The Boot – Histon, Cambridge (UK)

The Boot, located in Histon near Cambridge, is the latest addition to The White Brasserie Company’s portfolio of pubs in affluent villages and towns. The company, launched by celebrity chef Raymond Blanc (he sits on the board), has already accumulated a whopping 17 brasserie pubs in the last 4 years. The Boot is the latest addition and the first in Cambridgeshire. Refurbishing tired, old pubs into high end establishments with good, expertly prepared food is clearly a formula that works and The Boot is no exception. C’est magnifique!

I booked a table for 4 people on a Sunday evening and the place was buzzing when we arrived at 6pm. I was almost sorry to walk past the cosy pub area with its comfy seats and fireplace but then the space opened up with a real wow factor. Past the big, welcoming bar we were led to our table in the pub’s new extension – a stunning oak-beamed dining room filled with customers. My photos don’t do the place justice – I concentrated on the empty areas at the end of the evening so as not to bother my fellow diners.

It had been a busy day so we were told that some of the menu items had already sold out or were on the verge of selling out. As a newly opened brasserie adjusting to their supply and demand, this was understandable and we appreciated being informed at the start. No matter as there was plenty to choose from, including the daily specials.

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Café Rouge’s Spring Menu – Cambridge (UK)

Spring is in the air and with that comes an appetite for seasonal flavours. Café Rouge’s Executive Chef Bruno Balle, inspired by his recent travels across France, created a new Spring Menu featuring à la carte dishes and a set menu sourced from the best ingredients and suppliers. Having enjoyed Café Rouge’s excellent Autumn Menu last year (I wrote about it here), Paulo and I were delighted to return to the Cambridge location to sample the new menu.

I’ve been to other Café Rouge restaurants but I love the Cambridge location. It sits among Bridge Street’s historic buildings and even has a bicycle themed entrance to their secret garden.

The inside is quite charming and cosy with a pleasant and relaxing ambience. In fact, if you book after 7:30pm, you can enjoy your table for the rest of the evening, embracing the French way of life of taking your time and savouring the dining experience.

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Menu Tasting at The Cock – Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire (UK)

The Cock in the beautiful village of Hemingford Grey is one of the fabulous Cambridgeshire restaurants operated by Cambscuisine. I’m already a huge fan of one of their places – SmokeWorks, which I raved about here and here. I have been meaning to try out their other restaurants so I was delighted when Jessica Donnithorne, who’s in charge of marketing and people development at Cambscuisine, invited me to a sneak peek of The Cock’s new à la carte starters and mains menu, which launches on 14 May, 2015. I was impressed, not only by the delicious 20 or so dishes served, but by the very well organised, professional and hardworking team. It was also great to meet one of the owners, Oliver Thain, as well as head chef Wil Findlay who designed the new menu. I was joined by fellow blogger Miss Sue Flay, who made a rather neat video of the tasting session. You can view it here.

Tasting table

The Cock’s ethos is to provide high end casual dining and they’ve definitely hit the mark with their menu and decor. The food is guided by the seasons and there is an emphasis on sourcing fresh, local ingredients. It’s no wonder The Cock has been named the 2015 Cambridgeshire Dining Pub of the Year in the Good Pub Guide.

The Cock Collage 2

It’s worth noting that the new à la carte starters and mains menu is mostly gluten free, which will please coeliacs, allergy sufferers and those with dietary preferences. There are plenty of meat-free options too, such as risotto, polenta, truffle gnocchi and smoked camembert.

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