Provenance Brix + Mortar – Whittlesford, Cambridgeshire (UK)

Since launching their food truck business in 2015, Provenance have been serving delicious restaurant quality food from their Airstream and horsebox trailers all over Cambridgeshire and beyond at events, pop ups and private functions. Now with the addition of a bricks-and-mortar establishment (aptly named Brix + Mortar), Provenance can actually serve their innovative, modern British menu in a physical location – their permanent restaurant, café and deli in Whittlesford.

The location is convenient – it’s just seconds off the M11 and there is ample free parking. The building itself is impressive and there is lots of room, inside and outside. With dedicated spaces for the deli, café and restaurant, Brix + Mortar are able to expand their food offering.

There is a welcoming bar and the café is spacious, with a long communal table in the centre, individual tables on the side and cosy corners by the floating fireplace.

The deli stocks a variety of products from Cambridgeshire farmers and suppliers, such as Grainculture bread from Ely. It’s a convenient little corner to do some shopping, on the way in or the way out. The chiller by the bar stocks some great cheeses and more.

The seasonal, locally sourced food for the café / restaurant is cooked over an open fire in their brick-built wood fired hearth. Its warm glow can be seen from the relatively open kitchen.

This traditional way of cooking is at the heart of Provenance’s menu, at their trailers as well as Brix + Mortar. Fire, fuelled by charcoal and native wood, is considered an ingredient as it adds flavours and aromas that can’t be replicated with an oven or hob.

I was invited to the launch of Brix + Mortar but I was so impressed, I went back for dinner a few days afterwards. The launch was a great opportunity to get a sneak peek at the beautiful space and sample dishes from their menu. The portion sizes in the photos below are smaller than what would normally be served.

We sampled smoked trout, flank steak, beef croquettes, cauliflower shawarma flatbread, leeks with romesco sauce and more. There was even spice cake for dessert.

However, my favourite of the night was the chicken kebab flatbread with sumac onion and yogurt. I loved the textures and flavours. I can’t wait to go back and get a full size serving!

A mere three days after the launch, I was still thinking of all the deliciousness so I made a dinner reservation and went with Paulo and our foodie friends, who were equally impressed. In fact, it was my friends’ first time trying Provenance’s cooking so it’s great that their food is more readily accessible at Brix + Mortar’s permanent premises.

Red, rosé, white and sparkling wines as well as local craft beers and non-alcoholic drinks were on the menu. We chose to wet our whistles with BrewBoard’s Bambino (American Pale Ale 5.1%), Breckland Orchard’s Ginger Beer with Chilli and Cambridge Juice Company’s Apple and Raspberry.

The Spanish ham with grilled chicories and walnut pesto made an excellent starter. The melt-in-your-mouth ham (serrano, I believe) was of superior quality. The smoky flavours of my starter – juniper smoked sea trout with fennel, blood orange and parsley – contrasted nicely with the refreshing citrus notes and crisp texture of the fennel.

Our mains included quality meat, fish, seafood and vegetables: Suffolk leg of lamb with hasselback potatoes, kale, black garlic and gremolata; grilled plaice with coastal herbs, clams, bacon and Norfolk potatoes; grilled stone bass with smoked parsnip, capers and Norfolk shrimps… all expertly cooked on the hearth.

Photo by Aidan Brown

Desserts included pressed chocolate cake with salted caramel and honeycomb. This is one of my favourite desserts from the Airstream and I’m delighted it was on the menu at Brix + Mortar.

I’ll definitely be returning to Brix + Mortar time and again. It has so much to offer, in the day time and in the evening. It’s a great place for families too – their Sunday Lunch is already getting quite popular.

I like the fact that their menu focuses on seasonal produce and changes regularly, but what clearly hasn’t changed is Provenance’s commitment to knowing where their ingredients come from and how the food was produced. Brix + Mortar is a great asset to the local community and a wonderful addition to Cambridgeshire.

This post is based on 2 visits: the invitation to the launch and one return visit. Although the food and drink were complimentary at the launch, all views are my own. My return visit was at my own cost and staff were unaware that my experience would be the basis of a written review. 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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