Sunday, 15 April 2012

Review: Cambridge Places - Sunday Lunch at the Clarendon Arms

I haven't spent many weekends in Cambridge recently so to remind myself how much I love living in the city I've decided to revisit my favourite places. Unsurprisingly, foodie and arty places feature fairly prominently on my list of things worthy of dedicating a whole Saturday or Sunday to. So where better to start than with a delicious Sunday lunch at a Cambridge pub, followed by an afternoon of coffee, chocolate shopping, and lazy browsing in an intriguing contemporary art gallery.
Roast Beef

After a slow amble across Midsummer Common, sidestepping roaming cattle and watching Spring sunshine highlighting bright white boathouses against dramatic low grey clouds, The Boy and I settled down to a long, relaxing Sunday lunch at The Clarendon Arms on Clarendon Street, Cambridge. We last visited during the summer and enjoyed generous roast dinners and pints with The Boy's family, crammed in on a picnic bench in the cosy courtyard garden. Due to the unpredictable Spring weather (April Showers barely covers the sunshine / hail storm combo we've been experiencing lately) we picked a table in the traditional interior of the pub and ordered our food from the friendly bar staff. With a variety of interesting beers and ales always on offer, and Suffolk cider Aspall on tap, the pub is perfect for those looking for quality, good old fashioned drinking in a no-frills, welcoming pub atmosphere. 

Whitebait and Tartar Sauce

While we waited for our roast beef to arrive, we tucked into a couple of starters; deep-fried whitebait with tartar sauce and a black pudding stack with leeks and mustard sauce. The whitebait were fat and full of flavour with a light coating and a chunky, piquant tartar sauce. I loved how it was served in an old-fashioned bread basket (the kind we had lying around at home when I was a child, which seemed to make it to the dining table with every meal) lined with newspaper. The generous portion of black pudding slices, layered with thin strips of leek, perfectly seasoned wholegrain mustard sauce, and a sprinkling of home-grown thyme, was absolutely delicious. A perfect match for our pints of Aspall Draught Suffolk Cyder.   
 
Black Pudding Stack
The roast beef was just as delicious: thick, rich gravy; fiery horseradish; fluffy, peppery potatoes; firm, fresh vegetables; and, a real treat, sausage meat and herb stuffing. The huge yorkshire pudding was amazing soaked in gravy with a dollop of horseradish sauce. The two slices of well-seasoned beef topped off the generous plate nicely; although slightly more done than I like the cut was good and the meat full of flavour. A massive highlight of my weekend!  

 
Roast Beef

We were so full after lunch that we staggered as far as The Jolly Scholar on King Street, one of my favourite laid-back places in Cambridge to eat and drink, and chilled out on the Parisian-style brasserie's comfortable sofas with cappuccinos. The Boy made me order cheese and oatcakes (it took all of three seconds to twist my arm, even though I'd declared that I'd never eat again after lunch) for us to share, which was accompanied by some gorgeous chutney to fuel my love of condiments a little more!!

Cappuccinos and Cheese

Craving something sweet we headed home via Bellina of Cambridge for some mini French macarons and then popped in to contemporary art gallery, Artique, to check out some limited edition 21st century art including Rolf Harris's (pretty impressive) pieces and the cool and quirky modern caricature paintings by Todd White. The gallery is holding a "meet the artist" event for Todd White's new UK collection on Wednesday 18th April, which is well worth a look. Find out more here.

Todd White's "Girly Drinks"
Enjoy :-)