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152-154 Hills Road
ALIMENTUM CLOSED PERMANENTLY OCTOBER 2018
A cool prospect for adventurous Cambridge foodies, Alimentum comes modishly tricked out with polished wood floors, tinted glass, black tables and funky red chandeliers. An element of kitchen theatre is also present, thanks to a feature window that allows views into the kitchen. Bold strokes and challenging high-impact ideas shine brightly, from pork belly with langoustine, caviar, yuzu and cucumber to halibut with broccoli, wild garlic and oyster or 80-day aged beef sirloin and cheek partnered by charcoal, Jersey royals and salsa verde. Meals are fleshed out with lots of intensely flavoured extras, while flamboyant desserts offer new takes on the old classics such as ‘Battenberg’ or ‘Black Forest’ (dark chocolate, cherry, cherry beer and kirsch). Back-up comes from a strong international wine list with some particularly inviting selections from France and Italy – also watch out for the increasingly popular ‘supper club’ and ‘wine club’ events alternating on the first Sunday of each month.
SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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152-154 Hills Road
Cambridge Station 956m
Shelford Station 3km
University Botanic Gardens, Cambridge 952m
Cambridge Youth Hostel 1km
Mon-Sun 12N-2pm 6-10pm (Sun - 9pm)
Food & Drink:
Rate & Review
Food + drink: 4
Cambridge city is a bit of a gastro wasteland: plenty of chains, curry houses and pubs but not many decent, independent restaurants with quality cooking. So thank god for the brave souls at Alimentum who stepped forward to break the mould. The restaurant is set slightly out of town so passing trade is not going to keep them open but this won't matter as it's a place where you'd book to come to for a special night out. As soon as you step through the door you know you're somewhere a bit different; I'm not a huge fan of the “contemporary cool” decor with its black leather DFS dining chairs, red accent colours and oversized copper-lined light fittings but at least you feel they've made an effort. It's not quite as busy as it should be (but nowhere in Cambridge ever is on a weeknight) and service misses a beat when they place us at a table for 2 within elbowing distance of another couple, despite there being plenty of tables free. Trying to force some “atmosphere” by concentrating diners is uncomfortable and unnecessary here as there are just enough people to create a background hum. After we've moved to a better spot, I peruse the menu and my heart skips a beat. This is proper, ambitious, intriguing stuff. Ingredients like ginger, bone marrow and pumpkin seeds float across the page in interesting combinations. We decided on the 7-course tasting menu and it didn't disappoint. There are amuse bouches; there's veloute; there're small, but intensely flavoursome, mouthfuls; there's sauce smeared in controlled swirls. In short, it's food worthy of London. The matched wines were all perfectly pleasant, but sadly unlike the food, not very adventurous. Serving a hefty red at the second course is a bit punchy for my liking (but what can you do when the chef serves up slow-roasted lamb neck?) but the sommelier made up for it with a beautiful dessert wine. At £115 a head it was London pricing, but worth every belated-Valentine penny and not unreasonable for this Michelin-starred meal.
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