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.
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.
Paulo and I met Meggy and Chan a few times at foodie events in the past. I’ve been engaging with Bridges on social media, which they do quite well, even scooping Gold in the “Use of Social Media for Business” category at the Cambridgeshire Digital Awards. We finally had the opportunity to pop into Bridges for lunch. As soon as we walked in, we were impressed at its bright and cheerful interior. There are only a few tables to eat in and I noticed most people got their orders to take away. We settled into a table for 2 and took some time to absorb all of the tantalising menu choices before we queued to order. Wow… there was a great selection of sandwiches, such as open faced ones, paninis and freshly filled baguettes with vegetarian and vegan options too! Soups of the day, stir fries, fresh salad boxes and an extensive juice and smoothie menu rounded out our range of lunch options.
We both went for the Mixed Berry smoothie with milk, ice and banana as the base. We noticed that the smoothies tasted less sweet than we were used to but we both decided they were a lot more delicious this way. No sugar at all is added but you can ask for a spoonful of honey for a sweeter taste.
The soup of the day was organic leek and potato, served piping hot with warm brown bread. I find that sometimes soups are salted too much for my taste and I was happy that it wasn’t. I use very little salt in my food so this was perfect for me. It’s easy to add salt to your preference but impossible to take salt out so there is really no need to add a lot of salt when preparing the dish. Makes sense! I think that’s what struck me with the lack of sugar in the smoothie and low salt in the soup… the absence of these overly used seasonings, making me realise that they are really not needed to appreciate flavours and textures.
My open sandwich was delightful… brie and tomato served on thick-cut seeded brown toasted bread, topped with a generous amount of crispy bacon bits. The accompanying salad wasn’t merely there as an afterthought. It featured very fresh leaves, sliced tomatoes and a nice dressing.
Paulo had the same delicious side salad with his toasted panini, featuring tuna with Mexican flavours and cheddar. He too was impressed by the food’s freshness.
As we were finishing our lunch, Chan appeared behind the counter and we said hello. He was kind enough to sit and chat with us for a little bit. I had listened to Chan’s interview on Flavour, the food and drink programme on Cambridge 105 radio where he talked about Bridges’ upcoming festive menu, including a low sugar chocolate roulade (Christmas log). As luck would have it, he had been in the kitchen downstairs making one to be photographed and kindly offered me and Paulo a slice.
Our first impression was how light the chocolate cake was. Not at all stodgy or heavy. This is because Chan doesn’t use flour and mixes the eggs and egg whites separately for optimum lightness. And of course, he is a master at the folding technique to make the batter light and airy. I knew from the interview that he used a lot less sugar in developing the recipe but even if I didn’t, I wouldn’t have at all noticed the lack of sweetness in the roulade.
December will be an exciting and tasty month at Bridges as their festive menu will feature mince pies, gingerbread biscuits (also lighter in sugar), open sandwiches with turkey, sausage, cranberry and spinach as well as soups with organic ingredients such as beetroot, lentils and broccoli. Their focus is healthy eating, using fresh produce with all the colours of the seasonal period. Festive indeed!
You can listen to the Flavour interview here. Bridges come on at the 33:09 mark.
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. Lunch was at my own cost. Although the chocolate roulade was complimentary, all views are my own. I did not receive compensation for my review.
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