I first wrote about The Architect in 2014 (here) when it re-opened, following an extensive refurbishment and change of name (it was previously the County Arms). The Architect’s independent tenancy changed recently and after closing for a spruce up and menu overhaul, the pub has had another re-opening.
Cambridgeshire locals Luke Edwards and Stuart Tuck, who now run this great pub in Castle Hill, retained The Architect’s name, logo and many of the beautifully designed features, such as the bar and fireplaces. They bring with them their combined experience running The Blue Lion, a successful and award-winning pub in Hardwick, which they now run alongside The Architect.
The Architect has a completely different vibe and is the only pub in Cambridge dedicated to fish & chips and pie & mash. Architects are designers so the pub’s “design your own meal” concept is quite fitting.
For starters or just snacks with drinks, the menu features options to design your own sharing board. There is even a scotch egg taster which includes three different types (classic, smoked haddock and spiced falafel) with half pint beer pairings.
The main courses focus on two pub classics – fish & chips and pie & mash – but the innovative options give the menu a real twist. The menu is a great visual guide through the various combinations. There is lots of choice and the fish & chips combinations offer more than just fish, with vegetarian options such as halloumi and seasonal veggies.
The fabulous bar – a must for any pub – offers a great range of gins, craft beers and guest ales, which can be enjoyed with a meal or in one of the pub’s cosy areas.
Paulo and I were invited to a preview the day before their grand opening to experience their new food concept for ourselves. We chose three items from the Snacks & Share section of the menu, which were hearty portions. There was definitely no skimping on serving sizes!
A tasty lemon & seaweed aioli was a good match for the crispy and lightly spiced whitebait. The popcorn crayfish, with its accompanying Cajun remoulade, proved to be an addictive snack.
The classic scotch egg, served with English mustard, had a nice runny yolk and a crunchy exterior. Spot on.
There was a good selection of condiments, including three varieties of homemade salts: chilli, herb and garlic. And can I just say hooray for the tomato shaped ketchup dispensers? I love those!
I went though the menu’s Fish options and decided on haddock, which was fresh and flaky. There were six different batters available (three of those gluten free) and I chose the Cajun spiced panko. This covering was different than I was used to (darker and coarser) but I still enjoyed it.
As it’s a fish & chips dish, hand-cut chips are already included in the price but there are a variety of sides for an extra fee that are worth getting. The lightly pickled onion rings provided a tangy contrast of flavour without being overpowering. I remained traditional with their homemade rustic tartare sauce but there were a variety of original alternatives, such as pineapple & chilli ketchup, fennel & lemon marmalade and chipotle relish.
Paulo decided to forgo the meat in the Pie options and went for the Architect’s fish pie topped with aged cheddar mash. He chose the hand cut chips as his Potato option (no point going for the mash options with this particular dish). His extra Side consisted of delicious green beans with garlic & bacon. The choice of Sauce was a succulent triple onion gravy.
The dessert menu was a pleasant surprise and we chose the crumble as well as the seasonal fruit pie, both served with cream in little pitchers. Paulo said their espresso was excellent too.
We enjoyed The Architect’s concept of a simple yet exciting menu that can be tailored to exact specifications. Matched with a cosy ambience, great drinks and friendly service, The Architect has designed a winning combination.
The Architect invited me to attend the launch. The food and Prosecco were complimentary but the G&Ts were at my own cost. I did not receive compensation for my review. All views are my own.
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