Cambridge Artisan Launch – Cambridge (UK)

On 19 November 2015, I had the pleasure of attending a momentous occasion: the official launch of online gift box and hamper company Cambridge Artisan, held at the Bridge Street branch of Cambridge Wine Merchants. Cambridge Artisan is the brainchild of enterprising 15-year-old Amélise Burr who has been wanting to start her own business for years. Her goal is to not only earn money to fund her university education (she aims to be a naval architect), it’s also to showcase independent local produce right here at our doorstep in Cambridgeshire and East Anglia in general.

Photo courtesy of Cambridge Artisan

Photo courtesy of Cambridge Artisan

Cambridge Artisan Sign

With the full support of her father Robert Burr, who runs the popular mobile street food trailer Churros Bar with his wife Charlotte, they set off to source the variety of excellent products from local artisan producers. The result? Some of the very best food and drink the region has to offer… all of it available in a one-stop online shop and delivered right to your door. There are 30 local producers gathered under Cambridge Artisan’s virtual roof and best of all, their products can be accessed even when the markets are closed. There is a choice of several themed gift hampers or boxes and you can also purchase particular products separately, thus ensuring you are stocking your cupboards and “keeping it local”.

Cambridge Artisan Products

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Bridges – Cambridge (UK)

Bridges is located on Cambridge’s bustling Bridge Street at the corner of Portugal Place. With its throngs of pedestrians and cyclists, you may be forgiven for going right past, thinking this is just another café or sandwich shop. Far from it! Slow down and take a look at its striking heritage grey exterior, colourful front window display and lemon slice logo evoking freshness. This is precisely what Bridges is all about… fresh, healthy food and juices with ingredients from local suppliers.

Photo courtesy of Bridges

Photo courtesy of Bridges

Founded in 1996 by Chan and Meggy Yip, Bridges has been going from strength to strength. It is very much a reflection of the Yips’ personal ethos of healthy eating. In fact, they were runner up in the Food & Drink Hero of the Year category of the Cambridge Food & Drink Awards 2015. Chan’s handmade sweet treats are always low in sugar so even these little indulgences are healthier options.

Bridges Table

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The High Tea Club – Cambridge (UK)

The High Tea Club is a new addition to Cambridge’s vibrant Mill Road, tucked away just over the railway bridge. Created by sisters Danielle and Jessica Xiao, The High Tea Club is a beautiful space with a little something for everyone, serving breakfast, lunch, all day brunch, afternoon tea and cocktails/drinks with an evening nibbles menu. However tea is the focus, offering a staggering variety of imported teas that aren’t available anywhere else. It’s a veritable tea lover’s paradise.

Tea

The menus are extensive and quite varied… from English breakfast, through afternoon tea to exotic tea based cocktails and everything in between. It’s just crazy enough to work. After all, The High Tea Club is very much a reflection of Mill Road… lively, diverse and fun! I attended to the press launch on 29 October. I liked it so much, I couldn’t wait to go back and I did, a couple of weeks later.

Collage The High Tea Club

At the launch, I was offered a choice of tea. I had Jasmine Chai consisting of black tea, ginger, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, white pepper, jasmine petals, rose petals, lavender petals, clove and nutmeg. It was packed with flavour and served in a lovely cup and saucer.

Jasmine Chai tea

Some people at the launch ordered one of the spectacular flowering teas where the tea slowly opens into a flower once hot water is added. They are served in clear glass teapots so you can enjoy the show! When I went back to The High Tea Club a few weeks later, I made sure to get the Mountain Dream Flowering tea. It was not only gorgeous, it was a very enjoyable cup of tea.

Flowering Tea

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Cambridge Cookery School’s La Journée Chocolaterie with Javier Cervantes – Cambridge (UK)

I was delighted to attend another one of the fabulous classes at the prestigious, award-winning Cambridge Cookery School (I wrote all about the Beginners’ Bread class here). This time it was a Chocolate Masterclass, titled La Journée Chocolaterie (loosely translated as “A Day of Chocolate”). I love chocolate so how could I resist? The class was taught by Pâtissier Javier Cervantes, a London-based, Spanish-born chef with an extensive culinary resumé that includes teaching experience.

Collage Cambridge Cookery School

Javier Cervantes

I was a last minute replacement so the masterclass was a little out of my league as I don’t really bake. However, I have to say that in spite of my limited baking skills, Javier Cervantes had an excellent teaching technique. It was a real privilege to tap into the knowledge and expertise of such an accomplished pâtissier. Javier explained and showed us the various techniques. The class was interactive and Javier ensured that we had the opportunity to ask questions.

Collage Javier Cervantes

We were a group of ten people and worked in pairs at our own workstations. My teammate was the lovely Barbara who, thankfully, was very patient and understanding about my lack of baking knowledge. We learned to make Hazelnut & White Chocolate Mousse Torte and Mozart Cake, including all of the steps involved in assembling these desserts.

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The House – Cambridge (UK)

The House is the latest Thai restaurant to open in Cambridge. Described as an authentic Thai restaurant, this is The House’s second location, the first being in Norwich. Its location on Cambridge’s busy Regent Street is ideal and we popped in to check out the food for ourselves.

The House sign

The House Table

We arrived shortly after they opened for dinner at 5:30pm (they close between 3pm and 5:30pm) so we were able to get a table without having to wait. The place filled up quickly afterwards. We received a warm and friendly greeting and were shown to our table and given the food and drinks menu.

Collage Decor

The House Seating

The restaurant is bright, cheerful and nicely decorated. The décor is inspired by the colours of bamboo, with simple but colourful paintings hanging on light grey walls. Off the main entrance there is another room with additional seating featuring light blue padded benches along the wall. I think this is a nicer area to be seated, especially for groups of 4 or more. However, that area wasn’t available at the time we arrived. We were seated in the main area by the bar at a table for 2 with a slightly odd layout as the chairs did not face each other. One of the chairs faced the wall but they made up for this with mirrors so it felt spacious. We soon got used to the odd seating and made ourselves comfortable.

Collage The House Decor

Service was always with a big smile… and prompt too. We ordered our drinks: Chang beer for Paulo and a glass of Robinia Pinot Grigio for me, which was a good match for spicy food. I liked that wine could be ordered by the glass and in three different options – 125ml, 175ml and 250ml. Guess which size I ordered? That’s right, go large or go home!

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The Chequers – Orwell, Cambridgeshire (UK)

I have been meaning to pop into The Chequers in Orwell for quite a while now as I don’t live too far away. Sometimes when places are practically at your doorstep you put them off thinking you’ll get to them eventually. I’m certainly guilty of doing just that, but fortunately I have remedied the oversight and will be a faithful customer from now on.

The Chequers Exterior

The Chequers Wine

The Chequers is located in the beautiful village of Orwell. Don’t let the postal address deceive you. It’s listed as being in Hertfordshire but Orwell is really a South Cambridgeshire village, only 8 miles from the city of Cambridge. Actually, its location is ideal, practically of equal distance between Royston and Cambridge and very close to historic Wimpole Hall.

Collage The Chequers

Owned by David and Tina Cheng, The Chequers is a village pub and restaurant with a nice, cosy bar but it also offers an astounding menu in its small dining room. David Cheng is a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef with an impressive culinary resumé, including a stint at Downing College in Cambridge. Paulo and I visited at dinnertime and the whole team, from the kitchen brigade to service staff, worked really well together. The food and service were flawless. I have to mention our excellent waiter Sean, who was friendly, professional and helpful.

The Chequers Tables

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