Ordinarily, I’d say we’re great with planning trips, but for some reason, whenever we go to Cambridge, it’s like I have a brain fart and forget to tell friends we’re going, and the plans just seem haphazard. This time, I casually asked if we were going to book anywhere for the Saturday night. Suddenly, we decided we had to try to come to Midsummer House. So about two days before we were heading up, we managed to get a lunch booking due to a fortunate last minute cancellation. So we got ourselves to Cambridge for an afternoon of food and wine.
The venue itself is a gorgeous house along the canal. I know that the name of the restaurant actually has “House” in it, but for some reason, I really wasn’t expecting just a converted house. It definitely adds a lot of charm to the place. The bathrooms are upstairs, and on the way I checked out the amazing lounge area upstairs that also has a gorgeous view of the park. They also wheeled around the Champagne trolley, and the trolley itself was such an amazing surprise. I didn’t take photos, but I don’t want to spoil it, but you should definitely enjoy some Champagne. We did. We had a glass of Biodynamic Champagne from a lovely Champagne house that we had visited on our trip that we took to the region last year. That was a lovely and interesting surprise.
We were then served a nice selection of snacks starting with the potato and chive puffs and fried mackerel with piccallili. The potato was really tasty, with a nice crispy exterior and an explosion of chive. The mackerel was nice as well, but a bit inferior to the potato for me. We were also presented with mini savory cornets. Finally, we had the Bloody Mary palate cleanser which was a celery sorbet and a Bloody Mary foam. Honestly, it tasted mostly of celery to me, but I’m a huge fan of celery, so it was definitely enjoyable. We then ordered our wine for the meal and waited for the main meal to start. The first thing to arrive was the amuse bouche of crab and lime. It didn’t really wow me, but maybe we let the ice melt too much while waiting for our wine.
This was followed by the roasted celeriac course. This was probably my favorite course of the whole meal. It was very theatrically presented and cut open at the table and we were served the very center of the celeriac. The rest goes back to the kitchen to make the burnt celeriac. It’s then served with some pickled celeriac. Finally they put some hollandaise sauce that has been freezed with liquid nitrogen on top. It’s definitely the most showy of the courses, but it really did have that wow factor!
Next up was the sea scallop with truffle. It is one of those dishes where they grate the truffle on top right in front of you, so you definitely get that amazing smell of truffle. And it was a great dish. Truffle and apple go great with seared scallops. It may have been the second best dish of the night. Next was the seared foie gras with a gingerbread crumb. Another fantastic dish (as it’s hard to go wrong with foie gras). It was also served with a foie gras mousse on a cracker, which was a really fantastic small bite to go with the course. And both were presented absolutely beautifully.
Next up was roasted monkfish with artichoke. I have to say this was my least favorite dish. I’m really just not a fan of monkfish, and even though it was perfectly cooked, it just kind of fell flat for me. Monkfish is one of those fishes I really want to love, but I’ve yet to have an amazing course with it. The artichoke had a ton of lemon flavor to go with the fish. The final savoury course was lamb with tomatoes. The lamb was really well cooked, and I really enjoyed everything about it. There was even some slow cooked shoulder pieces that just melted in the mouth.
We then decided to go for the optional cheese course, mostly because we find it very hard to say no to cheese. We paired it with a great Tanatis which is a sweet red, fortified wine from France. We’ve had another version of this wine before, but we thought it was different wine, so we learned something very new about our choice of French, sweet wines. We had a great conversation with the cheese man about the cheese he selected for the restaurant. We also asked about edible vs. non-edible rinds, and he politely pointed out that as a French person, for him 99% of rinds were edible. TIL.
Finally it was time for dessert. However, we did end up eating our cheese quite slowly, so more wine was required. This time we went for a sweet Italian red wine (we have a bit of a thing for red dessert wines). Again, it was an amazing wine, and we were glad to have had it with our food. The first dessert course was pear with blueberry and white chocolate. I was worried it was going to be too sickly as I often find white chocolate to be a bit over the top, but the pear was so tart, it really just brought something amazing to the dish. Our final dessert course was a passionfruit and dark chocolate dessert. Again, another really great dessert, as dark chocolate is one of my favorites, and I also love the sweet, tartness of passionfruit.
Next came beignets with two types of dipping sauce: Salted caramel and apple caramel. I think the apple was better as hit had a bit of tartness, but both were delicious and it was a fun extra dessert to eat at the end of the meal. Finally, we were brought a box of chocolate truffles to make a selection from. We were told we could have two each, and as I was selecting mine, the guy kept insisting I wanted the cherry kirsh chocolate. It really wasn’t one I selected, so we ended up with a selection of three chocolates instead. WIN! All of which were really well made, and not overly sweet. They had that rich chocolateliness that one wants in a nice after dinner chocolate.
Finally, a visit to Midsummer House would not be complete without a visit to the bathrooms to see the lovely and slightly erotic art on the wall. I fell in love with all of them, and felt the need to photograph them and share them here.
I really enjoyed my visit to Midsummer House. We were there for about four and a half hours in total (which kind of ruined our plans to have dinner with a friend, so it was more like nibbles and drinks). There was never any rush to have us leave, and all the waitstaff were so friendly and cheeky it really felt like a great environment to work as well as eat. If you’re looking for a fantastic place to go on your visit to Cambridge, I can’t recommend it enough for the food at atmosphere.
Cambridge, CB4 1HA