Yet, there’s something uniquely satisfying about discovering the culinary treasures of a historical city like Cambridge. Cambridge isn’t just renowned for its world-class education; it also boasts a vibrant culinary landscape that caters to a wide range of tastes and preferences. From traditional British classics to international flavors, Cambridge’s food offerings are a reflection of its rich and diverse cultural heritage.
Breakfast at The Copper Kettle – A Hearty Start to the Day
My culinary adventure in Cambridge began with a hearty breakfast at The Copper Kettle, an iconic tea room that has been a local favorite since 1921. Nestled in the heart of King’s Parade, this charming establishment exudes a cozy and inviting atmosphere.
A Quintessential British Breakfast
I’ve always believed that a hearty breakfast sets the tone for the day, and The Copper Kettle didn’t disappoint. I opted for the classic Full English Breakfast, a quintessential British dish that never fails to satisfy. The plate was a delightful medley of flavors and textures, featuring crispy bacon, succulent sausages, perfectly fried eggs with golden yolks, grilled tomatoes bursting with juiciness, sautéed mushrooms infused with savory goodness, and slices of buttered toast that provided the ideal crunch.
As I took my first bite, I was immediately struck by the harmonious combination of ingredients. The bacon was wonderfully crispy, adding a smoky depth to each mouthful. The sausages were succulent and seasoned to perfection, offering a burst of savory flavors. The eggs, with their runny yolks, added a creamy richness to the ensemble. The grilled tomatoes provided a refreshing contrast, while the sautéed mushrooms introduced a delightful earthiness. Each bite was a symphony of flavors, showcasing the mastery of British breakfast cuisine.
A Cup of Liquid Comfort
No British breakfast is complete without a cup of tea, and The Copper Kettle takes its tea seriously. I ordered a pot of traditional English breakfast tea, which arrived in a charming porcelain teapot with a matching cup and saucer. The aroma that wafted from the pot as I poured my first cup was nothing short of divine.
The English breakfast tea at The Copper Kettle was a rich and robust blend, made from carefully selected tea leaves that were steeped to perfection. The deep amber hue of the tea hinted at its strength, and with each sip, I was greeted by a comforting warmth that spread from my throat to my fingertips. The tea’s bold flavor was balanced by subtle notes of malt and a hint of astringency, creating a harmonious and invigorating experience.
A Journey Back in Time
What made The Copper Kettle even more special was its timeless ambiance. The tearoom’s decor harked back to a bygone era, with dark wooden furniture, lace curtains, and antique teapots adorning the shelves. The walls were adorned with sepia-toned photographs that told the story of the tearoom’s long history. It felt as though I had stepped into a nostalgic haven, a place where tradition and culinary excellence converged.
As I enjoyed my breakfast at The Copper Kettle, I couldn’t help but appreciate the authenticity of the experience. This wasn’t just a meal; it was a journey back in time to a period when breakfast was a cherished ritual. The combination of exquisite flavors, a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and the sense of culinary tradition made this breakfast a truly unforgettable start to my day in Cambridge.
A Taste of Tradition at The Eagle – Dine Where History Was Made
For lunch, I ventured to The Eagle, a historic pub with a storied past. This is the place where, in 1953, Francis Crick and James Watson announced to fellow patrons that they had discovered the structure of DNA. The pub is adorned with memorabilia and signatures of famous scientists, giving it an ambiance steeped in history.
A Culinary Journey through History
As I entered The Eagle, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of reverence for the historical significance of the place. The pub’s interior was a captivating blend of traditional British charm and scientific nostalgia. The walls were adorned with photographs, newspaper clippings, and handwritten notes from the many scientists who had frequented the establishment. It was like stepping into a time capsule of intellectual discovery.
For lunch, I decided to embrace tradition and ordered the quintessential British dish—Fish and Chips. The Eagle’s rendition was exceptional. The fish, coated in a light and crispy batter, was tender and flaky on the inside. The thick-cut chips were golden and deliciously seasoned. Paired with mushy peas and a squeeze of fresh lemon, it was a gastronomic delight that paid homage to British culinary heritage.
A Timeless Classic: Fish and Chips
Fish and Chips is a dish that has been beloved by the British for generations, and it’s easy to see why. The combination of perfectly fried fish and golden, crispy chips is a match made in culinary heaven. The Eagle’s version of this classic dish was nothing short of outstanding.
The fish, which happened to be haddock that day, was a testament to the pub’s commitment to quality. The fillet was generously portioned and coated in a batter that struck the perfect balance between light and crispy. As I took my first bite, I was greeted by the satisfying crunch of the exterior, followed by the succulent and flavorful fish within. The fish was impeccably fresh, with a delicate sweetness that was accentuated by the batter’s seasoning.
The chips, often considered the unsung heroes of the dish, were a revelation in themselves. These were not your ordinary fries; they were thick-cut, chunky wedges of potato that had been double-fried to achieve a crispy exterior and a fluffy interior. Each chip was a delectable morsel of comfort, and I found myself savoring every bite.
Mushy Peas: A British Staple
No plate of Fish and Chips would be complete without mushy peas, another British culinary tradition. The Eagle’s mushy peas were a vibrant green and had a creamy texture with just the right amount of seasoning. They provided a refreshing contrast to the richness of the fish and chips, adding a burst of flavor to every bite.
A Squeeze of Freshness
To brighten up the dish, a wedge of fresh lemon was provided. Squeezing the lemon over the fish and chips added a zesty and tangy dimension that cut through the richness of the meal. It was a simple but effective touch that elevated the flavors and made each bite even more enjoyable.
Dine Where History Was Made
What made dining at The Eagle truly special was the knowledge that I was sitting in the same place where scientific history had been made. It was in this very pub that Francis Crick and James Watson had made their historic announcement about the structure of DNA. The pub’s walls bore witness to the intellectual discussions and moments of inspiration that had taken place within its confines.
As I enjoyed my meal, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of awe and gratitude for the opportunity to dine where history had been made. The Eagle was not just a place to enjoy a delicious meal; it was a living testament to the intersection of science, discovery, and British culinary tradition.
A Global Palette at Thaikhun – Exploring International Flavors
Cambridge’s culinary scene isn’t limited to British fare. The city is also home to a diverse array of international cuisines. For dinner, I opted for a change of pace and headed to Thaikhun, a vibrant Thai restaurant located along the picturesque Quayside.
A Culinary Voyage to Thailand
Stepping into Thaikhun felt like embarking on a culinary voyage to the bustling streets of Thailand. The restaurant’s vibrant decor, adorned with Thai artifacts, colorful lanterns, and rustic wooden furniture, immediately transported me to the heart of Southeast Asia. The aroma of Thai spices and herbs filled the air, creating an enticing and immersive atmosphere.
A Symphony of Flavors: Tom Yum Soup
To start my Thai culinary adventure, I ordered a classic appetizer—Tom Yum Soup. This iconic Thai dish is known for its spicy and aromatic broth, and it did not disappoint. The soup arrived in a steaming bowl, and the first whiff of its fragrant steam was enough to awaken my taste buds.
The Tom Yum Soup at Thaikhun was a masterpiece of balance and complexity. It had the perfect level of spiciness, which gradually built with each spoonful. The heat from the chili was tempered by the bright and citrusy notes of lemongrass and lime leaves. The soup was generously filled with succulent shrimp, mushrooms, and cherry tomatoes, which added layers of texture and flavor. Each spoonful was a journey through a symphony of tastes, from the fiery kick of chili to the soothing coolness of coconut milk.
A Thai Classic: Pad Thai
For the main course, I couldn’t resist ordering Pad Thai, a Thai classic that’s beloved worldwide. Thaikhun’s version of Pad Thai was a work of culinary art. The dish featured thin rice noodles stir-fried with plump and juicy shrimp, chunks of tofu, bean sprouts, crushed peanuts, and a medley of vegetables. It was all brought together by a sweet and savory tamarind-based sauce that coated every ingredient in a luscious glaze.
The beauty of Pad Thai lies in its balance of flavors and textures. The noodles were perfectly cooked—firm yet tender, with a satisfying chewiness. The shrimp were succulent and flavorful, while the tofu provided a delightful contrast in both texture and taste. The bean sprouts added a fresh crunch, and the crushed peanuts sprinkled on top contributed a wonderful nuttiness. Squeezing a wedge of lime over the dish brightened the flavors and added a citrusy zing.
As I savored each bite of Pad Thai, I marveled at the skill of the Thai chefs at Thaikhun. They had captured the essence of Thai street food and brought it to my table in Cambridge. It was a culinary journey that reminded me of the global diversity of flavors that Cambridge’s dining scene had to offer.
Afternoon Tea at The Orchard Tea Garden – A Quaint Tea Garden Experience
No visit to Cambridge would be complete without experiencing the cherished tradition of afternoon tea. I set out to The Orchard Tea Garden, a picturesque establishment located in the charming village of Grantchester, just a short drive from the city center.
An Idyllic Tea Garden
The Orchard Tea Garden offered a tranquil and idyllic setting, surrounded by lush greenery and apple orchards. It was the kind of place that seemed to exist in a dream—a peaceful oasis far removed from the hustle and bustle of modern life. As I entered the garden, I was greeted by the soothing sounds of birdsong and the rustling of leaves in the breeze.
The Timeless Charm of Afternoon Tea
Afternoon tea is a tradition that holds a special place in the hearts of the British, and The Orchard Tea Garden embraced this tradition with elegance and grace. I had opted for the Traditional Afternoon Tea, which promised a selection of finger sandwiches, warm scones with clotted cream and jam, and an assortment of delicate pastries.
Finger Sandwiches: A Symphony of Flavors
The afternoon tea experience began with a tiered tray of finger sandwiches, each a miniature masterpiece in its own right. The sandwiches featured a variety of fillings, each carefully crafted to deliver a symphony of flavors.
The cucumber and cream cheese sandwich was a refreshing delight, with crisp cucumber slices adding a cool crunch to the creamy cheese. The smoked salmon sandwich was a testament to the art of simplicity, with the rich and buttery salmon taking center stage. The egg salad sandwich offered a comforting blend of textures and flavors, while the ham and mustard sandwich provided a satisfying kick of spice.
Scones: Warm and Irresistible
Next came the warm scones, which were a highlight of the afternoon tea experience. The scones were freshly baked, with a golden exterior that gave way to a soft and crumbly interior. They were served with generous portions of clotted cream and strawberry jam, allowing me to customize each bite to my liking.
There’s something inherently comforting about the ritual of spreading clotted cream and jam on a warm scone. The clotted cream was luxuriously rich, with a velvety texture and a subtly sweet flavor. The strawberry jam was vibrant and fruity, adding a delightful sweetness that complemented the scone’s buttery richness. It was a perfect marriage of textures and tastes, and I savored every bite.
Delicate Pastries: Edible Works of Art
To conclude the afternoon tea, a selection of delicate pastries graced the table. These miniature works of art showcased the pastry chef’s skill and creativity.
The pastries included miniature tarts adorned with fresh berries, delicate éclairs filled with luscious cream, and dainty cakes topped with intricate icing designs. Each pastry was a testament to the artistry of the kitchen, with flavors that were as delightful as their presentation.
A Cup of Elegance
Throughout the afternoon tea, I enjoyed cups of loose-leaf tea, which were served in elegant porcelain teapots and matching cups. The tea was fragrant and soothing, providing the perfect accompaniment to the array of sweet and savory treats.
A Quaint Tea Garden Experience
What made The Orchard Tea Garden truly special was the overall experience. The combination of the idyllic garden setting, the impeccable service, and the exquisite food created a sense of tranquility and indulgence. It was an escape from the ordinary—a moment to savor the simple pleasures of life, surrounded by the beauty of nature.
As I sat amidst the apple orchards, basking in the warmth of the afternoon sun, I couldn’t help but reflect on the timeless appeal of British afternoon tea. It was a reminder that in a fast-paced world, there are moments of serenity to be found in the company of good food and the beauty of nature.
Gourmet Dining at Restaurant Twenty-Two – A Culinary Gem
For a memorable fine dining experience, I made a reservation at Restaurant Twenty-Two, a Michelin Bib Gourmand-awarded restaurant located in a charming Victorian townhouse.
A Dining Experience Like No Other
Restaurant Twenty-Two was a hidden gem nestled in the heart of Cambridge. The restaurant’s reputation for excellence preceded it, and I was eager to see what culinary delights awaited me.
The interior of the restaurant was an elegant fusion of classic and contemporary design, with muted tones, modern art, and soft lighting that created an intimate and inviting atmosphere. It was the kind of place that exuded sophistication without pretension—a space where the focus was squarely on the food.
A Seasonal Tasting Menu
One of the highlights of Restaurant Twenty-Two was its seasonal tasting menu. The restaurant’s commitment to using locally sourced ingredients and showcasing the flavors of the season was immediately evident in the menu.
As I perused the offerings, I was struck by the creativity and thoughtfulness that went into each dish. The menu was a culinary journey, a progression of flavors and textures designed to surprise and delight the palate.
A Culinary Masterpiece: Scallop Ceviche
The tasting menu began with a scallop ceviche, a dish that showcased the delicate flavors of the sea. The scallops were thinly sliced and marinated in a vibrant citrus dressing that both cured and enhanced their natural sweetness. The dish was adorned with edible flowers and microgreens, adding a visual and textural elegance.
Every bite of the ceviche was a revelation. The scallops, with their pristine freshness, practically melted in my mouth. The citrus dressing provided a burst of acidity that awakened my taste buds, while the floral and herbal notes from the garnishes added layers of complexity. It was a masterful opening to the meal, setting the stage for what was to come.
A Symphony of Flavors: Venison with Beetroot and Blackberry
The main course was a work of art—a composition of flavors and ingredients that celebrated the richness of the season. I was served a perfectly cooked venison dish, paired with vibrant beetroot puree, roasted beetroot, and a blackberry jus.
The venison, cooked to a medium-rare perfection, was tender and full of flavor. It was a testament to the chef’s skill in handling game meats, as it retained its natural juiciness and tenderness. The beetroot puree added a silky and slightly earthy element, while the roasted beetroot provided a sweet and savory contrast. The blackberry jus, with its fruity and tangy notes, tied the elements together in a harmonious blend of tastes.
A Sweet Finale: Chocolate Fondant with Raspberry Sorbet
No gourmet dining experience would be complete without a memorable dessert, and Restaurant Twenty-Two delivered with a chocolate fondant paired with raspberry sorbet.
The chocolate fondant was a study in indulgence. As I cut into the dessert, a river of molten chocolate flowed from the center, creating a luscious and decadent contrast to the outer shell. The richness of the chocolate was tempered by the bright and refreshing raspberry sorbet, which provided a burst of fruitiness and a touch of acidity. It was a sweet finale that left a lasting impression.
A Culinary Gem
What impressed me most about Restaurant Twenty-Two was its commitment to showcasing the flavors of the season and using locally sourced ingredients. Each dish was a testament to the chef’s creativity and dedication to culinary excellence. The restaurant’s intimate ambiance and impeccable service added to the overall sense of indulgence.
Dining at Restaurant Twenty-Two was more than a meal; it was an experience that celebrated the art of gastronomy. It was a reminder that food has the power to elevate the senses and create lasting memories. The restaurant’s Michelin Bib Gourmand award was well-deserved, and it was a fitting conclusion to my culinary journey through Cambridge.
Cambridge’s culinary landscape is a delightful blend of tradition and innovation, offering a wide spectrum of flavors to satisfy even the most discerning palate. From hearty British classics to international delights, the city’s dining options are as diverse as its cultural heritage.
As I concluded my culinary odyssey through Cambridge, I couldn’t help but reflect on the memorable tastes, aromas, and experiences that had enriched my journey. The city’s culinary offerings had not only nourished my body but also deepened my appreciation for its history and culture. Cambridge’s food scene is a true testament to the city’s ability to blend the old with the new, creating a harmonious tapestry of flavors that is nothing short of a gastronomic adventure.
Each meal I enjoyed in Cambridge told a story—a story of tradition, innovation, and the joy of savoring the simple pleasures of life. It was a reminder that food is not merely sustenance; it is a source of connection, celebration, and discovery.