Time flies when you’re having fun, so it seems, as Lawrence and I have recently hit the seven year mark in our relationship. Seeing as a fairly big milestone and we’d had this restaurant recommended to us we made plans for a weekend away in Cambridge. Our restaurant of choice was the two michelin starred Midsummer House.
Head chef / owner Daniel Clifford took over the restaurant in 1998 but due to flooding from the River Cam, it needed extensive refurbishment before it fully got going. He turned things around though and in 2002 he received the first michelin star followed by a second in 2005. They’ve continued to hold onto these stars and it’s well regarded as the best restaurant in Cambridge and featured highly in best UK restaurant lists too.
We stayed down the road at The Varsity Hotel & Spa which was lovely, right on the river with a great central location. It’s just a 30 minute walk from the train station and even better just a 15minute stumble home after our epic meal. The hotel was very accommodating and even provided us with a free room upgrade to help celebrate our anniversary. Considering Cambridge is so popular with tourists and it’s a fairly large town the hotel options are quite limited, but there is so much development going on that I’m sure many more are on their way.
Now onto our mammoth feast, let’s begin at the beginning of our 8 course tasting menu, hope you’re sitting comfortably, elastic waistbands at the ready. Amuse bouche to start along with a magical champagne trolley, which popped up from nowhere, how could we say no. As if 8 courses wasn’t enough we had three amuse bouche and a little extra dish of pumpkin soup.
Our first course was the impressive celeriac baked on open coals with hazelnut hollandaise. Celeriac seems to be in season as having it a lot recently and really enjoying it, this one came fully baked within the very nice looking Big Green Egg bbq which the waiter then constructs your dish from in front of you, rather theatrical with a bit of smoke.
Next up is Midsummer’s signature dish and a favourite for Lawrence. Sea scallop with granny smith, celeriac and truffle. Very traditional in its presentation as it comes as a perfectly cooked and massive scallop, can’t go wrong with the simplicity.
The roast quail course had memories of Restaurant Story’s ‘tail of a quail‘. Not just serving the quail meat but served in different ways, including as a mini scotch egg and also as toast. The main dish was roast quail with shallot puree, grapes, celery and sour dough.
The fish course was very flavoursome roasted monkfish, confit pork belly, onion and bay puree. Then probably one of my highlights was the Yorkshire venison, chervil root fondant, elderberry and sausage roll.
Going against all their restaurant etiquettes we asked to hold the cheese trolley until after we’d finished the puddings. We weren’t quite sure if we’d make it but spoiler alert, don’t worry we got there. Desserts were beautiful, first with the gorgeous Aerated pear, blueberry and white chocolate. Then followed by passion fruit, yoghurt sorbet and dark chocolate.
Just about fit to burst we managed to call down the trolley and were presented with probably the best selection I’ve ever seen. In cheese heaven, we shared a few together and completed our exquisite meal.
Oh of course they couldn’t stop there though, we were presented with warm donut style puddings alongside two sauces, caramel and apple. Wow, just wow.
Was a lovely lovely meal, absolute treat and make sure you don’t eat before, so much food. Safe to say the next day was spent walking around the sites of Cambridge, which is stunning and also helps to burn off the meal before.
Cambridge is a lovely city and the meal was incredible, with the train being so quick to London you could even pop over for lunch and be back in a day with ease. Happy Anniversary and will see what next year’s meal brings us!