The Red House – Longstowe, Cambridgeshire (UK)

The Red House in Longstowe, Cambridgeshire awaited its latest incarnation for a long time. An unloved pub that closed for a few years, the new owner painstakingly revitalised the Grade II listed building with a gorgeous refurbishment. Now a fantastic pub and restaurant with a great menu, it was worth the wait!

I recently visited The Red House to have lunch with fellow foodie friends Paola, Alison and Wendy. The attractive exterior made an excellent first impression with its beautiful surroundings, clear signage, well maintained car park and imposing front door.

It only got better on the inside. The interior, divided into cosy eating and drinking areas, still felt spacious. There is a designated dining space but we chose a table by one of the fireplaces in a spot decorated for Christmas. Staff were helpful in getting us settled in and we felt very welcome and at ease.

We all admired the place before we cast our eyes on the menus. In addition to the dining space, there is a nice bar area with a changing beer line-up, a relatively private corner to accommodate larger groups as well as cosy little nooks to sit by the fire and enjoy a chat and a drink. We were even impressed with the loo floor… I have never seen a floor so clean and shiny!

On to the food! The lunch menu offered a great selection of sandwiches but the dinner menu was also available. It’s not often I see a menu where I genuinely have a tough time choosing, as everything sounded so appetising. I particularly liked the menu “Favourites” featuring good, solid pub food such as fish & chips, burgers, pie of the day, mussels, sausages & mash and ham, eggs & chips. More elaborate dishes consisting of venison, pork belly, chicken, hake and various cuts of steak were included in “The Main Event”, ideally for a leisurely dinner.

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The Crown & Punchbowl – Horningsea, Cambridge (UK)

I was honoured to be invited by Cambscuisine to enjoy a meal at their latest venture, The Crown & Punchbowl in Horningsea, Cambridge. Having undergone an extensive refurbishment, it’s another great addition to Cambscuisine’s impressive list of restaurants. I admire how Cambscuisine always get it right in terms of food, service and ambience. I’ve written about some of their other establishments: The Cock in Hemingford Grey (here and here) and SmokeWorks (here).

Photo courtesy of The Crown & Punchbowl

Photo courtesy of The Crown & Punchbowl

I was impressed as soon as I saw this lovely country pub and restaurant. It’s an old 17th century coaching inn with traditional features such as brick fireplaces and original timber beams. It’s been extended over the years and sympathetically restored.

Crown & Punchbowl Collage

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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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No.77 – Caxton, Cambridgeshire (UK)

Once the old Cross Keys village pub in Caxton, No.77 has been transformed into a freehouse and Thai kitchen. It’s been described as a pub full of “local loveliness and faraway flavours” and I can see why. The pub retains its village feel whilst offering a taste of the exotic. There was a gap in the market for a good Thai restaurant just outside Cambridge (this place is only 13 miles from the town centre) and No.77 certainly delivered. A complete refurbishment was commissioned by the new owners, not only inside but outside as well. It is now definitely eye-catching!

77Sign

As soon as we entered, we were struck by the tantalising aromas emanating from the kitchen as well as the sumptuous ambience and decor. Cosy and atmospheric with its dark blue and copper tones, we immediately relaxed as we were shown to a table with surprisingly comfortable velvet cinema seats.The crystal decanter chandeliers illuminated the place and reflected light onto the furnishings, including the stunning copper bar. All of our senses were intrigued.

Tables

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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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