with nice people in a nice place.

The Cock garden

The Cock has become one of our favourite places with its tantalising menu, pleasant staff and cosy ambience. The restaurant area is nicely laid out with the added bonus of a lovely back garden and a cosy pub. They are doing everything right!

The owners, managers or staff did not invite me to visit this establishment and were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. It is based on my experience at my own cost and I did not receive compensation for my review.

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.

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One thought on “The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK)

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

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