The Architect – Cambridge (UK)

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.

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Eric’s Fish & Chips – Thornham, Norfolk (UK)

Eric’s Fish & Chips, located in the pretty village of Thornham on the North Norfolk coast, is home to some of the best fish and chips I’ve tasted. Well-known local chef Eric Snaith opened the restaurant in 2015 and it’s been a huge success with locals and visitors alike.

The minimalist décor is bright, cheerful and modern with a nod to the fish and chip shops of yore. Concrete floors, multi-coloured wall tiles, rustic jam jar lights as well as stools, chairs and tables with hints of vibrant yellow and green all add to the fun and welcoming atmosphere.

The focus is on local, seasonal produce… from the sustainable MSC-certified fish to the potatoes (there is even a sign indicating the potato of the day).

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The Plough – Shepreth, Cambridgeshire (UK)

The Plough is located in Shepreth, one of those villages that have a Hertfordshire postal address but are part of South Cambridgeshire. It’s a lot closer than you think – only a 12-minute train ride from Cambridge to the railway station, then a 5-minute walk from there.

The Plough Shepreth

The Plough Shepreth Interior

This village pub was closed for a long while and after the new owners gave it an extensive transformation, it officially re-opened 2 years ago. Since then, The Plough has been an integral part of the village, not only serving good food and drink, but also hosting a variety of events such as concerts, art exhibitions and Vera’s Gin Club. Check out the What’s On section of their website.

Vera's Gin Club Collage

Vera’s Gin Club, presented by vivacious Lyndsey Spellman, has built quite a following, taking place every third Wednesday of the month from 8pm to 10pm. It’s a two-hour fun tasting of 5 gins, featuring nibbles by The Plough’s kitchen and a large G&T of your choice.

Vera's Gin Club Nibbles

Lyndsey, who transforms into funny and witty “Vera”, has quite the extensive gin knowledge and creates a different presentation each month. Her themes are creative and take us through the history and horticulture of the gins she chooses to feature. I have learned so much about gin through Lyndsey, in such a fun and social way too! To attend one of the monthly Vera’s Gin Club events (priced at £20), just ring The Plough to reserve your space. Vera’s Gin Club will be celebrating its one-year anniversary on 20 July and a little birdie told me there will be a gin cake!

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The Anchor Inn – Morston, Norfolk (UK)

North Norfolk is one of my very favourite places to eat. Its seafood, fish, meat, fruits and vegetables are always fresh to the plate. In my search for new places to indulge in some local food and drink, I came across an interesting article written by James Ramsden for The Guardian, which addresses why we return to our favourite restaurants time and again (read “Why we never get fed up of our favourite restaurants”). The Anchor Inn in Morston was recommended by Sarah Pettegree of Bray’s Cottage. Now Sarah lives in Norfolk and makes the best pork pies on the planet… so I took her word for it and promptly booked a table for 2 at The Anchor Inn.

Anchor Sign

Anchor Exterior

The result? A delicious lunch in a very charming country pub which, by the way, was a one time haven for 19th century smugglers and fishermen!

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The Cholmondeley Arms – Cholmondeley, Malpas, Cheshire (UK)

I’ve been to The Cholmondeley Arms several times since I first discovered it in 2012 on a trip to Chester. It’s located in the village of Cholmondeley, near Malpas in Cheshire. I always make a point to visit this picturesque pub for lunch when I am in Chester or Liverpool as it is on the way back to Cambridge. Paulo and I recently returned to the ‘Chum’ for a much anticipated lunch.

Sign - The Cholmondeley Arms

Sign – The Cholmondeley Arms

Pub - The Cholmondeley Arms

Pub – The Cholmondeley Arms

It’s one of my favourite pubs as the food, drink and ambience are quite special. The pub is a former Victorian schoolhouse built in 1862 and was first converted in 1988. It was refurbished a few years ago by the new owners who celebrated its past as a schoolhouse. The result is a beautifully decorated and charming place to spend a few hours over great food and drink. They have a dizzying selection of gins and some excellent local beers. The menu consists of freshly made classics that are expertly prepared and presented.

Charming interior and exterior

Charming interior and exterior

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