Review: The new autumnal menu at Parker’s Tavern, Cambridge
An all-new autumnal menu has recently been unveiled at Parker’s Tavern, the popular Cambridge restaurant which is part of the University Arms Hotel.
I went along with my wife to sample some of it on Saturday, October 21.
The first dishes that caught my eye when glancing at the menu were those under the heading: ‘small and light’. While some of the main course dishes seemed fairly standard fare, there were some options in the small and light section that really stood out.
Chief among them for me were the roasts pear and stilton salad, containing walnuts, black pepper and honey dressing; the mac and cheese, featuring the cheeses, Ogleshield, Cheddar and Emmental; and roasted crown prince pumpkin and puy lentils, temptingly described as a “pumpkin seed pesto”.
Before that however, we thought we might go for a starter, as there are some interesting and eye-catching options on that menu too.
I went for the vegetables tempura and my wife had the crab rarebit on sourdough bread, which came with a sweet herbs salad.
The vegetables tempura, which is vegetables coated in a thin batter and deep-fried, was simply divine, the sweet chilli sauce really adding that little bit extra.
My wife enjoyed her crab rarebit too and allowed me to try some. I did quite like it but was glad I’d gone for the tempura (I tend not to be a huge fan of seafood).
Another good thing about the small and light menu is that you can have a smaller, starter-like portion, or a larger portion resembling a main course.
In order to try a bit more of the tantalising options available, we decided to have two of the smaller portion dishes each.
I had the mac and cheese, with the added ham hock option, and the lentils, while my wife had the mussels cooked in Suffolk cider and the celeriac noodles and mushrooms.
Of the two I had, I preferred the lentils, though that’s not to say the mac and cheese with ham was bad – far from it.
The lentils really were delicious and I had never had them served this way before – and I would thoroughly recommend them. My wife very much enjoyed the mussels and the noodles too.
With so many creative options to choose from just on the starter and small and light lists – and different-sized portions available on the latter (except for the mussels) – this autumnal menu is also ideal for people who may be feeling hungry but not quite hungry enough for, say, a large steak, although there is that option too.
For those who enjoy afternoon tea, there is also an autumn afternoon tea available at Parker’s Tavern, which includes traditional finger sandwiches, from smoked mackerel and cucumber to chicken and pesto, and other savoury bites, including goats’ cheese and beetroot crudité and wild mushroom quiche.
Sweet treat items include blackberry crumble choux, a pear and almond tart, salted caramel and apple cake, a plum, honey and yoghurt macaron and pumpkin and orange drizzle – and of course there are also freshly-baked scones.
The University Arms, located in the heart of Cambridge, first opened in 1834 as a coaching inn. The hotel relaunched alongside Parker’s Tavern in August 2018 after a two-year, £80m transformation.
For more information, visit parkerstavern.com.