Saturday, November 24, 2007

22 reasons to visit Restaurant 22

Restaurant 22 is a bit of a Cambridge legend, a converted Victorian house in the centre of Cambridge that can feed twenty six in the main room and a further twelve upstairs in a private room. As it is compact and bijou it can be quite a challenge to get a table especially if not booked far enough in advance. I’ve only eaten here once before, every time I visit and we think we should go I am thwarted by not thinking far enough ahead. Fortunately we planned this belated celebration of LLcT’s birthday a little while ago so we managed to secure one of the much-covetable bookings. The menu is available online on their website so decisions are generally made before arrival and the various merits of the choices can be debated and appetites whetted way before sitting down at one of their linen clad tables.

My only real memory from my last visit many years ago was fine bread, being sat next to a tall bookcase crammed with intriguing cookbooks should conversation fail (which I don’t believe happened), some tasty food but I cannot recall what and some full-bodied red wine which is why I think it might all be a little hazy about the latter.

This time I hope to have a clearer memory though photographs do help with that. We are bought some little nibbles which more than half the table think are a little two tomato based (I am in good company here!) but the mousse-y canapés are tasty.

My starter, in fact most of our starter were Seared Scallop, Braised Pig Trotter and Black Pudding. And as ever the crowd pleaser, scallop and black pudding is becoming so de rigour but I rather like the extra little porky twist and the ever so smooth purée. One of the feature of a Restaurant 22 menu is the optional fish course, a treat if one hasn’t laid too heavily into the Guinness bread, but today’s fish dish was Prawn and Chilli Tortellini With Roast Butternut Squash Purée and not being an enormous fan of prawn I passed in favour of more bread.

Then we had a palate cleansing Mixed leaf Salad with a zingy Parmesan wafer before our main courses.

I’d picked Roast Partridge With Puy Lentils, Rosti Potato, Garlic And Thyme when we first pondered the menu many weeks ago, it has all that wintry heartiness that I am rather partial to. In fact when I glance at set menus I am always drawn to the autumn, winter phases and not so to the summer. In the summer everyone wants to feed us heirloom tomatoes, melon, gazpacho and smoked trout and I just can’t get as excited about that.

D and I had both decided that Hot Chocolate Fondant With Orange Sorbet was compulsory, the warning about it taking an extra 10 minutes to cook would hardly deter us as being great believers of good things coming to those who wait.

LLcT and E(D) opted instead for Sticky Toffee Pudding With Walnut Ice-Cream and

MC of course choose the Selection Of British Farmhouse Cheeses With Homemade Chutney. Our chocolate fondant with the fabulous juxtaposition of the zingy sorbet was just perfect and everyone seemed to enjoy their choices also.

We finished off my some yummy truffles and jellies. It was a wonderful meal, maybe all the more enjoyable for me as I had seemingly waited so long to return again. I’m sure if I lived locally I would attempt to visit every month. An easy three forks for Restaurant 22, I am already checking out the future menus for my next visit.

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