This time around we are bringing you Eat Like a Local from Cambridge. Blogger Heidi White – AKA The Moving Foodie – is a Cambridge local with her finger firmly on the pulse of the city’s thriving food scene, documenting local food finds and recipes on her blog and Instagram feed.
By day, Heidi operates her street food market business, foodPark, which she founded back in 2014 and created a buzzing street food scene in the city which still has a huge following of dedicated food fans today. Heidi also runs the Eat Cambridge food and drink festival every May, a boutique food festival which celebrates the city’s wealth of independent food and drink businesses.
Once known for its many chain restaurants, these days Cambridge is a city so brimming with exciting, independent food spots that its hard to pick my favourites. These places are top of my must-visit list; some old, some new, but all hidden gems that I just keep going back to time and time again…
La Latina Bustaurante
A renovated double-decker bus in a retail park car park that cleverly bridges the gap between on-the-go street food and a sit-in restaurant, La Latina Bustaurante is one of the city’s best casual dining spots. Choose from a small menu of South American street food classics with Latin flavours and eat on the top deck’s repurposed bus seat benches and tables. All food is lovingly cooked to order by La Latina’s husband and wife team, featuring locally sourced ingredients and daily changing specials and homemade cakes. Start with a delicious homemade strawberry lemonade, then go for the fried green plantain tostones with delicately flavoured pulled meats and exquisite homemade guacamole, salsa and house sauce for dipping. Don’t miss the big and juicy fried prawns on the weekend specials menu.
Restaurant Twenty-Two is THE place to go in Cambridge for fine dining – although don’t be put off by that label. Beautifully renovated and reopened earlier this year under the ownership of partners Sam Carter and Alex Olivier, the cosy, intimate, and relaxed setting of the townhouse restaurant in Chesterton is certainly not just for special occasions. I promise, you’ll be finding excuses to return before you’ve even polished off your first bite of the heavenly truffle macaroni cheese amuse bouche! Excellent value tasting menus feature clever, creative, delicious dishes, designed to showcase the finest produce sourced from local suppliers and changing regularly with the seasons. The accompanying warm welcome and delightful service push this experience even further up my must-visit list. Every foodie visit to Cambridge must include Restaurant Twenty-Two; just don’t forget to book!
Locally, the name foodPark is synonymous with the best street food in the city (yes, as organiser I am biased – but it is still one of my favourite places to play at being a customer too!). You can find Cambridge’s top street food traders roaming around the city with foodPark at its much-loved weekly markets. Pioneer of Cambridge’s buzzing street food scene, foodPark hosts lunchtime street food gatherings featuring a rotating selection of food trucks serving restaurant quality, contemporary British street food, cooked to order in each trader’s bespoke kitchen-on-wheels while customers watch through the hatch. Track down the finest street-side burgers, bao buns, kothu roti, Middle Eastern mezze, fried chicken, bocata, and ciabatta sandwiches – to name but a few – at foodPark’s three locations every week, all year round: on Wednesdays at the West Cambridge site, on Thursdays at Cambridge Science Park, and on Fridays at Cambridge Station. If you’re sticking around for the whole lunch session – 12-2pm at each market – you can brave the elements and grab one of the foodPark table and chairs to soak up the smells, live cooking sounds, and friendly atmosphere.
Cambridge Wine Merchants
The multi-award-winning Cambridge Wine Merchants can most definitely be counted as a Cambridge institution. An independent wine merchants founded and operating here since the early 1990s, Cambridge Wine has three beautiful branches in the city, each one packed with character and well-stocked with a huge range of wines and spirits. The Bridge Street and Cherry Hinton Road branches have the inimitable feel of a neighbourhood wine bar, both running a superb menu of wines by the glass and nibbles on the side, in the same space as the traditional bottle shops. Think floor to ceiling shelves of dazzling world wines, fizz, and gins, plus vintage mirrors, twinkling lights, and candlelit tables. My first stop for laid-back drinking and dining is one of the Cherry Hinton Road shop-cum-wine bar’s weekly pop-up street food nights: every Thursday, Friday and Saturday you can order excellent grub outside from a street food van and eat it inside the bar alongside your choice of tipple.
Jack’s Gelato started life on the streets of Cambridge as a custom-built tricycle, serving small batch gelati and sorbets made by chef and perfectionist Jack van Praag. These days Jack can also be found in his ice cream parlour of the same name, a delightful teeny tiny space tucked away off King’s Parade in the heart of the historic centre. A menu of flavours is released daily at Jack’s Gelato: freshly churned by hand, utilising the best ingredients, and always featuring an incredible array of inventive and intriguing flavours. Keep an eye on Jack’s social media to find out what’s good – my favourites include Elderflower Sorbet, Burnt Sugar & Salt, Dark Chocolate & Rose, and Peanut Butter.
Have you eaten out in Cambridge? Where else would you recommend?