I’ve been raving about Steak & Honour for years and have been stalking tracking their burger van since it first hit the streets of Cambridge a few years ago. It was so popular, a second Citroen H van was added to keep up with the demand for their delicious gourmet burgers. In January 2017, Steak & Honour launched the long awaited restaurant on Wheeler Street, next door to the Corn Exchange.
Cambridge is burger heaven with Steak & Honour’s two vans trading at various locations as well as the bricks and mortar site. There is even a handy Steak & Honour app to keep track of their daily schedules and receive restaurant offers and rewards.
The restaurant reflects the street food experience with its open kitchen so you can see the chefs in action while you are queueing or waiting for your meal. There are about 40 seats spread out over three floors, mostly on the first and second floors up the colourful stairs.
Those of you familiar with the best of the Cambridge street food scene already know Steak & Honour and Jack’s Gelato. They formed a dining collective and named it Over The Tracks, a nod to the location of their Cambridge HQ tucked away in a winding industrial estate, just past the train tracks.
Leo Riethoff and David Underwood of Steak & Honour and Jack van Praag of Jack’s Gelato don’t just flip burgers and scoop ice cream. They are proper chefs who expertly create their menus and have worked in some of the best professional kitchens. Over The Tracks is their opportunity to expand their culinary offerings, and in Jack’s case, show what he can do away from the churn.
“Over The Tracks is quality, seasonal and local cooking in an informal and communal setting. With OTT, the guys are taking their product off the street and placing it in another context.” (Eat Cambridge Official Website)
This well organised fringe event for Eat Cambridge, held on 20 May 2015, was beautifully set up inside and outside the industrial unit. The bar was housed inside, along with several large communal tables and charming mismatched chairs. The minimalist décor and ambience worked well in the overall context. The chilled out sounds of instrumental hip hop music added to the urban atmosphere.
Our latest foray into the world of grill and burger restaurants led us to SoLIta in Manchester’s Northern Quarter. The name of the restaurant, complete with capital L and I, is a reference to its location “south of Little Italy”. I think of it as sounding a bit like “so little” as we arrived on a Sunday afternoon to a tiny, packed (but cheerful) room on the ground floor. Fortunately, the layout is deceiving as there are more tables on the floors above. I did notice that there are additional spaces downstairs as well as across the street, so they are well equipped to handle the flow of customers at peak times.
The queue was already forming out the door and whilst there is very little space to wait inside the restaurant, the hostess handled the flow of people extremely well. After a short wait, we were given a table on the narrow first floor. Compared to the ambience of the ground floor, with its funky décor and comics on the walls, it was a little disappointing. However, once we settled in and glanced at the impressive menu, we soon forgot about the ambience.