Location & Ambience
Address: Midsummer Common, Cambridge CB4 1HA
Nestled alongside the serene Midsummer Common, Midsummer House presents itself as a gastronomic sanctuary in Cambridge. The setting – enveloped by verdant surroundings and very close to the River Cam – provides an ideal backdrop for a lunch of indulgence and culinary exploration.
Midsummer House won its first Michelin star in 2002, and a second in 2005. We opted for the lunch menu, priced at £150 per head. To complement our dining experience, we also enjoyed a glass of Gerovasilliou white blend and a bottle of Pouilly Fume. Both were chosen after consultation with the excellent sommelier who was on hand to expertly assist.
Here is a walk-through of the Midsummer House lunch menu in late September 2023 as a guide to the artistry that one can expect, and what we collectively thought of each.
Sablé: Aged Parmesan, Apple, Winter Truffle
The dish was a veritable bouquet of textures. The crispiness of the sablé contrasted beautifully with the earthy depth of the winter truffle. The aged parmesan was rich, flavourful, and elevated by the tart apple accents.
Duck, Dark Chocolate: Duck Liver Parfait, Raspberry Port, 100% Cocoa
This was a bold symphony of flavours. The duck liver parfait was creamy and luxurious, its richness perfectly offset by the tart raspberry port. The touch of 100% cocoa added a layer of complexity that was both unexpected and entirely pleasing.
French Rabbit: Confit Rabbit, Agen Prunes, Duck Liver, Lovage
The confit rabbit was sublimely tender and deeply flavourful. The Agen prunes brought sweetness and depth, whilst the duck liver added a touch of decadence. The lovage contributed an aromatic quality that rounded off the dish wonderfully.
Bloody Mary: Celery Sorbet, Lime, Worcestershire Sauce
More than a palate cleanser, this dish was an inventive take on the classic cocktail. The celery sorbet was invigorating, and the lime and Worcestershire sauce introduced a zesty kick, awakening the senses for the courses to follow.
Butternut Squash: Smoked Sorbet, Consommé Jelly, Pickled Girolles, Mushroom Velouté
The smoked sorbet was a revelation, the smokiness intriguingly complemented by the silky mushroom velouté. The consommé jelly and pickled Girolles introduced additional layers of umami and tanginess, making for a deeply satisfying dish.
Sourdough: In-house Mulled Rye Sourdough with Ampersand Cultured Butter
This was no ordinary bread course. The sourdough was robust, its rye flavours deep and earthy, made even more delectable when paired with the rich and tangy Ampersand cultured butter.
Loch Duart Salmon: Slow-cooked Loch Duart Salmon, White Chocolate, Caviar, Finger Lime
The salmon was cooked to perfection—flaky, yet moist. The white chocolate sauce was incredibly innovative, providing a subtle sweetness that paired wonderfully with the saline pop of the caviar and the zest of the finger lime.
Dingley Dell Pork: Pork Tenderloin, Confit Belly, Pickled Onion, Cider Reduction
Each cut of pork was prepared to perfection, offering different textures from the melt-in-your-mouth confit belly to the succulent tenderloin. The pickled onions cut through the richness, whilst the cider reduction offered a sweet and tangy note.
Coconut Parfait: Coconut, Nyangbo Chocolate, Lime, Green Chilli
A tropical escape on a plate, the coconut parfait was airy and refreshing. The Nyangbo chocolate added richness, while the lime and green chilli provided an exhilarating touch of zest and heat.
Sour Cherry: Black Forest Gâteaux, Midsummer House Style
This was an opulent reimagination of the classic dessert. The cherries were juicy and tart, the chocolate rich and velvety, and the overall construction was a textural masterpiece.
Bay Leaf: Garden Bay Leaf, Equatoriale Noire 55%
This course was an exploration of the aromatic qualities of bay leaf, paired with the rich, almost fudgy, Equatoriale Noire chocolate. The complexity was remarkable, showing off both the versatility of the ingredients and the mastery of the chef.
Apple Tarte Tatin: Apples and Caramel
The apples were flawlessly caramelised, yielding a perfect balance between tartness and sweetness. The caramel was buttery and rich, making the tarte a resounding end to a culinary odyssey.
Bottereaux: Warm French Bottereaux, Midsummer Apples
The bottereaux were fluffy, warm, and sugar-dusted, perfectly accompanied by the house-made Midsummer apple compote. The marriage of texture and flavour provided a perfect end to a meal that was nothing short of a culinary masterclass
All of the diners reviewing this gastronomic experience agreed that every single course was as delicious as food can be. Simply amazing.
Afterwards, the party was invited to drink coffees and taste some superb final food creations in an upstairs room with a view over the river. It’s a great way to finish off a superb experience.
The service was impeccable. The staff were not only attentive but also deeply knowledgeable about each course, adding layers of understanding to each bite.
The lunch menu at Midsummer House exemplifies culinary artistry, offering a broad spectrum of flavours and techniques that make for a truly unforgettable experience.
Though the price tag is undeniably steep, the quality of the ingredients and the execution of each dish make it justifiable for a special occasion or a treat for the discerning gourmand. On balance, this has to be the best restaurant in Cambridge.
The restaurant is open for lunch from 12pm until the final reservation at 13:30. Dinner is from 18:20 until last reservation 20:00 Weds-Sat.