Don’t you just love it when an exciting new place comes along? Every time I hear of a new opening in the area I do a little jump for joy (in my head only of course), because it feels like it's another string to Cambridge’s bow and a step towards shedding our foodie wasteland label. And by Cambridge, I mean our county not just the centre. The location for this post is Ely, just 20 minutes away and a great spot for a wander (and a good rummage at Waterside Antiques of course).
The lovely Heidi Sladen (from The Moving Foodie Blog and one of my partners in crime for Eat Cambridge) and I were invited along to try the new Poet's House and jumped at the chance.
Poet's House is part of the House Collection, a group who take on old houses and converts them in to luxurious hotels. They will be opening Paddocks House in Newmarket in September 2013 and they have plans to take on a house in Cambridge centre at some point I believe.
On our weeknight visit we were ooo-ing and ahh-ing at the lovely bar and décor as soon as we walked in the door. It is mightily impressive. It feels elegant enough that you could imagine being there for a black tie affair, but equally cool enough that you could rock trendy/casual wear as well.
As we sat down to peruse the cocktail menu, a friendly face appeared; it seemed the bar man not only recognised me but knew my favourite tipple from his previous haunt. I am not sure what that says about me (well I am, but I'll brush past that) but I can't deny my love of the gin. Luckily it is my mother’s reward rather than ruin so don’t worry for me just yet.
The food was impressive throughout. My favourite dish of my three courses was a pea velouté with crispy egg and asparagus soldiers. The combination of having the waiter pour the velouté at the table, and my own love of releasing the runny egg yolk made it just my sort of dish. Equally I couldn’t get enough of the peanut butter crème brulee. Heidi did some more ooo-ing noises when she was eating her Riverside beef cheek with shallot tart and so I will take it from that that she rather liked it. She also had an intriguing Binham Blue cheese ice cream for dessert. It's not my thing, but as a savoury fiend she ate every scrap and announced it different but delicious when the waiter asked.
As a designated driver I left the wine alone for once. Heidi did ask for recommendations with each course but unfortunately they were more eager than informed. It is entirely possible that there is a dedicated sommelier come the weekend though.
Overall it is a sparkling new addition to our counties’ fine dining scene. I want to go back for afternoon tea and cocktails very soon and I do hope they might add some tables in their new garden for those occasional sunny days.
As I mentioned we were very lucky to be invited to try this fine establishment but a la carté would come in at around £30 for three courses (not including wine) and cocktails start from £7.50.
Poet's House, 40 St Mary's Street, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 4EY