6 posh nosh local takeaways
Desperate to sink your teeth into some fine dining at home? At your service, the fanciest takeaways Cambridgeshire & Suffolk has to offer - dig in!
We can definitely see the light – clear and bright at the end of the tunnel, but there’s still a fair few weekend meal times to get through before we can hit those pubs and restaurants with vengeance. If you can’t treat yourself at the moment when can you? There are some amazingly talented chefs adapting to the times and innovating with deliveries of their fine-dining fodor to you all over Cambs and Suffolk. Here’s a few of the best for you to choose from…
Restaurant 22 in Cambridge was taken over by Sam Carter and Alex Oliver in March 2018, and in normal times is a go-to for fine dining in the area, situated as it is in a gorgeous Victorian house, with stained glass windows just near to Jesus Green and the River Cam. Sam has worked in many a Michelin star restaurant and you can tell by the creative menu, delicate presentation and stunning food. The at-home restaurant box includes six courses for £45pp. The current menu starts with ‘snacks of salt cod arancini, wild garlic aioli, beef tartare, barbeque celeriac, and pickled shallots – beats the mini cheddars that usually accompany my pre-dinner G&T! Have those super classy snacks along with some Calverley’s Brewery stout & treacle bread, and roasted yeast butter. The amuse bouchè is duck tortellini, mushroom, duck broth- followed by a fish course of Gigha halibut, seaweed, smoked butter and dill oil. Courses are perfectly sized so you can make it to the end – so fear not you will have room for your main course of Haddenham pork, caramelized pear, and Roscoff onion. Dessert is duck egg custard tart, with Yorkshire rhubarb, ginger, and orange clotted cream. Finally, (oh go on then) some sea buckthorn and dark chocolate truffle petit fours. Sounds like a taste-bud tingling sensation – orders yours here for collection on 26/27 Mar, 2/3 Apr, 9/10 Apr.
The Modern Table
It might seem extravagant to get a private chef to cook for you, but Liz Young’s Modern Table is all about bringing her food to the likes of you and me, even though she may have been more used to cooking for the rich and famous on super-yachts in her previous life. Cambridge-based Liz can create an amazing meal for your family (or friends once we’re allowed) with sample menus including starters such as confit halibut with lemon, cauliflower, hazelnuts & baby herbs, or homemade gnocchi, with black truffle and parmesan. For main course how about venison or beef with a potato, apple, pancetta terrine, caramelised shallots, charred gem, or pressed Pork belly, smoked potato, apple and celeriac remoulade, with slow-roasted pickled red onion (there are fish or veggie options if you prefer). For dessert, you could have chocolate and rhubarb tart, with honeycomb, or a yoghurt and ginger parfait, with chocolate, orange and almond crumb. All of the above, please! Liz also has weekly menus on her Instagram, where you can choose some incredible home-cooked food to be delivered to your door for a classy weekend dinner. We tried an amazing chicken parmigiana (served a crisp salad and green beans), with homemade challah bread and dips too. If you want some major brownie points from the family, order quick and it will be delivered to your door in compostable containers on Friday. You could even try and pass it off as your own although in my house they would rumble me straight away.
Maison Bleue, Bury St Edmunds
Maison Bleue in Bury St Edmunds has become a destination restaurant across the county and the country if you want brilliantly executed French-modern food. Like many of the restaurants at the top of their game, Maison Bleue has been quick to adapt to the times and last year aunched ‘Léa’ – their range of food to go, a la Francaise. Choose from such classics as chicken liver parfait, potted shrimp, or cauliflower and parmigiano velouté. Oo la la! Classic mains such as beef bourguignon (why do I turn into Dawn French when I try to say this?) haddock and tiger prawn cassolette or chicken breast with chestnuts and pomme puree – mouth-watering! But I’m not done – wait for it – there is a side dish of….gratin dauphinoise – a delicious garlic-infused creamy potato dish. Can I have six, please? But then again, I must save some room for dessert – choose from chocolate mousse with salted butter caramel, Lea ‘Mont Blanc’ with chestnut, white chocolate and blackcurrant, or pineapple brioche – OMG! Everything comes in glass containers – bring back 24 and get a free main course. Now that’s the kind of recycling challenge I like! You can collect Tuesday to Saturday 10 – 6pm, order 24 hours in advance here.
The Unruly Pig, Woodbridge
The Unruly Pig is top of my list of places to visit when we are once again allowed to languish in a garden with a feast of food and buckets, yes buckets of wine. Head Chef Dave Wall worked at Bibendum, Gordon Ramsay’s Boxwood Café, Claridge’s and then Le Talbooth, which is not half bad as a resume especially if you add ‘ Britain’s Best Pub Restaurant Chef 2019/20′ – go Dave! Currently serving southeast Suffolk with takeaway, deliveries and ‘heat@home’ fodder, with dishes designed and prepared with real flair. I love the sound of the Unruly Easter at Home, which includes sourdough brioche whipped brown butter, mersea crab tartlet with parmesan shortcrust and brown crab custard (I died and went to crab heaven), followed by stuffed cannon of lamb, braised shoulder, boulangere potatoes, bbq hispi cabbage, and wild garlic emulsion. Finish it all off with molten chocolate brownie, pump street chocolate, and salted caramel ice cream all for £35 per person. Available 2-4 April but place orders (here) by Monday 29 Mar at 4pm if you don’t want to miss out on this feast.
The silver linings of the Covid era have been few and far between, but one such mini-miracle that occurred last summer was the arrival of Soho seafood restaurant L’Escargot – in Aldeburgh. No sooner had my friend sent me the Insta post, we had booked one of the few remaining tables of this summer pop-up. The lobster was soooo good, and no matter that I had decided to dress up (in a not v subtle lime green number) for the occasion and was met with that cringe-worthy sight of another restaurant customer in the exact same dress! I soothed myself with champagne and lobster and waved jauntily at the lady on my way out. Great news – L’Escargot Sur Mer seems to be here to stay, for the foreseeable future. Open now for take-away and cook at home kits that include such delectables as Fishers gin cured salmon, shellfish bisque, 12 escargots with garlic butter, braised beef shin pie, luxury fish pie or macaroni and wild mushroom gratin, or really push the boat out and go with the dauphinoise potatoes and fillet of beef Wellington with Madeira jus, (48 hour’s notice- 2-person minimum) and chocolate mousse for pud. Take out for you lucky locals includes L’Escargot fishcake with tarragon mayonnaise, shellfish bisque, or half or whole baked lobster with garlic butter and chips. I’d also suggest booking now for those in-demand summer tables – and don’t wear a green dress.
Burger and Lobster/ Smack Lobster
Cambridge has recently seen an influx of the fantastic Deliveroo Editions that sees London venues open a kitchen and delivery service in the city without having an actual restaurant. Burger and Lobster and Smack Lobster are open and a lobster roll is only a phone call away. Hallelujah!
For more dining, out but in and restaurant box options see our features on Sunday dinners (many of these places do fuller menus too).