The eateries and enterprises we predict will be stepping up to the plate to shape Cambridge’s food scene in 2021
Last year is going to be remembered as one that brought the hospitality sector to its knees. Decimated revenues and huge job losses were the miserable shock waves of lockdowns and restrictions, but in spite of the tough climate, Cambridge’s food and drink scene continued to expand and grow. New eateries – including Thrive and Giggling Squid – arrived and became instant hits, while much-loved Cambridge brands such as The Linton Kitchen and Jack’s Gelato cemented their success with second branches. The food delivery market got interesting, too, with Foodstuff launching as an independent-focused rival to Deliveroo, and Click It Local bringing the best of the indie high street direct to our doorsteps. Looking ahead to this year, things are about to get even more exciting, with some fantastic new food businesses heading our way. Say hello to the rising culinary stars of 2021…
After six successful years as co-owner of Steak & Honour, chef David Underwood has branched out on his own to set up Orriss & Son, a new venture specialising in small-batch hot sauces.
Promising to spice up your cooking with a fermented chilli kick, these versatile little wonders can be used for marinading, dropped into dressings and cocktails or even splashed on to salads and sandwiches, providing a flavour bomb that elevates even the simplest of dishes.
All the sauces are vegan and gluten-free, with choices including Fresh Tendrils: a vibrant, fresh hit of acidity with jalapeños and nettles that’s perfect with slow-cooked or braised meat, and My Wave, which brings a peri-peri style tangy salinity. The one that started it all, Even Flow, was Orriss & Son’s original hot sauce recipe, based on fiery and fruity habaneros partnered with red and smoked chillies, tomato and apple juices. It’s the hottest of the range and, we’re reliably informed, seriously addictive.
Looking ahead, there are new products in the offing, including rubs, seasonings and collaborations with other brands – not to mention an ambitious nationwide roll-out.
“Orriss & Son’s versatility and depth of flavour means the sauces can be used in all kinds of ways; neat, layered, during cooking, as marinades and as ingredients for cocktails,” explains David. “This time next year, we’d love to see Orriss & Son sauces on dinner tables across the UK and also used in bars and professional kitchens.” Watch this space!
A world of exotic flavours awaits at Sole & Duck, a new restaurant on Trumpington’s high street. Specialising in British-Asian fusion dishes, the kitchen philosophy is about harnessing ingredients, flavours and techniques from the cuisines of Vietnam, Thailand and Malaysia, amongst others, as well as incorporating a few favourite European dishes. Expect crispy aromatic duck with homemade hoisin sauce, luscious Sunday roasts and meltingly tender pork belly, all served in a charming, 17th-century building. The restaurant is due to open this month.
Delivering The Goods
From small beginnings on a London rooftop in 2011, Burger & Lobster has evolved into a much-loved global brand, with restaurants in New York, Dubai, Bangkok, Malaysia, Kuwait and Singapore, as well as multiple outposts in its home city. As the name suggests, the menu consists of variations on a lobster/burger theme, with favourites including the ‘original roll’: a brioche bun filled with juicy dressed lobster meat and smothered in Japanese mayo. As of last month, Cambridge dwellers can order these and other menu favourites to be delivered direct to their door, thanks to a collaboration with Deliveroo.
“We have a good relationship with Deliveroo – they invited us to open our kitchen on their site in Cambridge and it’s going really well. Cambridge was in the top three of our list of locations, so we were really pleased to get an opportunity to open there,” explains marketing manager Ben Hedley. “Ultimately, we’d love to open a proper restaurant in Cambridge. We really see an opportunity there and we know the demographic is right. It’s certainly in the plan!”
It may be delivery only, but Burger & Lobster is bringing its fastidious commitment to quality to all of its takeaways in Cambridge, says Ben. “We only deal with live lobsters and they get delivered daily into our kitchens, absolutely fresh and nothing frozen, and we use top-quality Nebraskan beef. We’re offering exactly the same menus as you’d get at our restaurants, so we’ve got our core menu of burgers, lobsters and lobster rolls, but we’ve also got some more affordable items, like crispy prawn rolls, which have been popular – especially at lunchtime.”
He adds: “We’ve worked really hard to make sure the packaging is perfect and we’ve done other things, such as create a playlist that people can listen to at home, so they can recreate the experience of dining at our restaurants.”
Giving it some Welly
Certain dishes have such a reputation for difficulty that most of us don’t even bother attempting them, and (along with soufflés and macarons), the beef wellington is right up there. A luxurious cut of meat in rich mushroom sauce and golden pastry, its preparation requires expensive ingredients and multiple techniques: the threat of a soggy bottom looming throughout. A challenge for even the most skilled cook, but when it’s done right, a real showstopper of a dish.
If you can’t be bothered with the hassle and want a perfectly cooked wellington delivered directly to your doorstep, seek out the services of new Cambridge company Mucca, which launched during the spring lockdown. It’s the brainchild of William Hart, a chef who’s worked in some of the UK’s top Michelin-starred restaurants, and his friend Jon Millard, who comes from a confectionary background and brings experience on the management and logistics side of things.
“It was while we were all isolating during the first lockdown that Mucca was created, when it would probably be fair to say most of the country felt a sense of uncertainty surrounding their jobs, and sadly many still do,” explains Jon.
William’s planned restaurant was on hold and his wife was on furlough, while Jon had not long started his young family and his wife was out of work due to the pandemic. “William phoned me and just said ‘beef wellingtons’,” he laughs. “The irony was, despite being very niche, I had mentioned the same idea last winter to my wife, and I knew straight away what William was suggesting. It seemed like one of those ‘this is more than a coincidence’ moments.”
Research began in earnest, with the pair ordering every beef wellington that they could find and taste-testing them all, eventually settling on a recipe with a cut of extra mature Aberdeen Angus beef fillet and a mushroom duxelles flavoured with a 6-year-old Madeira and freshly picked thyme, encased in double lattice puff pastry. They seem to have nailed it, if the rush of orders and sell-outs so far is anything to go by.
“We say that our products are from our chef to your table, and this is genuinely the case,” says Jon. “Our success has been down to the high number of reorders from customers and recommendations that they give. We’ve received orders from Olympic athletes, celebrity chefs, Formula One race car drivers, TV personalities and actors – but we don’t realise who has ordered until we see them mention us on social media reviewing our wellingtons!”
Harvest, a sleek new organic supermarket and coffee bar, has recently taken over the spot previously home to Mill Road’s Kailash. It’s out with the cleaning products and home bargains and in with the organic fruit and veg, eco-friendly toiletries and vegan treats at this 2,000 sq ft unit, with the owners on a mission to provide shoppers with a different experience.
“We’re bringing something unique to Cambridge,” enthuses director Tuncay Cicek. “We provide lots of organic, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free products, and we’re trying to avoid selling anything that isn’t plant-based. We also serve locally roasted coffee, and we buy our goods from local farms and other
The shop is positively bursting with products to explore, from organic wine and beer to eco-friendly baby products – and once you’re done browsing, you can sit down and enjoy a pastry and a locally roasted coffee. “It’s been lovely so far, nice and busy – especially at the weekends,” Tuncay adds.
On the Buses
This business has built up a huge following over the last few years, doling out delicious Latin food from a double-decker bus at Cambridge Retail Park, but it’s all change for 2021 with a new cafe at The Grafton. Sandwiched between Chi and Amélie, La Latina is the latest enterprise to join the shopping centre’s growing collection of independent eateries, and is serving up tostones, arepas and empanadas, with some exciting additions on their way. “The kitchen was what we needed and the space was just right,” explains co-owner Catalina Uribe of the decision to move into The Grafton “The plan is ultimately to have a proper restaurant, so this is a step towards that, giving us the training that we need. I am very impressed with The Grafton, it is very willing to support the independent businesses: Amélie is a family-run business, we are a family-run business and Chi is a small, independent business. I’m really happy about that and it’s really encouraging.
“We have a bigger kitchen here so we can expand our menu,” she continues. “We’re going to introduce English and Latino breakfasts, which will include huevos rancheros, arepa with salchicha and chorizo, and banana bread with papaya and kiwi for something sweet”.
Fans of La Latina’s strawberry lemonade will be pleased to hear that this will be making an appearance on the drinks menu, along with coconut and mint lemonades and tropical juices. The venue has an alcohol licence, too, so you can expect South American ales and beers, wine and tropical cocktails. The bus is currently resting, but Catalina and her husband are looking for a new location to serve food from, with hopes of continuing this side of the business alongside their Grafton cafe, which is open daily.
Bigger Fish to Fry
The Fin Boys, aka Jay Scrimshaw and Richard Stokes, are on a mission to get us eating more fish and making more adventurous choices when it comes to feasting on the fruit of the sea. Utilising their wealth of combined experience in the hospitality industry (Jay set up Guerrilla Kitchen and Richard was the long-term chef patron of Madingley’s Three Horseshoes), the pair are gearing up to open up a seafood bar, fish butchery and deli at number two Mill Road, offering huge variety of fish-based delicacies for eating in and taking away. At the butchery, you’ll be able to be able to pick up fabulously fresh, sustainably caught fish and get helpful advice on how to cook it, while at the seafood bar, you’ll be able to indulge in soups, salads and sandwiches during the day and tasting menus in the evening. The deli side of the business will supply homemade foodie products, DIY recipes boxes, meal kits and other ‘fishy favourites’. Keep an eye on social media
(@thefinboys) for updates.