The Pint Shop in Cambridge is close to my heart for many reasons.
As a local food lover, this is a fantastic place to enjoy a beer from their huge selection of ales from all over the world, as well as more local selections on an ever-changing chalkboard of dreams.
If you love beer, this is the place for you… it’s certainly been the place for me over the years to enjoy meeting my cousins or friends for a quick pint, either in their cosy bar or outside in the seclusion of the walled beer garden at the back.
The Pint Shop is also where I “cheers’d with my good friend Cat when I became newly single and signed up a big client back in my self-employed days.
I also adore it, as it’s where I took the “Bearded One” for our very first Cambridge date three years ago, so it holds very special and happy memories for me ♡
But, recently there has been a revamp (inside and out; with a new dining room upstairs in the main building, as well as a cover added to the beer garden, speckled with soft fairy lights) and I was invited by the Pint Shop team to pop in and sample their new menu… how exciting.
Taking advantage of the recent celebration of three years together, I took my bearded man-friend to tuck into the new menu and enjoy a few drinks to toast the weekend.
I’ve never dined here on a Friday night and it’s a special place at this time of day, 8pm and it was buzzing… the tables surrounding us were filled with couples, groups of friends, new acquaintances and work colleagues, it was an eclectic room full of diners and the conversation bouncing off the art-covered walls got us in the mood, joining in with the conversation and, hopefully, adding to the buzz.
I don’t know about you, but I find there’s nothing worse than being surrounded by silent diners when you love talking about such random stuff over a meal… I loved that everyone was enjoying their own little worlds that you could discuss the most obscure topics and nobody would bat an eyelid, we had a great time.
The Pint Shop promise you “Meat. Bread. Beer” and that’s what you get… a really wide selection of everything, there’s something for everybody. Even the vegetarians and vegans amongst you, they cater for everybody on their menu, which is fantastic. I have vegetarian friends myself, so it’s a place to bank next time we need somewhere that will cater well for everyone.
We enjoyed ordering various dishes and sharing them, it’s the best way to try different things and I highly recommend doing the same… there’s far too much to miss if you don’t go with somebody willing to share.
For starters we opted of the iconic Pint Shop pork & fennel scotch egg, complete with runny yolk – this is a must for anyone new to this place, they are just perfect in every way – light, perfectly seasoned and very more-ish! We also picked the gin cured trout with buttermilk pancakes, sour cream and sweetcorn relish – this was one of my favourite dishes of the evening! I would say simplicity is key here, they almost tried to style the dish here by twisting the trout into a beautiful heap in the middle of the plate, but it hadn’t quite worked, the pancakes were slapped on the side and it came with a bowl of delicious sweet relish to make a mouthful sized savoury treat – every bite of this was better than the first, so tasty.
I don’t normally go for fish dishes, but I was drawn to the Pint Shop curry, so ordered a king prawn tikka served with garlic naan, rice and a peanut chutney. I personally don’t like hot food, I’m a lightweight when it comes to heat, so asked our waitress if we could have it as a mild curry. She made us aware that this is pre-prepared so couldn’t be altered, a real shame, as I found it super spicy. I expected the peanut chutney to cool it off, but it did quite the opposite, it was very hot and even my dining partner (who can take a lot of heat) found it super hot. Thankfully the prawns were mainly on the rice and not in the curry itself, so I managed to eat around it. Not my favourite dish, but very aromatic and lot’s going on within the dish, it was beautiful.
Beardy ordered the Lamb Loin Chops from the charcoal grill, served with crushed potatoes, rainbow chard and spring onions. Now, this was truly delicious, the lamb was cooked beautifully and as simple as the dish was, it was the true winner or the main courses. Alongside his food, he supped on a Saltaire Brewery South Island Pale New Zealand Pale and a De Molem Brewery ‘Hugs & Kisses’ session IPA – both equally as refreshing as the other. I can’t pretend to know how to review a beer, but these guys know their people-pleasing beers!
Don’t just settle for beer here either… the gin selection is HUGE and you must try their gin cocktails, they are just beautiful. Non-alcoholic cocktails are on the menu too, so drivers and tee-totalers get the royal treatment equally. If you are stuck as to which gin to try, give their ‘Pea flavoured’ gin a go, it was tailored to them for their quirky address, it tastes just like garden peas!
I enjoyed the ‘Hard Lemonade’ made with Portobello Road gin, house lemonade, elderflower and bitters, as well as a ‘Rhubarb G & T’ made up of Warner Edwards Victoria Secret Rhubarb gin, Aperol, orange bitters and topped with a tonic – both were beautiful and have inspired me to get more creative with my own homemade cocktails in the Pubshed™️.
Of course, the old ‘dessert stomach’ comes in useful at this point in a meal… we were full, but with the offer of ‘Jack’s Gelato’ Ice Cream Sundaes, we weren’t going to be defeated by the pudding course. Between us we tucked into The Caramelised Banana Split with vanilla ice cream, fudge sauce and topped with almonds, as well as a tall glass of ‘The Malt teaser’ with malt ice cream, a thick chocolate fudge sauce and blondie crumbs – both were awesome, don’t miss dessert here if you can help it! At £6 / £6.50 each, these were fairly priced, almost too big to finish… almost.
I love the little details here. The foam heart on our coffee, the artwork you can not only enjoy, but can actually buy if you want to, the tiny tea lights lighting your meal (although tricky to get good photos in this light haha), the simple silver cutlery and white linen napkins on bare wooden tables and the excitement of a beer being wiped off the board once the keg has been emptied – there’s lots going on here, it’s a great place for a date or a night with family and friends.
The only drawback here is that the toilets are upstairs, so with an injured ankle, this was a tricky situation. There is a disabled toilet downstairs on the ground floor, however on entering I swiftly walked straight back out as couldn’t stomach the state it was in, it was filthy. It’s a real shame, they definitely need to keep more on top of their facilities, I’m not sure how the upstairs lavatories were, but I hope they were in a better state than this one.
We had been invited to see the new dining room, but weren’t seated in here. Instead, we were in the main dining area on the ground floor behind the bar, so can’t comment too much on the revamp, but from a quick peek upstairs to look, it is a very simple yet stylish dining room. We will definitely be going back in the near future to try out more dishes – their Sunday roast is well and truly calling my name!
The Pint Shop has recently expanded to our opposing University town too (controversial haha), so if you are headed to Oxford, you’ll find a similar menu to get stuck into there.
Have YOU been to The Pint Shop?
I’d love to hear your thoughts below in a comment.
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Please note – This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team. I am in no means obliged to blog or write about their offerings, but I simply choose to share with my readers, should I enjoy the experience. The service team that work on the day or duration of my visit are not aware of my reasons for visiting, to enable a fair review. A huge thank you to the Pint Shop Team for inviting us, we very much enjoyed our visit.
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