I’ve been following the progress over the past year of Cambridge Cookery School’s move to new premises and I’m delighted that the café is up and running. It’s a bright and airy space and it’s hard to believe that almost a year ago, it was just the bare bones of the old Rattee & Kett building. It’s located on Harrison Drive, off Hills Road via Homerton College.
When the refurbishment was complete, the café’s adjoining cookery school was up and running right away and I had the pleasure of attending a few classes (I wrote about them here and here). I had a sneak peek of the café back then and I couldn’t wait for it to open. The full potential of the café is still in its infancy as there are two large construction projects going on. Once all of the builds are finished (residences, student accommodations, offices, etc) the café will be in a better position to cater to the people living, studying and working in the area. This includes a mobile coffee van.
The café’s décor, inspired by Scandinavian design, is stunning yet functional (there are power points for laptops and mobiles built into the seating). Bright, bold colours lend a cheerful air to the space.
Bim’s Kitchen are known for adding exciting ingredients to their African inspired sauces and condiments. In my latest collaboration with Bim’s Kitchen to develop recipes for their website, I concocted this pasta dish with their delicious African Tomato & Tigernut Relish.
I tried tigernuts at one of Bim’s Kitchen demonstrations and I was surprised at their sweet taste and chewy texture. In fact, tigernuts aren’t nuts but tubers of the yellow nutsedge, a grass-like plant. They’re healthy too… high in iron, potassium, magnesium and vitamins C and E.
The African Tomato & Tigernut Relish contains crunchy tigernuts, tomatoes, spices, Anglesey sea salt and chilli for a bit of a kick (it’s labelled “medium chilli heat”). The relish went well with my bolognese-type sauce and enhanced the flavours of the meat.
The Flitch of Bacon is located in Little Dunmow, a pretty village in the heart of Essex. I’ve been following its progress for quite a while. It’s an exciting new venture by Michelin-starred chef Daniel Clifford of Midsummer House in Cambridge.
We received a warm welcome and I was pleased to see that it wasn’t a snooty gastropub (but let’s not use that word, shall we?). The atmosphere in this beautifully restored pub was friendly and inviting. There is even an informal bar at the front with cosy seating by the fireplace.
I loved the casual yet stylish décor with a mixture of plush seats and wooden chairs. The flowery wallpaper added the perfect contrast and the lighting set a warm and inviting tone to our evening.
A long overdue lunch date with talented Cambridge artist Naomi Davies brought us to Osteria Waggon and Horses in Milton. Naomi had visited before and was keen to go back. She’s a real foodie so I take her recommendations seriously. I was intrigued by the innovative menu at Osteria Waggon and Horses. It’s Italian food with a modern twist, steeped in tradition yet evolving into some exceptional culinary creations.
Osteria Waggon and Horses is a real stand out, not only in Milton. It’s a destination restaurant that’s worth the drive to experience its inventive cuisine.
Their three course set lunch is a bargain at £15, given the complexities of the dishes and quality of the ingredients. Naomi and I are no strangers to Italy. We both speak the language (I’m of Italian heritage and Naomi lived in Italy for a few years). However, we still had to ask for more detailed descriptions of some of the menu items. This isn’t a negative point as Italy’s cuisine varies greatly throughout the regions.
I was honoured to be invited by Cambscuisine to enjoy a meal at their latest venture, The Crown & Punchbowl in Horningsea, Cambridge. Having undergone an extensive refurbishment, it’s another great addition to Cambscuisine’s impressive list of restaurants. I admire how Cambscuisine always get it right in terms of food, service and ambience. I’ve written about some of their other establishments: The Cock in Hemingford Grey (here and here) and SmokeWorks (here).
Photo courtesy of The Crown & Punchbowl
I was impressed as soon as I saw this lovely country pub and restaurant. It’s an old 17th century coaching inn with traditional features such as brick fireplaces and original timber beams. It’s been extended over the years and sympathetically restored.