Midsummer House 4444

Midsummer House, Midsummer Common , Cambridge, CB4 1HA

6 reviews

75 British Cambridgeshire

  • Midsummer House
  • Midsummer House
  • Midsummer House

SquareMeal Review of Midsummer House

SquareMeal award hall of fame 1999-2018 logo badgeThere’s something rather “magical” about eating at this restored Victorian villa by the tranquil waters of the river Cam, with its immaculately appointed conservatory dining room looking out onto a gorgeous garden. Serenity is a given in this beacon of civilised excellence, thanks to a team of immaculately schooled staff who exude confidence as well as good humour. In the kitchen, chef/patron Daniel Clifford’s “extraordinarily high-calibre” tasting menus are a true reflection of his two-Michelin-starred status, with readers citing many standouts: an “admirably balanced” amuse of Cornish crab, ginger, frozen lime and coriander; a show-stopping piece of theatre involving numerous takes on celeriac (including a blackened version baked over coals); “simply divine” roast quail with grapes, celery, shallot purée and sourdough; roast monkfish brilliantly enhanced by its red wine reduction and violet artichoke mousse; rack of lamb infused with basil alongside confit smoked shoulder, peas, broad beans, tomatoes and a “quite wonderful, almost old-fashioned gravy”. The cheese trolley is glorious to behold, while unabashed audacity is the key to desserts such as a “stunning” aerated pear crisp with blueberry powder and a white chocolate bomb. Eating here is a “fine dining experience worthy of the very top rating”, defined by precise flavours, beautiful arrangements and distilled freshness, with support from a comprehensive thoroughbred wine list.


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Nearby Tube/Rail Stations

Cambridge Station 1km

Shelford Station 6km

Address

Address: Midsummer House, Midsummer Common , Cambridge CB4 1HA

Opening times

Tues 7pm-9.30pm Wed - Thurs 12N-1.30pm 7pm-9.30pm Fri - Sat 12N-1.30pm 6.30pm-9.30pm

Nearby Landmarks

Anglia Polytechnic University (Cambridge Campus) 739m

University of Cambridge 1km

Details

Telephone: 01223 369299

Website:

Cuisine: British

Lunch: £40/50/60/75/95 (3/4/5/7/10 courses) (Wed-Sat)

Dinner: £47.5/82.5/105 (5/7/10 courses) (Tues-Sat)

Private Dining: 16

9.0

Food & Drink: 9.3

Service: 9.2

Atmosphere: 8.3

Value: 8.7

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Lloyd S. gold reviewer 07 March 2017

Well what can I say other than this was a magical evening and emphasised the reason why this is my favourite Michelin Star restaurant. Such a fantastic warm and friendly welcome on our arrival that made us feel right at home straight away. We were first served a lovely homemade Gin & Tonic which was lovely. We decided to have the 8 Course Tasting Menu to which we were asked if we'd like to see the Menu or be surprised we decided to be surprised. So firstly the Amuse Bouches were a delight before moving to the first course a Pumpkin Veloute then Braised Pork Knuckle & Raclette Cheese simply stunning followed by a fantastic Scallop dish Then came the signature course of Roast Quail with Shallot Purée & Sour Dough simply Devine then came a delightful Monkfish course then I have to say my favourite course which was Venison accompanied by amazing Venison sausage rolls Before Dessert we chose to have a Cheese course and they had the most wonderful Cheese trolley tNow on to my favourite part of any meal Desserts and both were fantastic firstly the Aerated Pear with Blueberry then the Passion Fruit,Yoghurt Sorbet & Dark chocolate then when you think you can't eat anymore outcome the treats some amazing Doughnuts and Chocolates I would like to thank the Sommelier for a fantastic selection of matching wines that just went perfectly with every course also to every member of staff who's service was exceptional. I hope that Midsummer House soon gets 3 Michelin Stars because based on this visit they certainly deserve them.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Lloyd S. gold reviewer 05 March 2017

Well what can I say other than this was a magical evening and emphasised the reason why this is my favourite Michelin Star restaurant. Such a fantastic warm and friendly welcome on our arrival that made us feel right at home straight away. We were first served a lovely homemade Gin & Tonic which was lovely. We decided to have the 8 Course Tasting Menu to which we were asked if we'd like to see the Menu or be surprised we decided to be surprised. So firstly the Amuse Bouches were a delight before moving to the first course a Pumpkin Veloute then Braised Pork Knuckle & Raclette Cheese simply stunning followed by a fantastic Scallop dish Then came the signature course of Roast Quail with Shallot Purée & Sour Dough simply Devine then came a delightful Monkfish course then I have to say my favourite course which was Venison accompanied by amazing Venison sausage rolls Before Dessert we chose to have a Cheese course and they had the most wonderful Cheese trolley tNow on to my favourite part of any meal Desserts and both were fantastic firstly the Aerated Pear with Blueberry then the Passion Fruit,Yoghurt Sorbet & Dark chocolate then when you think you can't eat anymore outcome the treats some amazing Doughnuts and Chocolates I would like to thank the Sommelier for a fantastic selection of matching wines that just went perfectly with every course also to every member of staff who's service was exceptional. I hope that Midsummer House soon gets 3 Michelin Stars because based on this visit they certainly deserve them.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 4.0

Value: 4.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 23 September 2016

Mark Abbott deserves more recognition than he gets. Of the three times now that we have dined at Midsummer Daniel Clifford has twice not been in the kitchen, and yet both times our meal has been impeccable. We believe that a head chef has to be capable of matching the performance of the chef patron/executive chef so that the absence of the latter does not affect the quality of what is served to the diners. But for us this should imply that the paying customer should be made aware of who is heading up the kitchen and more exposure given to the chef in charge. There is a relaxed elegance about the dining room and the confident front-of-house staff, headed by an experienced gallic duo with a surprisingly English sense of humour, echo this feeling. Exemplary canapés ranging from sour cream with apple, through beetroot tuile with goat’s cheese and apple, the familiar ham hock with crispy onion and piccalilli, to a cornet of smoked eel with a background touch of lemon, led us into a new tweak for the Bloody Mary pre-amuse-bouche, this time in gel form with celeriac and celery salt making a cheeky early palate cleanser. The amuse-bouche proper was an admirably well-balanced Cornish crab and ginger mix supported by frozen lime and coriander, which was the prelude to the main theatre of the evening in the form of an imposing spherical cooking sphere with open coals inside baking a whole celeriac which was wheeled to the table, the baked black celeriac extracted with a flourish and a large scoopful whisked onto the plates. This actually left a fair amount behind, but it was clearly not wasted as we received four more variations on the theme with pickled, burnt, caramelised and roasted celeriac making up a full palette of textures and flavours for the one vegetable, all of them supported by a lovely hazelnut hollandaise. Not content with that, the kitchen then produced a celeriac mousse to accompany Orkney scallops but this was completely different with a judicious sprinkling of truffle and some Granny Smith twiglets. The sautéed foie gras was perfect with its soul mate gingerbread crumble, a beautifully balanced orange gel, pear, and chicory in a gingerbread half tube. The full meatiness of the roasted monkfish was skilfully brought out by a super red wine reduction and the violet artichoke mousse. The lamb dish was made up of a terrific roast rack infused with basil and with proper crispy fat and moreish confit of smoked shoulder accompanied by fresh peas, broad beans and tomatoes and a quite wonderful, almost old-fashioned gravy. Two desserts followed, stunning aerated pear crisp with blueberry powder and a white chocolate bomb, and an equally impressive yoghurt sorbet with passion fruit jelly, chocolate cream and crispy topping. All this and we still had room for substantial petits fours comprising sugared fried beignets with a caramelised apple sauce as a dip, and assorted pastries. Mention should also be made of the quality of the wine flight which contained some very classy bottles. Definitely a fine-dining experience worthy of the very top rating.

Food & Drink: 5.0

Service: 5.0

Atmosphere: 5.0

Value: 5.0

Paul A. platinum reviewer 14 May 2016

The last time we dined here, some three years ago, a Michelin VIP was sitting two tables away, and the chewy beef that was the least convincing element in the meal and was instrumental in our not returning before now was clearly also experienced by her companion. Daniel Clifford kept his two stars, though, and currently keeps getting rave reviews, so it seemed reasonable to give it another chance, and here we go with another rave review! Everything about this visit showed just what some arrivistes need to learn; the welcome was warm, the dining room perfect in all respects, the table very suitably situated with a view of the kitchen, and the staff (mostly French) the epitome of properly schooled, relaxed, engaging and knowledgeable personnel. Once again chef was not in the kitchen, but in this case, just as we have noted in some other top-class restaurants, it did not appear to make the slightest difference to the superior quality of the cooking. The ten course tasting menu no longer exists and has been replaced by a more manageable eight course version, which happily also means a smaller wine flight, and my wife, for the first time in our memories, was permitted to have half measures, a matter for congratulation to Midsummer and an indication of the classy self-confidence this restaurant radiates. The champagne trolley gave us the wherewithal to properly enjoy our excellent canapés of cream cheese balls, smoky beetroot with goat’s cheese and crispy ham hock and piccalilli. A sort of pre-amuse bouche comprising Bloody Mary foam and celeriac sorbet was one of the best ever and really started the palate working. The amuse bouche proper was a dish where the beauty of the appearance, especially the arrangement of the avocado on the plate, matched the lovely taste combination of the crab, the sorrel granita and the avocado. This was succeeded by a dish which was a piece of restrained but effective theatre with super new English asparagus wrapped in foil perfectly cooked in beurre noisette on a heated stone at the table and suitably backed up with burnt onions, mushrooms, and fresh green and pickled asparagus in deep-fried potato with clever cubes of aerated sauce hollandaise; this was a triumph. The next course was a balancing act of Granny Smith jelly, celeriac cooked with truffle to give a whole new taste experience, sautéed scallop, the sweetness of which was beautifully contrasted against a love apple caramel blob and apple batons; another winner. The surprise combinations kept on coming with the super sautéed duck liver with tangerine jelly and gingerbread crumbs prettified by a salad of red chicory and little pear discs and a further occasion to murmur with pleasure. Brill has become a restaurant staple, but the presentation, the perfect fish and the amazing flavours of the razor clams, the stupendous squid ink cake, the cuttlefish and, in particular, the battered samphire left us asking for more. No room for that, though, as we moved on to some splendid, although admittedly French, pigeon with just the right level of gaminess and sprinkled with a sort of puffed wheat crunch, the crispy leg absolutely sensational, and the balance achieved with the morels and the wild garlic a demonstration of high cooking skills. The intriguing pre-dessert was a clever coalescence of blueberries, chocolate and aerated pear with fresh blueberries inside, and this set us up perfectly for our final treat, delicious passion fruit jelly with yoghurt sorbet, and chocolate biscuit and passion fruit meringue as the texture and taste contrast. Our impression was that the style had changed for the better for this was a super experience and we have no hesitation in eating our words and saying that, for us, this was three star category fine dining.

Food & Drink: 4.0

Service: 4.0

Atmosphere: 2.0

Value: 3.0

Martin G. 28 June 2011

Firstly this place is gorgeous looking and inviting in location. However I found it hard to find and would make people aware of this as well. Secondly, i found the wine list one of the most daunting experiences in my life with the vast array of choices and level of pricing. This may mean I was out of my depth , but if you feel the way I did then rely on the exceptional sommelier. His knowledge and the trust that could be place din him to provide wines within our price range and quality was a real high point. The menu was well shown and the ability to choose from the two versions helped. However having picked the less expensive (£72.50p.p. at my time of attendance) the extra that were added during the meal seemed exactly like those as part of the more expensive choice and I would have been deeply disappointed if the extras had cost me another £20p.p. The food itself was lovely and tasty and the mixture of flavours and textures shows extremely gifted cooking and sophistication along with a keen eye for detail and art style presentation. Most would probably state that’s the reason its sitting with 2* Michelin rating. The service was again of a high class, yet the atmosphere was lacking and there was a distinct impression of being aloof. if a restaurant can be!! Would like to try again to see if it was just my initial feelings or if my first impression is the correct one.

Food & Drink: 3.0

Service: 3.0

Atmosphere: 3.0

Value: 3.0

Christopher J. platinum reviewer 23 May 2011

Midsummer House is certainly the best restaurant I am aware of in Cambridge and worth a visit if in the area, although I am not convinced it is worthy of the levels of praise or certain is it worthy of its accolades. Arriving a little early for our table was were seated in the ‘bar’ which is a very small rectangular room upstairs with two clusters of tables and chairs. These were already occupied so instead we were given two wooden chairs and held our drinks until one of the tables were vacated. It did have the distinct feel of a waiting room. Bit strange. The dining room itself was nice but did now feel very much like sitting in a conservatory, although perhaps I was more aware of my surroundings after the ‘bar’ experience. The menu was tasting only as we were having dinner at the weekend – with a choice of two, ‘taste of the market’ £130 with wine, or ‘taste of midsummer’ – £165 options with wine. I would usually opt for a tasting menu rather than dining a la carte but it would have been nice to have a choice. There also seems little point choosing a Wine if the sommelier has already paired each course in advance, so bowing to superior judgement I reluctantly handed the heavy Wine list back. The meal was interesting – if a bit of a foam party. Some predictable dishes but also some real flourishes of excellence including a Jack Daniels and Honey shot. The desserts were also notable. Service was good although altogether the whole experience felt a little conveyor belt and the atmosphere was slightly flat. Sit down, eat this, drink this, nod agreeably and then leave £450 lighter.