The circumstances that brought Tel Aviv chef Maoz Alonim to Cambridge may not be food related but it was inevitable that he would eventually open a restaurant and contribute to our flourishing foodie scene. Alonim is one of Israel’s most famous chefs renowned the world over for founding Basta in 2007, a small restaurant and wine bar in proximity to Carmel Market in Tel Aviv. With produce straight from the market’s stallholders only a few steps away, the menu changes daily (sometimes twice a day) and consists of main headings with handwritten dish updates. This is Alonim’s concept… a creative menu led by fresh, seasonal ingredients paired with an impressive wine list. And this is precisely what he has brought to Kingston Arms, located just off Cambridge’s vibrant and diverse Mill Road.
Always one to defy expectations, Alonim defines Kingston Arms as Kitchen, Hummus and Wine. He has even gone so far as having the serving presentation designed for their hummus and pita, a clever combo of zisha (Yixing clay) bowls with a round cork cover that doubles as a board for the pita. More on the amazing hummus later!
This independent pub is a real food and wine lovers’ gem. The interior is warm and inviting, with tables by the windows and back door as well as bar seating for perhaps a more wine or beer focused experience. There is a large walled garden with heaters that is pretty much rain proof, a definite advantage for a business that opened during the pandemic. The staff are so friendly and welcoming and there are knowledgeable sommeliers for their well curated wine list.
Espresso Library is a brand new addition to the list of Cambridge independent cafés. Well, it’s more than just a café (see my blog post). Apart from their amazing coffee (sourced by The Coffee Officina), rotating art exhibitions (Loukas Morley is currently the featured artist) and bright, functional space complete with Cycloc bike storage… their delicious breakfast and lunch menus are developed in collaboration with Stella Pereira, a very talented lady who approaches cooking and baking with an artist’s eye. Stella has hosted supper clubs and her culinary creations are a feast for the eyes and palate. I was lucky enough to attend her À Mesa Supper Club last year, which you can read about here.
Photo courtesy of Espresso Library
Espresso Library was the perfect venue for Stella’s “Twelve at EL” brunch this past Sunday. Paulo and I were thrilled to be two of the twelve people included in this very first one. It was nice to reconnect with some of the other food bloggers, namely Bone White China’s Alex and Sian, as well as Nazima and Pierre of Franglais Kitchen (with their two adorable kids in tow). I also got to meet Alan, the man behind the voice at Flavour (Cambridge 105’s radio show dedicated to Cambridge food and drink) and his lovely wife Helen. There were other great people there too, all of whom are fans of Stella’s creations, just like me! Some of the dishes included in her four-course brunch menu had a Portuguese twist and all featured tasty seasonal ingredients.