Time for some seafood

Staying overnight in Cambridge, well over in Madingley, which is just outside the city. I was wondering where I could get something to eat. In Madingley there is a really nice looking gastropub, but was out of my budget, so I looked into the heart of Cambridge. Yes the Midsummer House was a possibility, if I had loads of spare money and no budget, but I didn’t, so no that wasn’t a possibility…

I had downloaded a Zizzi voucher, quick and easy I thought. Checking where it was, I saw on the map the Loch Fyne. I have been curious about the place for a while now, there are branches in Bath and Bristol, but I have never been, mainly as it was usually quite pricey from memory. I thought I would look at the menu and see what I could be missing. Accessing the website I saw that they had a January offer, 50% off mains. Looking over the menu, I saw lots of things I liked the look of, so that was the place.

The restaurant is on Trumpington Street quite close to the impressive Fitzwilliam Museum. It’s an older building and inside there are lots of wooden beams and low ceilings.

I initially thought, well it’s January, cold and a Tuesday, it wouldn’t be very busy, boy was I wrong. The place was packed. I was left waiting for a while, and then asked to sit in the foyer style area, until a table was free. I waited some more. At this point I nearly left.

In the end I went with Loch Fyne Seafood Mixed Grill. The dish as described consists of Scottish salmon, Scottish king scallop, golden shell Hebridean mussels, squid, sea bass fillet, samphire, wilted spinach, lobster butter, and a side of sautéed new potatoes.

I knew the place was busy, so didn’t worry too much about the speed of service, but in the end it was quite quick. The plate looked delicious. There was a huge prawn in the dish, which was nice, as that wasn’t on the dish description.

As I tried the salmon, I realised that the king scallop was missing. Considering how busy it was, I didn’t think I would be able to get the attention of the waiting staff, but I was lucky. He was very apologetic and took the dish and returned shortly with the added scallop, well two scallops.

The dish was well cooked, I enjoyed the salmon and the bass as well as the scallops. The squid was nice, as were the mussels. I couldn’t really taste the lobster butter, but there was a richness there I enjoyed. It comes with a side of sautéed potatoes, which were smooth, buttery and rather tasty.

I was surprised by how busy the place was, but I did quite like the environment. The service wasn’t perfect, but I put that down to the number of people in the place.

Not quite a Premier Dinner

If you are looking for a cheap hotel, that isn’t Travelodge, then I am usually quite pleased with Premier Inn. I’ve felt that Premier Inn, which is generally not that much more expensive than the Travelodge have nicer rooms and definitely much nicer breakfasts. On a recent trip to Cambridge I stayed at the Premier Inn near to the A14. Knowing that I was arriving late on a Sunday, I decided to take advantage of their £22 meal deal.

Enjoy a delicious three course evening meal from our Meal Deal menu featuring specially selected dishes, plus a drink of your choice. Then the next day, eat as much as you like of our freshly prepared Premier breakfast, all for just £22.

As breakfast on its own costs £8.25 I thought that wasn’t such a bad deal.

Having arrived ordered a pint of bitter (part of the deal) and looked over the menu.

For the starter I went with the classic Prawn Cocktail, served on crisp salad leaves with tomato, cucumber, a classic Marie Rose sauce and buttered brown bread.

rawn Cocktail, served on crisp salad leaves with tomato, cucumber, a classic Marie Rose sauce and buttered brown bread.

Interestingly the menu you download from the web site says that this can’t be chosen as part of the meal deal, whereas the menu at the hotel says it can be. There were similar inconsistencies across other items too. As for the prawn cocktail, well I was surprised to see large prawns, I was expecting the smaller prawns you normally find in prawn cocktails. It was apparent that the Marie Rose sauce was from a bottle and there was slightly too much paprika! Alas the prawns lacked flavour and were too chilled and so were overpowered by the sauce. The salad was fresh and crisp and the lemon was a nice touch.

For my main I went with the 10oz rump steak that according to the menu, came with a grilled tomato, peas, a flat mushoom and chips, which was described on the menu as firm, meaty and flavoursome. I think they meant to say tough, chewy and bland! Okay it’s a rump steak and in terms of cuts of meat that is not a tender melt in the mouth option, it normally is firm and chewy. I thought it lacked flavour, which is normally the reason for chewing, sorry choosing the rump cut.

10oz rump steak that according to the menu, came with a grilled tomato, peas, a flat mushoom and chips, which was described on the menu as firm, meaty and flavoursome.

As you can see from the photograph I didn’t get a grilled flat mushroom, I guess the kitchen had run out.

For desert I made a mistake and went with the Caramel Apple Crumble. This was an apple crumble smothered with sweet, sticky caramel served with custard.

Caramel Apple Crumble

This was way too sweet and the sticky caramel sauce was horrible, it clung to the top of my mouth and stayed there. I didn’t finish the dish and left most of it.

So as the blog title says this was not premier dining and for the price I don’t think you can expect it to be. However in terms of value for money and convenience it wasn’t too bad, but I wouldn’t have the crumble again…