Yesterday I attended the very fabulous and utterly scrummy Secluded Tea Party hosted by Miss Sue Flay – what a great alias!
I’ve never been to a pop up restaurant or foodie event before so this was my first, it was held at the Cambridge Cookery School, a shiny and new food school in Cambridge – perfect for the tea party.
I found it via Twitter and me and a few other Cambridge foodie friends ( Nora, Ireena & Sarah ) went along to join the party.
We had some brilliant tea from Tea Pigs and Tea Box Online – I had the rhubarb and custard tea from Tea Box and it was yummy, just right on its on and slightly sweet. The Earl Grey was much nicer than any I’d had before, not the fake orangey-bergamot you get from mass produced earl grey, that was from Tea Pigs.
But now, on to the food! We had red onion jam & pancetta tartlets, little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, chocolate macarons sandwiched with vanilla cream (my favourite), huge fruit scones with peach & amaretto jam and cream, and lastly a rich chocolate cake with chocolate ganache.
We left with very full bellies, all going home for a nap!
There will be more tea parties in the future so keep an eye on the Secluded Tea blog for dates, each one will be in a secret location!
Lately it seems like we’ve been dining out a lot, I can assure you this is not a very regular occurence but I’m pleased we’ve been out more recently.
One place that we’ve had our eye on for a while is Alimentum, its been open since 2007 and has recently recruited the chef from Midsummer house, the two Michelin starred restaurant in Cambridge. Since he joined in April this year Alimentum has been enjoying a lot more press and is steadily gaining a very good reputation for excellent food.
If you live in Cambridge you’ll know that there is very little choice of restaurants unless you like chains – because of high rents (mainly caused by the University owning 90% of the land and buildings) not many independent restaurants pop up in central Cambridge.
Alimentum prides itself of local and seasonal food (the waiting staff emphasise this greatly) as well as an ethical approach to running their business. They also offer a great deal of good value options as well as their a la carte menu.
We booked for the fixed price pre theatre menu which was very good value, £15.50 for two courses or £18.50 for three.
I started with the artichoke barigoule with goats cheese, I wasn’t exactly sure what this was but I thought I’d try it as I’m terrible at preparing artichokes myself. It turned out to be a stew of artichoke hearts with baby vegetables in a light white wine and mustard sauce. The goats cheese was perfect alongside it and it was beautifully presented.
Mr had Tilbury Meadows rib eye of beef- it was prepared by very thinly slicing rare roast beef with parmesan crisps and a light horseradish cream – a very nice alternative to a carpaccio.
For main I opted for the roast fillet of cod with mussels. Both were extremely fresh and the cod was cooked perfectly, it was served with a delicious spinach and garlic sauce which didn’t taste as iron-y as you would think from a spinach sauce. Mr opted for the confit duck which was cooked to perfection, falling off the bone with a lovely crisp skin.
I again had already chosen my dessert before my starter or main, I went for the chocolate mousse with praline and mascarpone sorbet. I loved the presentation, the mousse was layered on top of a crispy biscuit base and finished with another layer of dark chocolate. The handmade praline was beautiful, the highlight of the pudding. The sorbet was a wonderful idea, it wasn’t as rich as ice cream but still had a nice creamy taste but with the freshness of mascarpone.
Mr had the mulled wine poached pear which was completely christmassy in every way, the wine was spiced just right. It was served with ice cream, a pear crisp and pear puree.
We had a great experience at Alimentum, there are lots of good value options for dining which is something Cambridge badly needs. Alimentum already has 3 AA rosettes and I expect it will gain a few more accolades quite soon.