Review: The Phoenix Bar and Restaurant in Histon
The eatery opened a couple of months ago and is on the site where the popular Phoenix Chinese restaurant previously stood.
The restaurant is a concept designed by three directors comprising Simon Morrice, founder of the Urban Shed, Beth Dixon, owner of The Panton Arms, and Lawrence Dixon, Beth's father and owner of The Champion of the Thames and The Clarendon Arms.
The three combined all of their experience and knowledge in the industry to create an accessible, good-quality, value-for-money/multi occasion business under one roof.
So far the partnership has been successful, partly due to the fact that there isn't really another business like it in the area.
The eatery, which uses only local suppliers for all its food/wine and beers, offers breakfast/pub lunches, including the best-selling sandwiches from the Urban Shed, and a set lunch in the restaurant.
In the evening, a family-friendly casual bar experience is offered, with all the pub classics as well as a more formal dining experience in the restaurant. Sunday lunches are also proving to be hit.
We were offered quite a wide selection of food to share - all of which was gluten free - at a special launch party held one pleasant Friday evening.
To start with, we were served pan-seared scallops with cauliflower purée on pancetta, carpaccio of beef with parmesan and truffle oil, and baby carrot with goat's cheese in a beetroot and orange salad.
All were delightful, though I think it was the cauliflower and beef which really stood out - the truffle oil in particular was a lovely touch.
Main course-wise, we were served more beef, this time with garlic mash, oyster tempura and red wine gravy, pan-fried sea bream, ratatouille with permentier potatoes and black olive caramel, duck breast a l'orange with hasselback potatoes and pak choi, sesame-baked cauliflower steak with potato fondant in Masala sauce.
This was followed by a black forest brownie with vanilla ice cream for pudding.
Highlights for me from this wonderful - and exhaustive - list were the beef (the garlic mash giving it extra flavour - I'm a huge fan of garlic), the duck and the cauliflower steak, with the Masala really sauce adding something extra.
I'm not a big fan of fish so 'sat out' the sea bream - although chef Simon says that that particular dish has proved especially popular with diners since the launch.
He added: "We focus on everything - vegan, gluten free... At the beginning, everything was gluten free. We still do that but not as focused as we were before.
"On the whole, I'd say the restaurant has had a good reception. It's going well."
The Phoenix also often hosts local food trucks in their car park and are are involved in the Histon Winter Fair and the fireworks display in November.
Additionally, The Phoenix recently held a successful Macmillan coffee morning, raising more than £500 for the charity.