Sunday, 15 April 2012

Views and Reviews: Fitzbillies

 Dinner at Fitzbillies

I was determined to like Fitzbillies. A Cambridge institution given new life, an independent restaurant, on my favoured side of town, an easy walk from our apartment with a weekly changing menu filled with seasonal ingredients. It seemed perfectly calibrated to appeal to my liberal, guardian-reading sensibilities; I had to check it out. I rearranged my reservation several times due to various disasters and they were incredibly nice and patient with me which was an excellent start.

I don’t think it will spoil the ending if I tell you now that I loved it. The refurbishment has created a light-filled additional space at the back. The room and the accessories are predominately white with the exception of the wall covered in (Cambridge) blue tiles. I’m quite obsessed with this wall now; I find myself thinking of it in all sorts of odd moments. We started with a glass of Rhubarb Fizz, which proved just the thing to take the edge off the dodgy-theatre-wine hangover we were both suffering with. The waitress sympathised very knowingly when I mentioned this rather than looking at me disapprovingly. She also brought water and delicious bread made in their bakery. The bread was so good it was in the “shall we just stick with the bread and wine?” league but luckily we moved on, engaged our brains and ordered some food.

We wanted all of the starters; the Sorrel soup and the cure pork loin both only narrowly missed the cut. The Husband’s white dandelion, bacon and soft boiled egg salad was beautiful, the egg perfectly cooked and beginning to ooze out on to the leaves. The combination of bitter leaf, salty pig and creamy egg woke up my taste buds and made me believe I might get out of my hangover hell and feel normal again (quite an achievement). My sourdough pancake topped with mushrooms (morels and Suffolk browns) and wild garlic was rich, satisfying and perfect for my delicate state. The thick pancake stood up well to the mushroom liquor. 

The main courses were all very hearty sounding and came in man/hungry-girl sized portions. The gentleman at the table next to us ordered the rabbit and ale pie and it looked big enough for two. The Husband had the nettle and Lord of the Hundreds (a cheese apparently) risotto with fennel and claytonia. I sneaked a spoonful or three and I liked the balance of the rich cheese and fresh green flavours so much that I fully intend to make a version of it myself. The Husband enjoyed it immensely (he’s a demon for the risotto); he did say it wasn’t quite as good as mine but I think he may just have been trying to get into my good books. My roast pollack was surprisingly flavoursome for a fish with a reputation for blandness. The accompaniments, artichokes braised in cider and pink fir apples, were fresh and zesty: entirely appropriate for an early spring menu. Even though I hadn’t quite managed to finish my fish (did I mention the generous portions?) we thought we should share a desert, for research purposes. It had to be the treacle tart and it was all that a treacle tart should be: sticky, sweet and satisfying. We didn’t eat much of the crème fraiche it was served with; we were too busy with the tart and our excellent coffees. 

Fitzbillies: tasty seasonal food, a good value wine list, sympathy for your hangover and a mesmerising blue wall; I’m sold. They are open for dinner on Friday and Saturday and for lunch, coffee and cakes all week.

Dinner of two starters, two mains, one desert and drinks (2 rhubarb fizz, 2 glasses of wine and coffees) came to £72 excl. service.

52 Trumpington Street, Cambridge, CB2 1RG
01223 352500


  1. Great write-up - here's my review from last year :

    1. Thanks Tom - your review definitely has more useful information on the wine list (as we would expect from you!).

  2. I'm sold, will def visit when next in Cambridge