Codigo de Barra restaurant for modern fine dining in Cadiz, Costa de la Luz, Spain

 

cadiz imageThis month Steve and I had a fabulous holiday in the stunningly beautiful city of Cadiz. We visited lots of bars, cafes and restaurants and enjoyed many tapas dishes but eating at Codigo de Barra was a truly memorable experience which deserves to be shared.cadiz 6 (3)

On our last evening we were looking for somewhere special to eat and we just happened to discover Codigo de Barra, an exceptional fine dining restaurant which was located in a quiet square very close to where we were staying at the Senator Cadiz Spa Hotel.

Dutch Chef Leon Griffioen was full of surprises and his innovative dishes were worthy of a Michelin star for both sensational taste and artistic creativity.  This restaurant most certainly had the wow factor!

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Codiga de Barra has a modest unassuming frontage and is located in Plaza de Candelaria, Cadiz
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The stylish interior of the restaurants minimalist dining room featured upstanding spoons in lumps of rock which was a quirky signature touch!
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Codigo de Barra also has a lovely outside seating area in Plaza de Candelaria
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It was fascinating to see the chefs at work in the minuscule kitchen which unusually was sited in the front of the restaurants dining area 
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Nuestra aceltuna – this olive amuse bouche was a taste explosion in the mouth!
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The second complimentary amuse bouche was Yoghurt de algas – seaweed foam

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Steve’s starter of  Langostinos Urium – garlic prawns with a dash of Jerez sherry was served in an attractive china bowl

My starter of Tortillitas de Camarones – Shrimp fritter sticks were presented in an unusual way which was typical of the house style.

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My main course of Merluza – perfectly cooked hake served with a smoked butter sauce
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Steve’s main course of Cordero – succulent roast lamb with lavender and aubergines
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Instead of a dessert Steve completed his meal with a glass of Valveran 20 Manz, a sweet Spanish wine
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I couldn’t resist this delightful dessert of caramelised French toast with Goats cheese ice cream, honey and ginger 

Because we dined early we were lucky to get a table without a reservation. Our meal was a delight and surprisingly inexpensive for one of such outstanding quality. (The bill with drinks came to 80 Euros.) The service was excellent too and it’s not surprising to find that Codigo de Barra has been established for eight years and is a hugely popular and successful restaurant. It’s a must for all foodies if you are visiting Cadiz. Strongly recommended and next time I will be sure to order the taster menu because all the dishes coming out of this kitchen looked divine!

Plaza de Candelaria is a beautiful quiet square

Codigo de Barra Tapas Bar and Restaurant

Plaza Candelaria 12 

11005 Cádiz

Spain 

Tel: 635 5333 30331880735_670425286621739_7344266708904837120_o

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Restaurant 22 for a birthday feast: Cambridge May 2018

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Last week we dined at highly acclaimed Restuarant 22 to celebrate Steve’s birthday. It has been taken over recently by new owners and I was keen to see what they had done to the place and to try the food after reading so many good things about it. We chose the 7-course tasting menu and were impressed from start to finish as the food and service were faultless. It was a memorable fine dining experience par excellence in a quiet intimate ambience which is perfect for a date night or a special celebration.

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Elegant and stylish Restaurant 22 is located on Chesterton Road in Cambridge
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Nocellara Olives to start the 7-course tasting feast
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Cornish mackerel, English wasabi, and radish was the 2nd of three ‘snacks’
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Truffle macaroni cheese. This was my dish of the night and we were only on appetisers!
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Shallot brioche and cultured butter, Guinness bread with Guinness butter, were both served warm and utterly delicious!
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The Amuse-bouche was a velouté of Broccoli, goats curd and lemon

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This starter of Cambridgeshire asparagus, ricotta, and Hen of the Wood was most appetising

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The attractive fish course of Cambridge Distillery Gin cured salmon, with burnt cucumber and sorrel was an exceptionally tasty dish

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The main course of Aylesbury duck, kaffir lime, black garlic and gooseberry was so good that Steve finished mine off as well!
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It came as no surprise that Steve chose the cheese board as an additional dish for a £12 supplement! He enjoyed Sparkenhoe Vintage Red Leicester, Montgomery’s Cheddar, Coulommiers Donge, Cropwell Bishop Stilton, and Innes Bosworth Ash Log served with smoked plum chutney, oatcakes and rye bread.
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The pretty pre-dessert of sheep’s yoghurt, bitter orange and fennel was an interesting mix of taste and texture
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An exquisite dessert of dark chocolate, hazelnut and brown butter completed our meal

IMG_20180518_2208480.jpg22 is the epitome of elegance, charm and class with very friendly and knowledgeable staff. Small and intimate I would recommend this new fine dining restaurant as the perfect place for a date night or special occasion dining. (They have a private dining room upstairs as well.) We received a warm and inviting welcome and Steve thought the birthday card from the team was a nice personal touch which added to the occasion. The 7-course taster menu is reasonably priced and excellent value at £45 a head for food of this standard and quality which is beautifully presented on stylish crockery. The excellent service we considered to be faultless from start to finish. We would definitely return to 22, if only for the Guinness bread and the truffle macaroni cheese which made my night! Steve enjoyed the accompanying flight of wines at £45 which had some interesting choices and perfectly matched the dishes and a glass of port with his cheese course. To start we enjoyed a Cambridge Distillery Dry Gin and Tonic as an aperitif. It was an altogether memorable evening. This new venture certainly has the wow factor and deserves to do well. Booking is essential. Highly recommended, and I guarantee you won’t be disappointed!

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Restaurant 22 Cambridge

22 Chesterton Road, Cambridge, CB4 3AX

To make a reservation please call 01223 351880 or email alex@restaurant22.co.uk

An exotic Valentine’s Day feast at Navadhanya, Indian fine dining

This week Steve and I enjoyed a 7-course menu at the newly refurbished Navadhanya, Indian Fine Dining on Newmarket Rd, Cambridge. This specially designed menu was only available for Valentine’s Day on 14th February and the restaurant was full of couples enjoying an exotic and romantic dinner accompanied by a choice of Valentine’s Day Special Cocktails. On arrival, all the female guests were presented with a red rose which I thought was a nice gesture!

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Navadhanya is located on Newmarket Road, Cambridge
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1st course – Deep fried spiced purple potatoes with ginger, cumin and lime leaf
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2nd course – Dahi vada ground lentils served with thick yoghurt, tamarind and mint chutney accompanied by Santa Alegria wine, Chile
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3rd course – Monkfish, mustard and smoked aubergine mash, accompanied by Pinot Grigio Rosato wine, Italy

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4th course – Rose apple sorbet, which was impressively served in a chilled bowl
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5th course – Two ways tender chicken curry leaf and roasted red pepper served with an Indian pancake, accompanied by Chenin Blanc wine, India. (This was Steve’s favourite wine as it perfectly complemented the dish)
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6th course – Lamb Ossobucco finished with classic Rajasthani, served with yellow dal Gulab. saffron pulao rice and spinach roti, accompanied by Santa Alvara wine, Chile     

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7th course – Strawberry mousse stuffed jamun with mirror glaze accompanied by Moscato wine, Italy
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The final flourish – a strawberry dipped in dark chocolate to share!

It was a pleasure for us to return to dine at Navadhanya with it’s friendly and courteous service and the food is always of exceptional quality, so very deservedly it’s now listed in the 2018 Michelin Guide. Head chef Kamaladasan with his trademark style creates authentic dishes with a unique twist and he excels at artistic presentation. If you like Indian food this restaurant is perfect for a special occasion and comes highly recommended.

Navadhanya, Indian Fine Dining  

73 Newmarket Road

Cambridge

CB5 8EG

 Tel: 01223 300583

email: info@navadhanya.co.uk

http://www.navadhanya.co.uk

Trinity restaurant for fine dining quality food: Cambridge August 2017

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Trinity is located on Trinity Street in Cambridge at the heart of the historic centre

This week Steve and I enjoyed a superb meal at Trinity which opened its doors four months ago and quickly established itself as the number one place to eat in Cambridge. We have tried to visit this restaurant on four previous occasions but something always prevented us going so I had booked a table in advance and kept my fingers crossed! When the day came Steve was unavoidably delayed so I had to phone Trinity and say we would be about one hour late, but they were very accommodating and held the table for us. On arrival, it was busy with a great atmosphere and the service was prompt, friendly and efficient. I particularly liked the fact that chilled water was placed on the table without having to ask. We loved the decor too!IMG_20170810_2257519 (2)

We started our evening with a glass of fizz and complimentary bread and oil whilst we perused the a la carte menu which although small did have a good selection of seafood dishes, and Steve was looking forward to sampling the oysters.

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I chose the lentil and goats’ curd salad, with salt baked beetroot for my starter – very pleasing to the eye and the tastebuds!

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For his starter Steve chose raw oysters, served on ice with lemon, tabasco and pickled shallots
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For my main I chose pan-fried sea trout, crab bisque, and seared green cabbage, with dill oil
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Steve’s very attractive main course of pork tenderloin with cauliflower and mustard puree, pomme anna, pickled cauliflower, radish and frisse salad, and nasturtium oil and flowers
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We shared a side dish of savoy cabbage and smoked pancetta
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My dessert of Amaretti and lemon cheesecake, orange jelly, and honeycomb with lemon mascarpone was rich and tangy
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Steve chose the English cheese board which featured good-sized portions of Cambridge Blue, Norfolk Dapple and Suffolk Gold

Trinity is an elegant and stylish restaurant which serves tasty food in fine dining style where the surroundings are relaxed and informal. It’s a lot bigger than it appears from the outside and there is a downstairs seating area too. Following in the footsteps of sister restaurant Varsity on St Andrew’s Street, Trinity has the same emphasis on great flavours and knowledgeable service with a finely tuned Modern British menu celebrating carefully sourced fish and meat. The food is exceptionally well-presented with evidence of some real cheffy artistry at work, and it was delivered to table very promptly. (Impressive on a busy night and a sure sign of a well-run kitchen.) We were served by Ashley who was professional, warm and enthusiastic and a real asset to the restaurant.

Trinity is not the place for an inexpensive meal out but it’s ideal for a special occasion or celebration and excellent value for food which tasted as good as it looked. We paid £38 per head for three courses without drinks or service. Highly recommended and we’ll certainly be going back!

Trinity

15 Trinity Street

Cambridge

CB2 1TB

Tel: 01223 322130

info@trinitycambridge.co.uk

http://www.trinitycambridge.co.uk

Wyken Vineyards and The Leaping Hare restaurant, Suffolk : August 2017

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This is a working farm which has successfully diversified and is collectively known as Wyken Vineyards. The Leaping Hare comprises a classy interiors shop, cafe and restaurant, and there is a vineyard and lovely gardens which are open to the public and all are part of the private estate of Wyken Hall.     

Wyken Vineyards is located approx 11 miles from Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk and it had been highly recommended by a friend as a splendid destination for a day out in the countryside.

Wyken Farmers’ Market which is located in the old stables block was open from 9-1 when I visited last Saturday with a companion. After a look around the stalls, we found the Leaping Hare restaurant for a spot of lunch. As an aside I have to say that the name of this restaurant appeals to me almost as much as ‘The Giggling Squid’ Thai restaurant in Bury St Edmunds. (Unusual names must be a Suffolk thing!)   

It was one of those typically changeable English summer days when there was a heavy rain shower one minute followed by bursts of bright sunshine the next, so we were wearing macs and sunglasses!IMG_0831 (2)

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The Wyken Farmers’ Market features an impressive mix of stalls from local producers
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The Leaping Hare restaurant is located in the 400-year-old barn
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We started our lunch with ice-cold sparkling orange and cranberry drinks
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We both chose the Eggs Benedict dish for our lunch
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Still thirsty and enjoying a leisurely-paced lunch we ordered a pot of tea each 
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My companion chose a slice of light and moist carrot cake instead of a dessert
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I chose a delicious slice of Blueberry Cheesecake for my dessert
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An outdoor seating area was available outside the cafe/restaurant for days when it wasn’t raining!
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I couldn’t resist bringing home a bottle of Good Dog Ale for Steve! An English Pale Ale style beer brewed by Wyken Vineyards

Wyken Vineyards restaurant, The Leaping Hare, is located in the 400-year-old barn. A Bib Gourmand in the Michelin Guide and now in its 15th year in The Good Food Guide, the restaurant tries to source their ingredients from a five-mile radius, so the beef, lamb, game and eggs are local (and when possible from the Wyken farm and estate) with fruit, herbs and vegetables from the kitchen garden.

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Curious sign on the entrance door into the restaurant!

Wyken Cafe, which serves breakfasts and lunches daily, is also located in the barn and offers a lighter menu choice with the same quality of food and service as the elegant restaurant. Prices were on the high side but the food was exceptionally tasty. We paid £20 a head for our lunch which included two soft drinks each, cake/dessert and service.

There was also a Summer Exhibition in the Leaping Hare Cafe Gallery of limited edition prints of watercolours by Eric Ravillious.

Wyken Shop – The Leaping Hare Country Store wyken store

This very attractive and stylish shop apparently sells wool throws and blankets from Scotland and Ireland, braided rugs from North Carolina, French grape-picking baskets, Panama hats from Ecuador, and much, much more. The Leaping Hare Country Store also included the book room which houses a selection of books from small specialist publishers. I particularly liked the designer pottery, the chic and classic clothes and accessories, and their range of unusual cards and gift wrap. This veritable cornucopia of beautiful and useful household items and consumables was an ideal place to buy presents. I came home with a bottle of Good Dog Ale brewed by Wyken Vineyards for Steve!

The Wyken Farmers’ Market

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At The Wyken Farmers’ Market, there was an impressive selection of stalls from local producers including farmers, bakers, and a distillery. I noticed fish, artisan cheese and fine tea stalls, and an abundance of organic fruit, veg, plants, flowers and herbs for sale.
The Market is open from 9 am to 1 pm every Saturday.
The Vineyard
 
Wyken is a 1200-acre working farm which includes a flock of Shetland sheep, a small herd of Red Poll cattle and in 1988 they established a 7-acre vineyard with some 12,000 vines. It has produced award-winning wines, including the English Wine of the Year, and in 2009 their ‘Wyken Bacchus’ won the East Anglian Wine of the Year,
On average they produce some 12,000 bottles a year, and these are all sold through their Shop and Restaurant. From the Leaping Hare, you can take a walk to the vineyard over Home Meadow and through the beautiful ancient woodland of the estate.
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Wyken Hall Gardens

wykenThese beautiful formal gardens surrounding the Elizabethan manor house are crammed with topiary, herbs, roses, and fruit trees and you may see meandering peacocks, guinea fowl and chickens too!

The gardens are open from 27th March until the end of September, from 2 – 6 pm daily (except Saturday unfortunately, but all the more reason for a return visit!)

 
 

 

A celebration lunch at The Packhorse Inn, Moulton, near Newmarket, Suffolk : June 2017

Last week I had lunch at the award-winning Packhorse Inn with two friends to celebrate a birthday. It was a glorious summer day and our meal at this five star AA restaurant and hotel owned by the Chestnut Group didn’t disappoint. Moulton is an idyllic village located to the north east of Newmarket, and just beyond “The Gallops” where they exercise the racehorses.

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The Packhorse Inn is located on Bridge Street, in the picturesque village of Moulton near Newmarket, the home of horse-racing 
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These freshly baked rolls and canapes made an excellent appetiser
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A starter of blow-torched mackerel for one of my companions
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For my starter I chose Salmon and dill fishcakes with fennel salad
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Another starter of Quail with pea mash

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I chose a hearty-sized main course of veggie risotto 
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Another main course – Scampi with fries
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Sea trout with globe artichokes was another of our main courses
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Two of us chose the blackcurrant soufflé and raspberry sorbet for dessert
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Another dessert – Coffee and Chocolate bar with Guinness ice cream

We all enjoyed our splendid three-course meal from the a la carte menu which was beautifully presented. The bill came to £40 per person including drinks which I thought was on the pricey side, but then this was a birthday celebration lunch so it was well worth pushing the boat out!

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The picturesque Packhorse Bridge at Moulton, near Newmarket, Suffolk

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This pretty four-arched late medieval bridge spans the River Kennett on the old route from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds

The Packhorse Inn

Bridge Street

Moulton

Newmarket

Suffolk

CB8 8SP

Tel: 01638751818

http://www.thepackhorseinn.com

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Afternoon Tea at Cambridge’s cool new hotel The Tamburlaine

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The Tamburlaine hotel is located on Station Road in Cambridge, very close to the railway station
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We enjoyed our traditional Afternoon Tea in the plush and luxurious Garden Room

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Afternoon Tea was served on pretty bespoke china with linen napkins

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Unusually The Tamburlaine Afternoon Tea was served on a floor-standing three tiered stand

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The finger sandwiches were freshly made with delicious fillings of egg, smoked salmon, ham and cheese and cucumber

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The large freshly baked raisin and plain scones were served warm, and there were two of each

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The top tier held a selection of gorgeous miniature cakes and sweet and tangy Mango Panna Cotta mini desserts

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The scones were light and fluffy and served with strawberry jam and fresh cream

This brand new four-star hotel is the first UK property from the Irish O’Callaghan group, who own four stylish hotels in Dublin. The Tamburlaine is ideally located on Station Road close to the rail station at the heart of the extensive regeneration of this business and residential area, which has now changed out of all recognition. The 155-room hotel had only been open for three weeks when I visited yesterday, and work is still ongoing inside and out. The staff are very friendly and enthusiastic and they gave us a guided tour after our tea. I noticed that the restaurant has an impressive fine dining menu which I intend to sample sometime.

By the way, the hotel’s name Tamburlaine references a 16th-century play by Christopher Marlowe, who attended Corpus Christi College in the city.

My friend and I were celebrating her birthday and taking Afternoon Tea amid the genteel grandeur of the Colonial-style Garden Room made an excellent start to her celebrations. With ornate Victorian wallpaper and gorgeous silk velvet sofas, this is an exceptionally light and splendid room with a unique style.

The Tamburlaine traditional Afternoon Tea cost £21.50 per person and is priced on the high side for Cambridge, so not the best value for money but the surroundings more than compensate with a strong sense of occasion. One minor quibble though – I was surprised that a selection of loose-leaf tea blends wasn’t available, although we could have unlimited tea or coffee to accompany the food. Highly recommended.

Tamburlaine
27-29 Station Road
Cambridge
CB1 2FB
Tel: 01223 792888

email: z.pearse@ocallaghanhotels.com

http://www.thetamburlaine.co.uk

The triumphant return of Cotto Restaurant – now at The Gonville Hotel, Cambridge

This week Steve and I dined at Cotto in it’s new home at The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge. The reopening of this highly acclaimed restaurant has been long-awaited and much anticipated, so after reading lots of ecstatic reviews we were very keen to see what has been a triumphant return for ourselves. Readers we weren’t disappointed – as the food, the service and the ambiance were all delightful. The perfectly cooked dishes were well-devised with interesting flavour combinations, and the presentation was nothing less than fine art on a plate. This is special occasion fine dining at it’s absolute best!

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Cotto is located at the front of The Gonville Hotel on Gonville Place, Cambridge
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The splendid and inviting entrance to Cotto can be found on the far side of the hotel’s bar area
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The tables had fresh flowers and I loved the chairs which were upholstered in crushed velvet
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The interior dining area was spacious and classy
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The Amuse-bouche featured mini-tartlets of hummus and Venison wasabi
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Black truffle and plain butter accompanied a delicious range of home-made bread
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This unusual centre-piece was certainly a talking point!
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For my starter I chose a piquant Loch Duart salmon and Cromer crab dish which had robust flavours including Soy, Wasabi, Ginger and Miso
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Steve chose the Gressingham Duck Terrine Parfait, with Spiced Apple and Plum Chutney for his starter ….

 

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and for his main course Steve enjoyed the Rack of Salt Marsh Lamb with Thyme, Rosemary and Natural Jus with seasonal vegetables

 

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For my main course I chose the Halibut with Olive Herb Crumb and Fregula Pearls

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cotto21 I chose ‘Chocolate Time‘ for my dessert – Papouasie Milk, Single Estates Dark and Milk Ice Cream.

The fine detail of this stunning dessert designed by Masterchef and chocolatier Hans Schweitzer was awesome. The plate was covered in a fine chocolate spiral which was so perfect I thought it was actually a design on the china !

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Steve chose to complete his meal with this splendid Cotto British Cheese selection with crackers and fruit. The cheeseboard included Vintage Barber Cheddar from Berks, Organic Meadow Brie from Bath, Wobbly Bottom Goat from Herts, and the Duke of Cambridge Blue from Cambs. As it was a special occasion he treated himself to a glass of Baros Port too !

 

 

Sublime, superb, and supreme are just three of the superlatives I could use to describe the Cotto dining experience. This is an inspirational partnership between The Gonville Hotel  and the restaurant. Now in the perfect location overlooking Parker’s Piece with the welcome additions of the hotel’s bar and car park Cotto can only go from strength to strength. We loved the design of the new restaurant which has been purpose built and is light, bright and welcoming, with décor which oozes taste and class. The attention to detail is obvious and the service is exemplary from a young, well-trained team who are professional, friendly and attentive without being intrusive.

 

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The Bar at The Gonville Hotel

 

We started our evening with a Gin and Tonic at the hotel bar and with dinner Steve chose a dry white wine from Germany – Schloss Johannesburg Yellow Seal, and I drank Prosecco.

Booking in advance is essential  and prices are £65 for three courses (minimum) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays and £70 on Fridays and Saturdays. Expensive yes, but well worth it for a special dining experience which never disappoints.

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Cotto Restaurant at The Gonville Hotel

Gonville Place

Cambridge

CB1 1LY

Tel: 01223 302010

info@cottocambridge

Fine Art on a Plate at Alimentum

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Alimentum 1 Michelin star restaurant is located on Hills Road, Cambridge

This gourmet continental restaurant is renowned for its slow cooking ethos and chef’s tasting menu.

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I loved this fabulous feature light in the bar where ……

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we enjoyed a complimentary squid ink crisp canape, creatively presented in a box of pebbles which certainly had the WOW factor!

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We were able to watch the chefs hard at work in the kitchen through the viewing window
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The amuse-bouche…..

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was accompanied by milk bread and delicious mini onion loaves, both served warm

We chose A TASTE OF ALIMENTUM in 7 courses at £75 per person and Steve had a flight of wine at £37.50

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Eel smoked, fennel, buttermilk, grape and almond served with Gruner Veltliner, Austria
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Quail breast and leg, yakitori, peanut and lime served with Palomino Fino, Spain
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Cod, asparagus, cured egg yolk and truffle served with Mauzac, France

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Beef Sirloin, (Hannan 80 day aged) beef fat potato, veal sweetbreads, parsley and mushroom served with Touriga Franca, Portugal

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The pre-dessert Gin and Tonic was an excellent palette cleanser 

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BBQ Orange Parfait,mojito and liquorice dessert served with Chenin Blanc, France

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Chocolate Gateau and passion fruit was the delicious final dish served with Moscato Rosa, Italy

To complete his meal Steve added a cheese course at £7.50

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Steve chose 5 delectable cheeses from an eclectic selection on the Cheese trolley….. 

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accompanied by an assortment of delicious biscuits and breads

Special occasion dining at Alimentum

Last week Steve and I celebrated his birthday by dining at Alimentum, where we enjoyed the chefs 7 course taster menu at £75 per person, accompanied by a flight of wine at £37.50.

It was a return visit for us and fully lived up to our expectations for special occasion dining. The menu at this 1 Michelin star restaurant is best described as Modern European and Chef Patron Mark Poynton delivers dishes which are original, contemporary and full of vibrant flavours and colours.

On arrival we had an aperitif in the bar where we were served a complimentary canape featuring squid ink crisps in a box of pebbles which blew me away with its creativity and invention. When seated in the restaurant we were close to the viewing window where it was fascinating to watch the chefs at work in the kitchen. Every dish from the amuse bouche through the seven courses on the ‘Taste of Alimentum‘ menu were delightful in taste, flavour and presentation. We both preferred the cod and beef dishes of the savoury courses, and relished the yummy desserts. I had been concerned that I would find eating seven courses challenging but in fact the amount of food was just right, and I didn’t feel uncomfortably full. Steve chose to end his meal with a cheese course because he had been so impressed with the choice of cheeses available on our previous visit.

This is certainly one of the best restaurants in Cambridge and we can highly recommended it for magnificent food and service. The atmosphere is cool and relaxed and the staff are friendly, knowledgeable and professional. It was an expensive night out but worth it for a special occasion, and we had a most enjoyable fine dining experience.

 

Alimentum – 1 Michelin Star Restaurant in Cambridge

152-154 Hills Road, Cambridge, CB2 8PB

01223 413000 | Reservations