Popping for a pint

While we try to cover as much of East Anglia as we can on this blog, or travels have seemingly focused around the A12 corridor. It’s not an intentional slight on other places, or an indication that there’s less to see or do elsewhere – it just happens to be in easy reach and have a wealth of produce that appeals.

However, we do occasionally venture further afield (although Canada might be a little extreme). Our last trip – earlier this month – took us over to Cambridge, primarily for a bit of shopping and some basking in both sunshine and the lovely atmosphere of the place. Although we’ve visited a couple of times in the past, we haven’t really explored the “foody” aspect of the city very much – the exception being a visit to the nearby Gog Magog Hills farm shop last year.

To be honest, we didn’t really explore that much this time – it was a shopping trip after all. We did have an opportunity, however, to try out a new venue for lunch – The Pint Shop. Lucy had noticed them on Twitter (@pintshop), and their take on a “beer shop” really appealed. As their vision states:

Pint Shop is all about creating a place that embraces eating and drinking equally. A place where you feel equally at home having a few beers, a light lunch or a full blown feast. A place where people from all walks of life, rub shoulders with each other.

So in we went! Being lovers of a good pub, we felt immediately at home – these were people who clearly knew their target audience, with a (massive) chalk board showing the beers available, simple but elegant decor, bar snacks well presented and delicious looking, and just the right kind of relaxed (but not “boozer”) atmosphere.

We settled down, had some difficultly choosing the beer we wanted (Lucy eventually selected a half of a Redwell, with a Citra from Derbyshire for me – brewery forgotten!), and then had a similar dilemma with the bar snacks. Lucy settled on a sourdough cob with pork and apple, while I went for the traditional sausage roll and scotch egg combo. Everything was excellent. The roll was perfectly baked, with an excellent filling; the sausage roll densely packed with crunchy pastry; the scotch egg deliciously soft boiled with a crisp peppery breadcrumb.

Outside the Pint Shop

Outside the Pint Shop

Inside the Pint Shop

Inside the Pint Shop

Bar snacks

Bar snacks

Coming out after our snacky lunch, I found it quite depressing seeing everyone trooping into Jamie’s Italian opposite, and the other chains nearby, casting nare a glance at the more local, knowledgeable and friendly place. Hopefully it becomes more well known, and more people start to look out for these kinds of local places rather than national chains – if you’re in the area, I’d say definitely give it a go!

So, to help us increase our exposure to the foody part of Cambridge and the surrounding countryside (so we can continue to avoid those national chains!), what other places would you recommend? Are there any particularly “local” products that we have missed? Any suggestions gratefully received!

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