Fri. May 24th, 2024

Want somewhere special to eat in Cambridge?

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When I was a university student in Cambridge, Italian restaurant Don Pasquale on Market Hill was a popular place to eat. From 1973 to when the COVID-19 lockdowns hit, locals and tourists alike flocked to the family-run restaurant.

Sadly, the pandemic, parking difficulties, increasing business rates and more meant they decided not to reopen post-lockdown.

In Don Pasquale’s place, however, a new business appeared. Husband and wife duo Bill Brogan and Jinzhao Li opened Market House, set across five floors, in July 2022.

Market House Cambridge - Exterior

Market House features an all-day café, a formal restaurant, a wine bar, a food lab and various meeting spaces. The team work hard to source food and drink from local, sustainable suppliers where possible.

With a great ethos and an impressive-looking menu, it was the place I ended up booking for a Friday night meal during a recent stay in Cambridge. The owner greeted us on arrival and showed upstairs to the first-floor dining room: the decor of which blended the traditional with the more contemporary.

Market House Cambridge - Interior 1

Market House Cambridge - Interior 2

The menu changes regularly, but always features modern British dishes with surprising twists. It’s changed again since my visit, but if the new dishes are as good as the ones I tried, you’re in luck.

I started with the Kedgeree Arancini (£15): three plump, breaded rice balls stuffed with flaky smoked haddock and egg. The filling was nicely spiced, elevated even more by the curry aioli underneath. The accompanying “crispy rocket” could have been a little crispier, but it was a truly delicious start to the meal.

Market House Cambridge - Kedgeree Arancini

I don’t tend to cook duck at home, but I do enjoy it in a restaurant. The Market House dish of pan-roasted duck breast with sweet potato rosti, roasted root vegetables, date puree, sorrel and port juniper jus (£26) was a winner. The duck was beautifully pink, the rosti nice and charred around the edges. You’d think that the addition of a smooth date puree and the roasted root veg would make the whole thing too sweet, but it was perfectly balanced.

Market House Cambridge - Pan Roasted Duck Breast

A sticky toffee pudding is always a decadent choice. This one, priced at around the £12 mark, was more so than most. The dense, moist sponge was paired with ingredients that gave its flavour even more of a boost. The sauce was rich and sticky, the caramelised banana a nice touch. I loved the crack of the ginger tuile, and the nuts scattered over the top added texture. The ice cream wasn’t really needed with all the other flavours going on: the whole thing was delicious.

Market House Cambridge - Sticky Toffee Pudding

Would I go back? Absolutely! I’m keen to try the Market House Asia menu too, with its range of small plates, mains and authentic desserts. Time to plan the next Cambridge trip, I think…

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