Connect with us

Wining and Dining

REVIEW: ‘Yorkshires’, memories stirred and celeriac soup with poached egg

Avatar photo

Published

on

Mum had this habit of ‘farming’ me out on a Saturday to anyone who would take me.

I was the ‘stay at home’ Saturday kid, having been up early to complete a paper round and getting ready, from the age of twelve, to earn ten shillings that night as a bingo caller at our village hall.

So, whilst mum and dad went out for the day, I was spare, my brothers being engaged in something called ‘brushing’ where the local organized shoot rewarded youngsters handsomely for walking wet and frosty fields to encourage pheasants to stir and be subsequently shot. All in a good day’s sport.

One Saturday I spent the day with a couple four doors down and after a pleasant morning in front of their fire reading, called me through for lunch.

We sat down and in came a gigantic Yorkshire pudding, and boat of gravy, and nothing else.

The door closed, we sat at the table, the pudding was cut, dished out and I went back for seconds, feeling sorry for what seemed an impecunious family.

But it was a ruse for moments after the pudding had been devoured, out came a sizzling joint of beef and steaming trays of vegetables.

I was too full do it justice which I learned later was and remains the point of a custom that originated in Yorkshire where the pudding is traditionally treated as an appetizer.

And it stems from a time when meat was expensive and by filling up working men early with pudding, a joint could stretch further than it might otherwise have done.

In these recessionary times it may well be a tradition set to return but for generations it has always been Yorkshire puddings that loom large over our misty-eyed hankering for a ‘proper roast’.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

And for the record I do believe Yorkshire puddings not only can but should be served with Christmas turkey.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

But I digress as I begin this new and occasional series of Sunday lunch reviews for CambsNews, where I shall assume all participating restaurants will serve a Yorkshire pudding with the meat and veg.

And I shall also avoid the ‘homemade v Aunt Bessie’ pudding debate for quite simply it matters not a hoot. If it tastes good, looks good, and the gravy is good, quite frankly who cares.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

What really matters is all the other good stuff that surrounds our continued passion for a Sunday roast, and our first outing, to Garden House, Cambridge, was to see how it matched up to the promise of its website.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

The restaurant itself has stunning credentials.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

Easy parking, part of the 4-star Graduate Hotel, fabulous views over the Cam, and a beautifully laid out restaurant.

And the Garden House has that other, oft overlooked attribute, and that is a proficient and courteous team.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

The restaurant was busy, but not crowded, skilfully managed, and the kitchen provided punctuality in preparing our food and paced to ensure we had time to enjoy the occasion without feeling hurried or pressurized into vacating our table for other diners.

And so, to lunch. Two courses at £29pp and three courses at £35pp is the fixed price Sunday lunch, with a choice of five starters, four main, and five desserts.

Invariably I like to begin with soup, but this was a first: celeriac soup, poached egg, and hazelnut. A hearty and refined choice.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

The soup’s texture was warming and comforting, and the hazelnuts sprinkled throughout added spectacular flavour.

Adding a poached egg is not unusual, adding even more flavour to the taste as it contacts the simmering soup beneath it.

Salt cod fritters, a Caesar salad, pork terrine with brandy prunes, and burrata (the wondrous ball shaped concoction of stretched mozzarella soaked in cream) competed for our attention.

My main of roast free-range chicken was so tender, moist, and succulent I felt tempted to return early one morning to see from where the hotel sources it poultry.

My partner had the roast rump of beef and beamed away happily and contentedly throughout. His smile was followed by fulsome compliments, and I fully expected a Strictly score board to be produced from under our table with a 10 on it.

The triple glazed roast potatoes (the BBC Good Food guide has a great recipe for these) were exquisite. It ensures you get a crispy bite, but the insides remain fluffy and light.

Accompanied by honey glazed carrots and braised spinach and a pot of chef’s own robust gravy created a perfect meal. Needless to say, the Yorkshire pudding hit the spot.

CambsNews Editor John Elworthy takes his partner, his appetite, and his iPhone to lunch at Garden House restaurant, Cambridge

We rounded lunch off with my partner devouring Cambridge burnt cream tart (a 9 on his Strictly chart) and for me cheese and biscuits, which was the only slight let down. A lighter cracker might have helped, and the three cheeses offered were too cold and a better selection maybe worth considering.

Was it value for money? Yes

Was the service good? Yes, definitely so.

Would I go again? Yes, can’t wait

Big pluses? Staff that care, great atmosphere, sophisticated cooking, unhurried service.

And a plus too for those who enjoy a little wine, the restaurant offers 125ml and 175ml bottles of a decent range and sensible prices.

https://www.gardenhousecambridge.co.uk/

Facebook

Read More