I haven’t found many exceptional restaurants in Cambridge, so when my chef friend alerted me to her new favourite, Restaurant 22, I was eager to try it.
Restaurant 22 on Chesterton Road has recently been taken over by Alexandra Olivier and Samuel Carter, a local Cambridge couple with lots of ambition and boundless talent.
The charming eatery is found in an elegantly restored Victorian townhouse nearby to the River Cam and Jesus Green.
Chef Samuel Carter has worked in some top kitchens across the country, including Maze in London and Hambleton Hall in Rutland, before settling at the helm of his own restaurant in Cambridge. At Restaurant 22 his regularly changing seasonal menu champions the produce from their Cambridgeshire neighbours.
We opted for the 5 course tasting menu when we visited for Saturday lunch. But first, we were treated to a few little snacks… my favourite of which was the whipped goats cheese, fig and almond macaron, a sweet and savoury delight. Then came the bread, pillowy soft brioche with salty whipped chicken fat and heavenly Guinness bread with rich and decadent Guinness butter… completely addictive.
Each course was thoughtful and immaculate, to start we had Wood pigeon with pear, celeriac and pine. This game dish was an assortment of comforting Autumnal flavours, beautifully cooked meat with velvety smooth celeriac puree and a wonderfully rich jus.
For the next course we enjoyed Cornish mackerel with kohlrabi, lovage & apple and Jerusalem artichoke risotto. The fish course was fresh and vibrant cold dish, a brilliant contrast of flavours and textures. The risotto was completely different… a steaming hot bowl of deliciousness, with rustic woody flavours of artichoke and sage.
The main event was a beautiful plate of Mutton, prepared three ways. The different cuts of meat were paired with aromas of cumin, coriander and curry. Each element was wonderful, but together it was a real joy, I particularly loved the curried meatballs. The friendly restaurant team advised us on drinks, and we enjoyed interesting wines that matched well with the food.
After so many successful savoury courses I was concerned that the pastry section may not live up to expectations… but I didn’t need to worry as it was as spectacular as the earlier plates. On the menu it was listed simply as ‘Chocolate, coffee, mascarpone’, which instantly reminded me of tiramisu. A striped chocolate and coffee mousse structure was the most striking element on the plate, accompanied with dark chocolate crumb, coffee gel and burnt white chocolate ice-cream. It was a wonderfully balanced dish, and we demolished it in happy silence.
The meal concluded with a wooden box filled with sweet treats… chocolate fudge and fluffy marshmallows. I absolutely loved our meal at Restaurant 22 and can’t wait to return to try more of their culinary creations, definitely a new highlight on the Cambridge restaurant scene.
More information and book a table at Restaurant 22 here.