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Midsummer House Cambridge


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  • 3 weeks later...

We had a rather average lunch over the weekend at the Midsummer House.

There were only two simple choices of bread, White or Brown.

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I was hesitant to order the Ox Tongue as my main course, but I did it anyway.

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It was a big piece of tongue, much bigger than I anticipated! It came with carrot, pumpkin purée, crispy capers and was actually not that bad after I forced myself not to think too much about the tongue!

A chocolate and kaffir lime fondant complemented by coconut sorbet. I had a high expectation from the look:

But the fondant biscuit itself was very dry, not crispy, but just dry. Plus, the chocolate had kaffir lime flavour which totally ruined the heavenly chocolate. Just wasn't a good dessert at all. I guess we were comparing it to Michel Bras' Coulant de Chocolat.

The best part of the meal was actually the petits-fours with this freshly baked pastry from the oven!

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Well, it was only a £35 lunch, so maybe we shouldn't expect much even though it's a 2-star. But wait....... We had a superb lunch at Sketch in London even though it was also £35!

MORE PHOTOS HERE

Fine Dining Explorer

www.finediningexplorer.com

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  • 2 years later...

Anyone been here recently?

It certainly looks like Mr Clifford is at the top of his game judging by his dishes on Great British Menu.

His Great British Menu is available from next week for seventy five English pounds, plus of course that ubiquitous 12.5% service charge. I assume for that price an amuse and a pre dessert are included.

Although having said that the portion sizes here are most certainly generous.

Be great if anyone could report a recent meal here.

Thanks in anticipation.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Only been once probably nearly 2 years ago thinking about it, but I must say it was a very good meal and there aren't many places in the UK that genuinely surpass my expectations nowadays and they did.

It was about GBM time then and it was a hard reservation to get, even saturday lunch when we did eventually go.

I see Daniel Clifford on twitter pointing out that Tuddenham Mill is only 20 mins away so a double header of the two is emminently possible, and sounds a good idea to me, I had no idea they were that close. In an R8 probably 17 mins :wink:

you don't win friends with salad

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Only been once probably nearly 2 years ago thinking about it, but I must say it was a very good meal and there aren't many places in the UK that genuinely surpass my expectations nowadays and they did.

It was about GBM time then and it was a hard reservation to get, even saturday lunch when we did eventually go.

I see Daniel Clifford on twitter pointing out that Tuddenham Mill is only 20 mins away so a double header of the two is emminently possible, and sounds a good idea to me, I had no idea they were that close. In an R8 probably 17 mins :wink:

A back to back is most appealing, its something I'm currently considering.

I think I could easily beat that 17 minutes except if a tractor or caravan were in my way :biggrin:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Ate the Great British Menu here today and thought it to be outstanding. Totally agree with Glyn Purnells marking. All dishes very good, the main course was exceptional.

I want to compare some more of the other regional winners dishes but really on this showing, this will take some beating.

Have some great photos I just need to check through them and I will post a full review.

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"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Its three years since our last visit to Midsummer. An awful lot has happened in between those years and we have virtually eaten our way around England. London has and always will be the big draw for us but we just had to make the return here.

Ideally situated by the River Cam it has undertaken a recent refurb with the conservatory being extended, and a rejig upstairs with a very pleasant private dining area. Its refreshing to look down from the approaching bridge to the house below, and to see the rowing boats on the water. Of course topically we have just had the famous Oxford, Cambridge boat race.

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The draw of course this year was Daniel Clifford's Great British Menu dishes, which yummy brummy Michelin starred chef Glyn Purnell marked up to 10 out of 10.

Can a dish be awarded full points? Is it perfect? Of course its all down to personal preference, but hey I'm not a chef so what do I know.

We arrived in good time with no traffic problems on the roads, to be greeted by Restaurant Manager Simon Warr who was here on our last visit.

First impression was good. Youngish staff front of house, same in the kitchen, which now has a large viewing window into the conservatory. It is a very pleasant place to sit, light, spacious and in touch with the verdant garden area.

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Now then. We have been blessed with some excellent meals this year so I desperately wanted this meal to carry on in that vein.

Before I get on to the menu that we ate from,I would just like to point out that the other two that we looked at were equally, if not more appealing. Lots of meaty treats on them both that had us spoilt for choice, and truth be told we both really fancied the tasting menu.

Amuse was a dinky glass of "bloody mary", some featherly light cheese filled gougeres, and a bowl of green olives.

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Bread was made on the premises and was White and brown sourdough, of which I just slightly preferred the brown. As can be seen from the photo it has a fantastic salty thick crust. Mention also to the butter which was pretty good too.

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Oddly the menu is not printed up as Great British Menu, its on as the Market Menu. So I was slighty confused at first, until I read its contents. Instead of the televised four courses it is now six, plus of course the little nibbly bits and bloody mary at the start. You may also add in a cheese course at a bargainous £7.50.

So a classic to get us started. What could be more classic than, Leek and Potato, quail egg and smoked haddock

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The reason why classics have been around forever of course, is because they work. Here the translucent fish was perfectly cooked and the vichyssoise was perfect. It all slipped down a treat.

Onwards to the first proper GBM dish which I think scored very well, Caramelised veal sweetbread, onion and cinnamon puree, burnt onions and wood sorrel

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This presented itself well on the beautiful plate and was a joy to eat. Sweetbreads are underused but hold bags of flavour especially when caramelised like this. Note that only one asparagus spear has burnt onion ash on it. On the cinnamon bark, and nestling snugly below the wood sorrel is a veal tartare.

Straight down to the Med next and you perhaps could eat this anywhere along the Cote d'Azur, thats where the inspiration is from.

Stuffed Red mullet, parmesan puree, confit lemon, roast artichoke, green olives, and Iberico ham.

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This was a pleasant dish. Again nicely presented. Good piece of fish which still tasted strongly of red mullet even though it had a crunchy pork topping, which incidently we thought worked very well. All except Oliver Peyton of the GBM judges liked this dish. We could not understand what he did not like about it.

The main event next, and I still can't believe Glyn Purnell said he almost cried when he ate this dish. For a chef to utter those words, I cannot think of any higher compliment one master craftsman could make to another master craftsman. If I were Daniel Clifford I would have been blown away.

Slow poached chicken, sweet corn, spinach with bacon and peas, chicken juices.

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My photos can not do full justice to the impact of this dish when it arriving at the table.

Served on a stunning, massive JL Coquet porcelain plate all the way from Limoges it was picture perfect. We could not wait to get tucked in.

The only thing missing however from the dish was the "chicken spray" that was wafted in front of the judges. Still it was really not required as there was good aroma from the plate.

It was a divine plate of food. Chicken is such an everyday item at home, that we all tend to forget how a properly sourced bird should taste. Note the chicken skin cannelloni filled with chicken mousse and popcorn. From a chefs point of view I suppose this dish is technically excellent. From a punters point of view it most certainly ticks all of the boxes.

Yes we can indeed understand the very high praise.

We took the cheese as an extra course and the chariot arrived tableside laden with goodies.

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We left the choice mainly to our server with a little interaction from us. We don't normally take the cheese course but having tasted some absolutely fabulous Bernard Anthony compte and gruyere at Medlar recently we were tempted here today.

So, we had a taste of compte, some very fine stilton from Colston Basset, Harbourne blue goats cheese from Devon, Spanish Manchego from La Mancha, and some Turnworth from Hampshire made in the style of Camembert.

Grape chutney, walnut and raisin bread and selection of crackers completed the offering.

Pre dessert was a simple but effective transition into dessert,Fennel, black olive and lemon

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Finally and perhaps to some,the most prettily plated of food of them all, the dessert.

Raspberry and tarragon roulade, white chocolate cookie dough, salt and pepper powder, tarragon oil

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Eye candy of the highest order, and it tasted as good as it looks

Wow and we are not quite finished yet.

Daniel Clifford himself explained that the recipe for these little French inspired pastries are unique. Made with a high alcohol cherry eau de vie and served with apple compote from the garden and a basic creme anglaise they were quickly devoured.

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And last but not least a selection of very fine home made chocolates with the coffee.

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Well, well. This is a true destination restaurant for us in every sense of the word. Without doubt a truly great meal and high praise indeed for the generosity of the portions. In fact that is the one thing that shines out above all else, the generosity of it all. No tiny portions, no cutting corners, we like that very much in a restaurant.

Daniel Clifford eats, sleeps, breaths this business and his hospitality is immense. He is firmly of the opinion if you spend big money at a restaurant, it has to be a special experience and believe you me, this was special.

As you will imagine our bill was over £200 for two, however there is an easily accessible midweek dining option at about £40 so its very doable for quite a few people.

Service is a highlight here, perhaps as it should be of course, but you don't get it everwhere thats for sure. Simon Warr has a very good team to work with and looked after not only us but all of his customers on the day.

Finally, and perhaps because he knew that we were coming, the immensely charming Daniel Clifford who popped by to say hello at the end of service. We were flattered that he would spend so much time with us and it just rounded off a very special day and made it seem like it was an anniversary or birthday.

He did not mind me taking a photo of him in relaxed mode. In fact I think he relished it, he's a really fun guy to be with.

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"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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What a wonderful review. thank you for taking the time with the pics to add it here. Ill never be able to visit such a fine restaurant, but now I have.

And to me, the times ive eaten as you have, the cheese board makes the meal. This one looks stunning!

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What a wonderful review. thank you for taking the time with the pics to add it here. Ill never be able to visit such a fine restaurant, but now I have.

And to me, the times ive eaten as you have, the cheese board makes the meal. This one looks stunning!

Thank you most kindly.

I know how much you enjoy following Great British Menu from your posts on the thread. So its comforting for me to know you like reading my report. I've enjoyed sharing our dining experience with you.

There's more to come from GBM and I will be doing my best to keep you up to date :smile:

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Amazing and the pics look fantastic.

Im so pissed off as i was meant to be eating there last saturday and due to some bad news it all fell through....i was in a proper low way all weekend and now....when i realise just what i missed its really peed me off again :sad:

CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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