I went to England last week to clear my head. I needed to see my extended family, who live in the countryside Midlands, and my brother and father, who are both hopping back and forth between the UK and Florida these days.
It was a good week out of town—London is my favorite city in the world, and I managed to sneak in a bit of time there during the week. On the weekends, I found myself about an hour north, in Cambridge, going on long runs and pub crawls around the stunning university campus.
After last Saturday’s five-miler, and before last Saturday’s river-pubbing began, we stopped for brunch at my dad’s favorite new spot, CB2. He found the little red restaurant, named after the postcode you want to have if you live in Cambridge, in his constant quest for great live blues music.
We sat outside on the lovely patio, which is shaded by big trees and makes you feel like you’re sitting in a slightly overgrown but charming English garden. The sun was shining just enough, and university students were taking advantage of the spring weather by poring over their books outside.
Inside, the restaurant has a cozy downstairs filled with art from local artists and a really nice open space upstairs where the walls are lined with old dusty books in bookshelves. You can tell this spot hosts many open mic poetry nights and live music sessions. Cambridge, you’re so college-perfect.
You have to order inside the restaurant, and the staff is quick to take your order and shoo you away, as they’re quite busy and frantic. But once we did that, we sat at a table outside and the servers started bringing our drinks and food almost immediately.
First, smoothies. The restaurant offers a selection of them. Papa Love had the ginger liquid strawberry smoothie. I went for a green smoothie, which didn’t taste like it had much spinach in it at all. The banana, mango, and apple juice gave it a sweet flavor.
We also ordered a lovely cordial, which was quite refreshing and served with fresh fruit. Called the CB2 flower fizz, it was made with elderflower, sparkling wine, and raspberry. It’s the perfect patio drink.
They had a special on the starters chalkboard that day, so we ordered it: the warm camembert and French bread. It actually came out as bruschetta, and set in the middle of the plate, a big round of camembert cheese melted in its container.
A lovely presentation, but not really practical to spread the gooey cheese on top of bruschetta. I could have gone through a loaf of French bread with that delicious cheese, though.
Ever on my health kick, I was delighted that CB2’s main course menu was surprisingly healthy and fresh. Most English restaurants specialize in heavy carb-loaded (but delicious!) entrees.
I ordered the falafel wrap as my main course, and it arrived with hot falafel, hummus, cherry tomatoes, red onion, cucumber slices, and bits of iceberg lettuce all loosely wrapped. It actually completely fell apart as I ate it, and I ended up eating it with a knife and fork.
The dish was served with big, thick chips on the side—French fries to you lot. Chips are always to be eaten with malt vinegar and a garlic mayonnaise. This time, they also had spices sprinkled on them, making them very tasty.
Papa Love, a vegetarian, had the vegetable lasagna, which came with a bit of greens on the side. It was a hefty portion, and came out piping hot and looking mighty greasy, but he loved it nonetheless.
My brother ordered the chicken Caesar wrap, which was filled with oven-cooked chicken breast, Parmesan, and garlic. It didn’t fall apart like my wrap did, but perhaps that’s because it was inhaled by Christafoffle in merely milliseconds.
Chris’ lovely girlfriend, who is in Cambridge for a few months to visit, ordered the Greek salad, which was the prettiest dish on the table and possibly the freshest dish I saw in my entire trip to England that week.
The lovely salad was heavy on the olives, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and feta cheese. The salad was very fresh and very big, for England. So much so that she could barely finish it.
We finished our meal and our plates were cleared and we decided to stay for a bit and enjoy the sun—a rare sight, as it had been miserably drizzling for days. In fact, we got so wrapped up enjoying ourselves that we forget we had arranged to meet some extended family for tea near the river. The horror; our brunch had run into tea-time!
The Bitches say: A. CB2 is the quintessential Cambridge lunch/study/poetry/internet cafe spot with super fresh and healthy food.
5/7 Norfolk St,
Cambridge, CB1 2LD