The Flying Pig is primarily known for its quality beer and live music, including their annual Pigfest charity music festival. However, this independent pub also serves lunch Monday to Friday, from noon to 2pm. I was kindly invited by the chef, Callum Templar, to try the menu.
I have to admit that I never thought of The Flying Pig as a lunch spot but it makes perfect sense. The pub is located on Hills Road near the station and office buildings so it’s a great location for the lunch crowd to come in for some good food in a cosy atmosphere. It’s certainly a different experience from lunching in a café or eating ‘al desko’ – a little break from the norm, perhaps?
The Flying Pig has bags of character with its extensive collection of porcine keepsakes and old posters adorning the walls and ceiling. There’s so much history there – in fact, there has been a pub on this Hills Road site since the 1840s. The landlords, Matt and Justine Hatfield, have been living above the pub for over 20 years and have made the place a hub for local residents and workers alike.
It’s a small place but there are additional tables in the back room as well as outside in the enclosed garden.
The pub still manages to serve as a much needed live music venue several nights a week.
The regular lunch menu is displayed on blackboards above the bar. All the “pub grub” favourites are there: burgers (beef, chicken and veggie); baps with sausages & onion as well as bacon & mushroom; jacket potatoes; a variety of sandwiches and toasties; sausages & chips (& beans); and sides such as chips, onion rings, potato wedges and cheesy chips.
The daily specials, listed on a separate board, were too good to resist. I went for the beef short rib with smoked garlic butternut & sage mash, caramelised shallot and jus. Paulo chose the buffalo chicken burger dressed with Stilton sauce and buffalo mayo, served with ‘slaw and fries.
Paulo selected a beer from Cambridge brewery Moonshine. We placed our food and drinks order at the bar. Staff were so friendly and we didn’t feel out of place amongst the regulars. We sat at a lovely sun drenched table near the back window and admired all the memorabilia whilst we waited.
Our dishes were delicious, expertly prepared and beautifully presented – better than any pub chain! The beef short rib (sourced from Mill Road Butchers) was fall-off-the-bone tender, complemented by a rich and silky jus. The mash had a lovely combination of flavours from the smoked garlic, butternut squash and sage.
The buffalo mayo added some piquancy to the chicken burger, offset by the deliciously pungent Stilton sauce. A winning burger, served with fresh, crispy ‘slaw and proper fries.
Chef Callum Templar told me that, starting in the new year, he will be doing a Sunday Roast once a month, which will be accompanied by live music. Now that’s exciting foodie news!
The Flying Pig is such an asset to Cambridge. The history is so fascinating, we bought ‘A Disorderly House’, a book on its colourful, murky and occasionally bawdy past. Its author Nick Barraclough, a regular of the pub for decades, discovered that his great-great grandparents ran the pub in the 1870s and his great grandmother was born there. The book can be purchased at The Flying Pig for £12.50.
The Flying Pig still needs to be saved though. It’s heartening to learn that developers Pace Investments will no longer be completely demolishing the pub. However, only its façade and front bar will be retained. The back of the pub would be demolished and exclusive use of the beer garden removed. With this reduced capacity for trade, the future viability of the pub is a real concern. The pub landlords Matt, Justine and their family would lose their living accommodations as the pub’s toilets and kitchen would be moved upstairs.
There is a petition that can still be signed and updates are posted there too. There have been two public consultations, back in June 2019 before the revised plans and another currently ongoing (5 and 7 December). There are updates on the December consultation on Save The Flying Pig‘s Facebook page.
The Flying Pig is a much loved Cambridge institution and one of the few remaining independent pubs in this town. Let’s hope a balance can be found between innovation and history.
I was invited by the chef for a complimentary lunch. Drinks at The Flying Pig as well as the book were at my own cost. I did not receive compensation for my review. All views are my own.
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