Over the coming months we are going to add a series of “five favourites” to the Duke House Blog page. As we like eating so much, first up, our five favourite restaurants. It’s an odd mix but then eating out should be varied, after all! So in no particular order, as they say, here they are:
We’ve been visiting Don Pasquale for some 25 years now and in an era of chain restaurants many of which are now present in Cambridge, it’s great to see an independent continue to succeed. A recent uplift has given Don Pasquale a new lease of life and 12A, the members-only upstairs bar, is a master stroke. Another master stroke is that one of the owners is always on hand. The cousins (both called Pasquale) are a great team - ably supported by upcoming manager Ed. Not haute cuisine perhaps, but super-fresh, well-cooked, honest Italian fare in the Cellar or al fresco… it just never lets us down. As they say, it’s a little bit of Italy on the Market Square.
MSH is a great place for special occasions, but if you are really into your food this outstanding two-Michelin starred restaurant is the place to be at any time. The conservatory restaurant is even bigger after a recent refurb and the food continues to amaze and delight. In the summer, the top deck is a great place for a pre-prandial drink and to watch the river easing by. We could almost see our old house from there! Daniel Clifford’s media profile is rising fast and we can only see more good things ahead for this internationally renowned altar of fine dining.
The location is not great - East Road is not the best street in town, and certainly not known for culinary excellence - but it’s close enough to DH to walk and once you are inside this cute downstairs bakery and on into the upstairs restaurant you are transported to a place of English excellence. Only open for dinner Thursday- Saturday, it’s a celebration of fine food, and personal but unobtrusive service. A unique Cambridge experience.
The Cambridge Chop House(s)
If traditional British meat eating grabs you, then The Cambridge Chop House is your heaven.
Suet puddings, steaks and chops, lunchtime roasts are all on offer. But to be fair, the fish can be very good to - the sardine starter is very tasty and Rob reports an excellent mackerel salad the other day. We prefer the Kings Parade location - simply because it is closer - but there is a second Chop House up on Northampton Street. And we are hearing great reports of the revived Tickell Arms under the same ownership… more to come on that score…
Another unique Cambridge venue. After years of struggle that was like watching an old friend helplessly fall on ever-harder times Fitzbillies finally went under a few years ago only to be wonderfully revived by Tim and Alison. Now pretty much an all-day venue, with great cakes, coffee and of course the world-famous Chelsea buns on offer, the restaurant opens for dinner on Friday and Saturday serving locally sourced, expertly cooked dishes that always deliver. A huge leap forward!