Review: The Garden House restaurant at the Graduate Hotel, Cambridge
Opening on September 10, the Garden House restaurant – at the Graduate Hotel in Granta Place, Mill Lane – is currently taking bookings via gardenhousecambridge.co.uk. Adam Wood, formerly of London’s award-winning Perilla, is in charge of the kitchen.
The first thing that catches the attention upon entering this new establishment is how pleasing everything looks décor-wise, both in the restaurant and in the large, oval-shaped Garden Bar. There is also an inviting outside space - we were also lucky with the weather (sun in October!) - with deckchairs, tables and chairs, and views overlooking the Cam.
The menu at the restaurant is seasonal and will change as the seasons change. On the menu we were given was a varied selection of meat and fish dishes, as well as some tempting vegetable combinations.
We had some wonderful sourdough bread to start with, which came with bungay cultured butter, which had a lovely salty taste. We were also offered some tasty soft crackers, which came in three unique flavours: coffee, cheese, and lemon and pepper, made using leftover ingredients.
Of the starter dishes, the raw longhorn beef with soured cream and salted blackcurrent was my favourite. I had never heard of salted blackcurrent before and asked if it was a new trend. The friendly waitress informed me that it was not a trend per se, rather just something that Adam likes to use. It also popped up again later in the salted blackcurrent ice cream, and I think it's something that could definitely catch on.
Out of the meat dishes we tried (I'm not too keen on fish in general, it has to be said), I preferred the ex-dairy cow rib chop and bearnaise sauce, and the mashed potato and spinach we had with it accompanied the dish nicely - as did the grilled sweetcorn with honey and fennel butter. The honey comes from the restaurant's own bees and it's not something I'd ever put on sweetcorn before. I think I will from now on.
Pudding-wise, I was a little surprised by the inclusion of mushroom ice cream. It was okay - and I liked the salted caramel on it - but as I'm not a big fan of mushrooms it's not something I'd order again, although out of the four puddings we tasted (three ice creams and a Cambridge burnt tart) it was my wife's favourite.
My wife and I finished off with a flat white and a hot chocolate respectively and both could not be faulted. This excellent new restaurant with great food, outstanding service and peaceful riverside views should be added to your 'to dine' list without delay.