A Winter break in Whitstable, Kent: January 2018

IMG_1024.jpgLast week Steve and I enjoyed a 3-day winter break in Whitstable which is a quaint fishing and harbour town on the North coast of Kent. It’s located 5 miles north of Canterbury and 2 miles west of Herne Bay, and very popular with visitors, especially from London. Harbour Street has many independent shops and there is a wide selection of pubs, cafes and restaurants in the town which has the working harbour as it’s focal point. This was our first visit and a post-Christmas gift to me from Steve as he knew I have been wanting to stay in Whitstable for years and had never got around to it.

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Whitstable Harbour

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We stayed in one of these 150-year old converted Fisherman’s Huts, which were formerly fishermen stores and are now run by the Hotel Continental. They provided the perfect setting for something of a unique overnight accommodation experience that is quirky and fun. The huts are situated just metres from the beach in the centre of Whitstable offering magnificent sea views of the Thames estuary.  Breakfast was served at the Hotel Continental which is about 10 minutes walk away from the huts and included in the price.

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The Hotel Continental is in a prime location as it’s the only beachfront hotel in Whitstable.
Dating from the early 19th century ‘The Old Neptune’ Whitstable, or ‘The Neppy’ as it’s affectionately known locally is one of only a handful of pubs to be found on the beaches of Britain.
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After a bracing walk, we enjoyed a pint of local beer and fish finger sandwiches with salad and chips at The Old Neptune. 


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The Royal Native Oyster Stores in Whitstable is a seafood restaurant offering some of the very best oysters, fish and crustacea. The restaurant housed in a whitewashed former oyster store is located on the beach and offers stunning views of the company’s oyster grounds.
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The classic rustic interior of The Royal Native Oyster Stores restaurant where we enjoyed a splendid meal on the first night of our stay. 
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We found this gem of a pub and restaurant offering real ales, fine wines, delicious seasonal produce and live music, just a stone’s throw from the sea in Whitstable.
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The Pearson’s Arms has a lovely bar area and a rather fine restaurant upstairs where we enjoyed dining on our second night, from a menu which showcased the best of fresh, local produce.
Steve relished eating both native and rock oysters in Whitstable.
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The Official Brewery of the world-famous Whitstable Oyster Company. We enjoyed sampling several of the beers!

Some of the interesting images we found in Harbour Street, Whitstable by local enigmatic graffiti artist Catman, a Banksy-style street painter – who apparently keeps his identity firmly under wraps!

So what did I make of our winter break in Whitstable? It certainly has a unique appeal and I can’t really compare it to anywhere else, although I felt that there are similarities with Aldeburgh and Wells-next-the-sea. Our stay in the fisherman’s hut, a meal in one of the best fish restaurants and a pint of a local brew in one of the seafront pubs sums up the charm of quintessential Whitstable: a combination of the classic rugged, cosy seaside town aesthetic and a touch of the modern bohemian! Well worth a visit, a short stay or as a base for a holiday.

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We will certainly return when the weather is warmer!



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.

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

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

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





Tel: 01638751818


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The Petersfield, a new Cambridge pub and restaurant : March 2017

This week Steve and I visited The Petersfield, as we were curious to try this new pub and restaurant which opened last month in the building which was formerly home to the well-loved Backstreet Bistro, in Sturton Street. We had heard quite a buzz about the place, and were advised to book by friends who had been disappointed not to get a table last weekend. The Petersfield is another addition to the ever-growing City Pub Company group, who own the Cambridge Brew House and The Old Bicycle Shop amongst other popular locals so I had expected a stylish refit, and I wasn’t disappointed.

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The Petersfield is located on Sturton Street, Cambridge
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The interior was smart and classy, but the tables were too close together for my liking

Service was brisk and attentive and despite being very busy there wasn’t a long wait for food. The atmosphere was lively and fairly loud, but although it’s new this pub should continue to do well in this location at the heart of the neighbourhood.


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The pub is full of charming design features and I loved the glass bottles ceiling in the bar

The Petersfield has a contemporary retro look with a large L-shaped bar and lots of dining tables. The décor features a rich use of colours with plush furnishings and good lighting, so this impressive refurbishment looks like no expense has been spared with a lot of thought being put into the detail.

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The ceramic fish water jug made an interesting gurgling sound when poured!

The Petersfield features an impressive range of local real ales and offers a fairly ambitious menu of British food of the gourmet pub grub variety at restaurant prices.

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Steve had Potted Goose and Sourdough for his starter
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The Petersfield had a good range of craft beers, so we tried several!
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For his main course Steve chose Pork Belly, roasted sweet potato, crispy black pudding, savoy cabbage, and apple sauce….
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and to finish his meal the British Cheese selection with pickle, celery and fancy crackers


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I had Cider-battered Haddock, chips, peas and tartare sauce, and Chocolate Fondant for my dessert

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We ended our evening with a nightcap in the bar

My general impression was that the food I had was only average and slightly over-priced. We paid £44.25 for our meal without drinks, but it’s an attractive pub and a welcome addition to the area.


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The attractive outdoor seating area made a great use of the space


The Petersfield



TEL: 01223 306 306


The Flitch of Bacon, a dining gem of a pub found in Essex! September 2016

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The Flitch of Bacon is located on The Street in Little Dunmow, Essex

Last week I enjoyed an excellent lunch with a friend as a belated birthday treat at the curiously named ‘Flitch of Bacon’ in Little Dunmow, Essex. I was delighted to find a new place which lived up to my expectations, as I am often disappointed. The owner Daniel Clifford (of ‘Midsummer House’ fame) lives nearby and is behind the Flitch’s new lease of life, so the long history of the Flitch of Bacon has a new chapter. The pub has undergone a sympathetic restoration to become a restaurant and pub with rooms, with an attractive outside seating area.

We found a relaxed atmosphere, amazing food and a wonderful drinks list in this dog and child-friendly restaurant in a pub, which is a Freehouse. I felt prices compared favourably with similar gastropubs in the Cambridge area, where the food was not of the same standard as we found at The Flitch. The cuisine is British/European, the service was friendly and professional from a young team, and we paid £25 a head for two courses without drinks.


The History – The Flitch of Bacon takes its name from the trials that award a flitch of bacon to married couples that can swear to not having regretted their marriage for a year and a day. It does rather sound like a tradition from a different age and it is , as the trials can be traced back to 1104 and the Dunmow flitch is referred to by Chaucer. At Little Dunmow, the home of the Flitch of Bacon, the ceremony survived into the eighteenth century.

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And now to the food…. we were tempted by several of the starters on the a la carte menu but knew we would want room for desserts, and this being lunchtime we sensibly restrained ourselves. We ordered Beer Battered Fish and Triple Cooked Chips, Mushy peas, with Tartare Sauce for my main course, and Truffle and Ricotta Dumplings with Chicory, Pear and Walnut (without the Stilton) for my friend.img_0122-2


I declared this to be the very best fish and chips I have ever tasted!



My companion enjoyed her main of course of Truffle and Ricotta Dumplings with a house salad which had a fresh citrus dressing




We both loved our desserts of Brown Sugar and Greengage Crème Brulee and Iced Lemon Parfait with Blueberries and Raspberries

Both desserts were delightful, rich yet light with perfect flavour combinations, and all the dishes were appealing in their presentation.

The Flitch’s distinctive pig motif is everywhere – even on the curtains!




The stylish bar area


The attractive outdoor seating area

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The Street

Little Dunmow



Tel: 01371 821660




Note: Midsummer House  The Flitch of Bacon is Midsummer House’s more accessible little brother http://www.midsummerhouse.co.uk

Granny Apples says – “The Flitch of Bacon is well worth seeking out for somewhere special and not just for special occasions, and I will certainly be returning for dinner some time soon!”


Anniversary ‘date night’ at Browns Cambridge

Browns may be a chain restaurant, but it’s a classy one!
Browns is located on Trumpington Street, Cambridge, in a beautiful building which is a converted wing of the old Addenbrooke’s hospital site


We loved the high ceilings and spacious interior, which is both stylish and elegant

We drank my favourite beer – draught Peroni lager



Steve chose asparagus and prosciutto ham with poached free range egg in hollandaise sauce for his starter, and I had the crab and avocado concoction with crostini and watercress. Although both were excellent dishes I wished I had chosen his!


My main course was perfectly cooked pan fried sea bass fillets, and barley risotto with mushrooms and crispy shallots in garlic and parsley butter. Simple but delicious.

Steve’s main course was salmon fillet with seafood tagliatelle in a rich tomato and basil sauce, which wasn’t actually what he had ordered, but he enjoyed it anyway!


My dessert was salted caramel pot with cream, and truly scrumptious shortcake biscuits

Steve chose a quartet of British cheeses served with Bramley Apple butter, biscuits and grapes, accompanied by a glass of Tawny Port

The heart shaped biscuits seemed an appropriate symbol for our 3rd anniversary!


Our next stop was The Snug Kitchen and Bar on Lensfield Road for a nightcap


I loved the distinctive interior design of The Snug where I enjoyed a …….

Pina colada cocktail, even though it was served by a bar-person who looked like it was the last place on earth she wished to be!

Last week Steve and I decided to have dinner in the grand cafe setting of Browns Brasserie on Trumpington Street in Cambridge. It was a special occasion for us (3rd anniversary) but we wanted a low-key celebration, and to eat in a place where we wouldn’t be disappointed. I don’t usually promote a chain restaurant on my blog, but I am happy to make an exception for Browns, which is a beautiful building with a buzzing atmosphere.

Pro’s and Con’s – my first thought when I removed my coat and sat down was how chilly I felt in the restaurant. There appeared to be no heating on and the air-con blew cool, although it was a cold night outside with a bitter wind. I had to put my coat back on and then I didn’t remove it all night!

We were served with a jug of water at table whilst perusing the menu, but no bread was offered. The starters and main courses were all very tasty, freshly cooked and pleasing to the eye, but in my opinion the portion sizes of the dishes we chose were on the small side. My pan-fried Sea bass fillets were crisp and cooked to perfection, and for my dessert I was delighted by the taste and richness of the salted caramel pot, served with cream and accompanied by excellent shortcake biscuits. Steve chose the cheeseboard, which at £10.50 I considered to be over-priced, but he appreciated the selection of British cheeses.

Despite my minor quibbles we enjoyed our meal and the evening, and the service was good as always, so we overlooked the mistake with our order. Browns is known for traditional British food with a contemporary twist, and I like the wide range of choice on their menu. Prices are average for Cambridge at £30 a head for 3 courses, plus drinks and service. By coincidence I will be returning to Browns next week to sample and review their Afternoon Tea. 

We decided to end our anniversary date night with ‘one for the road’ at The Snug in Lensfield Road where I enjoyed an old favourite drink of mine, a Pina colada cocktail. Very retro!


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23 Trumpington Street



The Snug Kitchen and BarKiFR0fHQ
 67 Lensfield Road
Phone: 01223 367684


Where’s the best place for Sunday lunch? (In Cambridge)

The question I am most often asked is ‘where’s the best place for ‘…. Sunday lunch, Afternoon Tea, Fine Dining, Oriental cuisine, Fish and Chips or simply good pub grub etc.

When people know I write a food blog about eating out in Cambridge I am frequently asked to make recommendations, so I have come up with a ‘BEST PLACE FOR‘ list of my favourite places, which I have tried and tested. Everyone has their own favourites of course, so this is just my personal opinion.

I was tempted to list my Top Ten but I had more than ten places to eat and drink which I’m happy to recommend, so they are in no particular order. All of my suggestions are in Cambridge, except one, which is too exceptional to exclude!

Ristorante Il Piccolo Mondo is the best place for authentic Italian food. Located in Bottisham, only 6 miles from Cambridge it’s advisable to book months ahead for this hugely popular restaurant, which is always very highly rated on every Top Ten listing.


Ristorante Il Piccolo Mondo in Bottisham, Cambs is the best place for Italian fine dining

Elegant, modern restaurant with exposed brickwork, serving homemade pasta with fish and meat dishes. Totally charming, with exceptional food and service.
Ristorante Il Piccolo Mondo
85 High Street
Cambridge CB25 9BA 
Phone: 01223 811434
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Fitzbillies on Trumpington Street, Cambridge is the best place for Afternoon Tea

Fitzbillies – home of the famous Chelsea Bun and a Cambridge institution is the best place for Afternoon Tea, and there is no need to book.

Old-school bakery and cafe serving traditional pastries with artisan coffee and East Anglian fare. Great place to take visitors.


51 – 52 Trumpington Street

Cambridge CB2 1RG  

Phone: 01223 352500




Navadhanya on Newmarket Road, Cambridge is the best place for Indian fine dining. Booking is essential for this high end Indian restaurant.

Navadhanya on Newmarket Road, Cambridge is best for fine dining Indian cuisine
Refined restaurant with dark wood furniture and tiled floors, serving gourmet Indian cuisine. Try chef’s 7 course taster menu at £39.99 per person for a special occasion.
73 Newmarket Road
Cambridge CB5 8EG
Phone: 01223 300583
The Oak Bistro on Lensfield Road is the best place for dining in a relaxed yet sophisticated bistro setting.
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The Oak Bistro located on Lensfield Road, Cambridge is the best place for dining in a classic bistro setting

Innovative British and continental meals served in a smart dining room and a walled garden. Booking ahead is essential at this hugely successful eatery.

The Oak Bistro 
 6 Lensfield Road
 Cambridge CB2 1EG
 Phone: 01223 323361

The Clarendon Arms on Clarendon Street in Cambridge is the best place for a Sunday roast dinner. Highly popular so book in advance for Sunday lunch to avoid disappointment, but they do have two sittings.

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The Clarendon Arms on Clarendon Street, Cambridge is the best place for a Sunday roast dinner
A Cambridge public house since 1812, with a good selection of real ales, ‘The Clarrie’ serves bistro-style food in a traditional pub setting.  A friendly local and a firm favourite of mine.
 The Clarendon Arms
 35-36 Clarendon Street
 Cambridge CB1 1JX

Phone: 01223 778272


Cau, the Argentinian restaurant on Bene’t Street, Cambridge is the one of the most popular places for Steak, I can also recommend ‘Rockers’on Mill Road as they source their meat from a local butcher, and their chips are excellent.

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Cau on Bene’t Street, Cambridge is one of the best places for steak lovers, although it is a chain
This contemporary Buenos Aires-style restaurant is extremely stylish with cloud murals, and booths for intimate dining. Booking is advisable.
15 Bene’t Street
Cambridge CB2 3QN
Phone: 01223 357000
Images from Rocker’s Steak House located on Mill Road, Cambridge


Rocker’s Steak House
52 Mill road
tel: 01223300052 
The Golden Curry Tandoori Restaurant on Mill Road, Cambridge is the best curry house in the area, and it never disappoints us. This place is always busy so it’s advisable to make a reservation.
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The long-established Golden Curry is located on Mill Road, Cambridge

The Golden Curry Tandoori Restaurant is a classic curry house serving traditional Indian and Bangladeshi meat, seafood and vegetable dishes. The service is exceptional, and it’s a family favourite when in need of ‘comfort food’.

The Golden Curry

111-113 Mill Road

Cambridge CB1 2AZ

Phone: 01223 329432 


Alimentum restaurant located on Hills Road, Cambridge is the best place for affordable Michelin star fine dining

Alimentum on Hills Road, Cambridge is the best for affordable Michelin fine dining
Gourmet continental restaurant renowned for its slow cooking ethos and chef Mark Poynton’s tasting menu. Highly recommended for special occasion dining. Booking is essential.
152-154 Hills Road
Cambridge CB2 8PB


Thirsty is a funky indie drinks shop and bar located on Chesterton Road, Cambridge, and the best place to find upmarket street food kitchens.

For a quirky and different night out try Thirsty in liaison with the best street food trucks in the area, which are parked outside on different nights. Wines, craft beer/cider, spirits, and coffee are also available. Note: It’s good to know that it’s possible to book for parties of six or more, as this place gets packed!

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Thirsty the indie Wine Shop on Chesterton Road, Cambridge is the best place for a drink accompanied by excellent street food.


46 Chesterton Road
Cambridge CB4 1EN
Phone: 01223 464436

The Sea Tree on Mill Road, Cambridge is the best place for fish and chips and much, much more…..

The Sea Tree is located on Mill Road, Cambridge and well worth seeking out for the best fish and chips to eat in or take out

The Sea Tree is an alternative fish bar offering a menu of traditional fish and chips alongside alternatives such as grilled mackerel, calamari and fish stew to eat in or takeaway.

The Sea Tree

13/14 The Broadway

Mill Road

Cambridge, CB1 3AH

Phone: 01223 414349

The other question I am most frequently asked is to recommend interesting pubs in Cambridge. There are so many to choose from but my personal favourites are The Free Press,  The Elm Tree, and The Cambridge Blue for drinks, and The Earl of Beaconsfield for live music.

The Elm Tree in Orchard Street has an extensive menu of Belgian beers
The Elm Tree is snug and eclectic local serving Real ales, Belgian beers and artisan ciders in a friendly candlelit pub with a terrace.
The Elm Tree
 16A Orchard Street
 Cambridge CB1 1JT
 Phone: 01223 502632
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The Cambridge Blue in Gwydir Street, Cambridge is a popular real ale house serving traditional pub grub at reasonable prices

The Cambridge Blue is a Free House and Real Ale Paradise where visitors are given a warm welcome.

The Cambridge Blue

85-87 Gwydir Street

Cambridge CB1 2LG

Phone: 01223 471680


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The Free Press is a dimly-lit, century-old pub with a fireplace and an intimate walled garden, serving fine cask ales and wine with locally sourced British cuisine. Quirky, interesting and well worth a visit.
The Free Press
7 Prospect Row
Cambridge CB1 1DU
Phone: 01223 368337


The Earl of Beaconsfield located on Mill Road, Cambridge is a great place for free live music
The Earl of Beaconsfield is a community pub serving guest beers and pizza, plus bar billiards, and a beer garden with live music on several evenings every week. We love it!acoustic jam
The Earl of Beaconsfield
133 Mill Road
Cambridge CB1 3AA
Phone: 01223 410703