3 hours before we were due to arrive in Cambridge, we suddenly remembered that being a Saturday evening, we should probably book a table for dinner.
Having not done any research or having very good internet connection we tasked the concierge at our hotel (The University Arms) to help out. Only too willing to oblige and after a quick search (on the good old internet) he luckily managed to secure us a not too late 7.30pm slot that would accommodate our group of four at The Cambridge Chophouse (cambridgechophouse.co.uk).
On arrival we were promptly showed to the main dining space which was in the basement and seated after a short 2 minute wait.
A fair number of starters looked interesting so when we spied the sharing plate meant for 2-3 pax for £20, it seemed like a good idea as everything we wanted to try was on it.
Sadly it was a bit of a disappointment. Size wise, although advertised as for 2-3, it really was properly for two. Only tiny half filled pots of smoked mackerel pate and where there were portions such as haggis fritters and squash and goat’s cheese balls, there were only 2.
The pork crackling was however a decent portion but it was extremely salty in parts (to the point of bitterness) and very hard….if breaking your teeth getting a heart attack is your bag however, go for the a la carte, you get a much bigger portion. Taste wise was also sadly lacking, apart from the haggis fritters which although were interesting were just barely warm, everything was dry and bleh, so in the end we didn’t much care that we just got a taste of everything.
We also ordered the spicy pumpkin seed soup (which came with a roll), this tasted like it came from a can.
Thankfully our main courses were much better.
We went for 2 steaks and a lamb for mains with a side of mixed greens (Our group consisted of 2 adults and 2 kids)
Steaks come with a choice of salad, chipped, boiled or mashed potatoes and a choice of sauces or flavoured butters.
I opted for salad and chimichurri to accompany my 10oz Rib-Eye steak, £27. It was cooked exactly to my request of medium rare – a service level I expect when having steak in a restaurant, however often sadly not always received in many establishments, so well done The Cambridge Chop House, for doing it right first time. The meat itself was juicy and tasty and the accompanying salad although small and not particularly interesting (few mixed leaves and tomatoes) was perfectly fresh. The chimichurri could have done with a little extra kick but altogether a pleasant plate of food.
The 6oz Fillet steak, £27.50 again was cooked as requested and was tasty, juicy and tender. We ordered it together with the blue cheese and horseradish butter and chips, which where really moorish.
Lamb shank, £19.50, came with herb roasted carrots, parsnips and mash in cranberry gravy. Not quite fall off the bone but the meat was tasty and tender, a hearty plate of winter fare.
We shared a bottle of 2018 Melbec from Chateaux Vincens, £26, between the two adults and also had two glasses of apple & elderflower juice.
The Cambridge Chophouse is a casual friendly dining experience with good service and friendly staff. Go there for a glass of wine, and a steak cooked as requested first time but skip the sharing plate or starters in general and you won’t be disappointed in this reasonably priced restaurant.