Eating into the Evening
Edition’s Phoebe Harper takes a trip to Mill Road to try out Cambridge’s favourite bottomless brunch and pizza joint
It is a fiercely cold winter’s evening when I venture down the length of Mill Road in search of sustenance.
Soon, the glow of ‘Scott’s All Day’ etched in gold on a historic window front, combined with industrial-style light bulbs highlighting a scene of contented diners, promises an inviting beacon of warmth.
Inside, I am greeted by staff who are all smiles and met with a relaxed and casual atmosphere, quieter than weekend mornings when the place can be overrun by gaggles of bottomless brunchers.
Exposed brick walls are strewn with framed pictures of American street photography, in homage to the diners, delis and corner joints that inspired the restaurant’s inception when the eponymous Scott found himself in the US and unable to work for three months due to visa reasons. Instead, that time was well spent visiting every eatery ‘from Brooklyn to the Bronx’, he tells us – strictly for research purposes, of course.
ON THE MENU
That research more than paid off, as evidenced by Scott’s menu, which has been freshly printed on A3 paper to accommodate several tantalising new additions. It may be the cold snap outside – or the seemingly endless hours that stretch between lunch and dinner at this time of year – that lead me and my dining partner to seriously over-order.
We begin with halloumi fries the size of fish fingers, served with a delicious pot of hot honey, followed by a highly recommended menu newbie: deep fried lasagne bites cast adrift on a sea of rich pizza sauce, topped with lashings of parmesan and fresh basil.
They’re well seasoned, sumptuous and just the right size with one bite per diner.
Now, you’d be a fool to visit Scott’s and not try a pizza.
After all, in 2023 the restaurant won two separate categories at the Pizza, Pasta & Italian Food Association (PAPA) Industry Awards. Having had the pleasure of sampling a classic Neapolitan on a previous visit, I decide to branch out to something different and try the steak served with peppercorn sauce.
After all, I like a steak when I can see where it came from – by simply turning my head 90° to where Mill Road Butchers stands on the other side of the road. Also, I respect anywhere that automatically serves its steak medium rare, finding it the right side of cerise and cooked to perfection.
My fellow table companion opts for the same, but we are thrown by the introduction of new Detroit pizzas to the menu and prepare to loosen our belt buckles by ordering one to share between the two of us.
A classic deep-pan pizza that’s the chunkier and more indulgent cousin of the Neapolitan, it’s deliciously thick, with the perfect combination of crispiness and chewiness thanks to its generous toppings of mozzarella and cheddar cheese.
On the side, a bowl of rocket salad with shavings of parmesan and drizzlings of balsamic makes an excellent excuse for a half-hearted attempt at healthy eating.
By the time we get (close) to finishing our plates, I realise that almost two and a half hours has passed in a blink.
I firmly believe the true sign of any good meal is when time as a construct simply vanishes altogether. As the name suggests, I suppose it would be easy to spend all day here.
If you’re looking to spend an evening at this fine neighbourhood establishment, baggy clothing is advised – as is walking to the restaurant so you can upgrade to a bottomless dinner for a reasonable price.
With a menu of comforting home foods perfect for cold winter evenings, you are guaranteed to leave Scott’s with appetites satiated and waistbands straining. Now to return for dessert!