A very exciting addition to the Cambridge restaurant opens today - Pint Shop. Their slogan is 'Meat, Bread, Beer' and if that doesn't make you happy then you can stop reading now. Although don't actually, because even if you're a vegetarian or don't like beer, there is something here for you. A magnificent vegetarian pie is on the menu, and 40 different kinds of gin!
I was lucky enough to be invited to their preview party last week to sample what their bar had to offer along with the kitchen. I was greeted by the lovely manager, Clare, who told me simply, there are gin and tonics inside - sold! I was there to see this fabulous new restaurant open but also to celebrating landing a brand new job (yay!).
Pint Shop is a three story former bank, inside which is a bar area and a dining room plus further rooms upstairs. It's nice that the rooms are split this way so you don't feel lost in a huge open plan restaurant. I believe in the bar area you can just grab a drink and a bar snack or a full meal, and the dining area for meals only.
I'm not a beer drinker but I have recently developed a liking for gin (my age maybe?) so I was glad to see they have 40 gins on the menu, plus a regular house gin specially picked out. On the preview night it was Adnams Copper House gin so I gladly ordered a G&T which was expertly and quickly made up. I've mostly had bad experiences with G&T but this was really nice, not too bitter and just the thing after a long day.
Beer wise they are chalked up on a huge blackboard daily, with plenty of variation to suit all tastes. There is a good looking selection of wine but disappointingly no cider - maybe this is something they will have in the future? Hopefully, there is some great cider being made locally and it would be a shame to miss out.
As we settled down food started to come around, so much of it too! There were chilli 'beer sticks' made from cured pork and spices, a nice hit of spice and perfect with your drink.
Then we were treated to rabbit and potato mini pasties with pickle, fish pie scotch eggs with saffron aioli, potted pork with plum on lovely Jigsaw Bakery sourdough, rolled shoulder of lamb with welsh onion cake and cabbage and finally beetroot with a herby nutty pesto on more of that lovely sourdough. Everything we tasted was really novel, comforting homely food with a nice twist - I can't wait to dine there again.
Potted Pork and Plum
Rolled Shoulder of Lamb, Potato Cake, Red Cabbage
As part of the festivities there were also talks from their suppliers - we got to learn all about the Cambridge Gin Distillery and their yummy 'P' Gin made from, you've guessed it, peas, in honour of the Peas Hill address of Pint Shop. We first got to taste a pea spirit which amazingly captured that freshly picked pea taste but in booze! Amazing. Their unique vaccuum distillation process means that they can capture delicate flavours in a spirit. The actual P Gin is made from Juniper (as required by gin, to be called Gin), fresh peas, mint and spices. It was very interesting indeed, the peas are less strong but you get a lovely fresh, mint, herby taste backed up with the obligatory juniper. Novel stuff.
Pint Shop opens tonight, and I believe it is already proving to be a big hit. Get there as soon as you can, it will be great. Find out more here.