I recently had a hankering for a good meaty burger and some beers, so when I saw that The Snug pub chain in Cambridge were creating some Father’s Day deals around just this, I couldn’t help but get suckered into the idea of their menu.
The Snug menu tempts you with “feel-good homemade comfort food everyday from early till late”. From an all day breakfast to sharing party platters, their trademark cocktails, homemade burgers, hot dogs and much more besides, it’s a good place to start when you need something substantial and away from the hoards of tourists through the heat of summer in Cambridge.
After a week of it popping in and out of my mind like a yoyo, I couldn’t resist taking my bearded friend for a Saturday afternoon treat whilst he was visiting my fine city.
The Snug hosted a cocktail making masterclass for myself and a few of my fellow Cambridge bloggers not so long ago at their Grafton Centre venue. They are a brand that I admire for their passion and flair for getting creative within their ever-growing repertoire of venues – even if they are a chain, I like them, so there.
In fact, The Snug is a brand that’s just celebrated their 10th anniversary, starting with just this one venue at Lensfield Road in Cambridge. They now boast 7 venues, including Hitchin, Ware and St Albans to list just a few spots, it’s a successful brand created by Giles Fry and Ashley Moore who set out to create their own unique all day bar serving handcrafted cocktails and tasty home cooked food.
The Snug I visited was on Lensfield Road, with a very distinctive decorative eagle perched above the door eye-balling you as you walk in through the street below. This is not to be confused with their slightly larger venue by the Grafton, this is much more, well… snug. The eagle is from the previous pub, “The Spread Eagle” of which it was better known before these guys took it over back in 2005 – it’s great to see they’ve kept a little bit of Cambridge pub history.
In fact, I think I prefer this one ever so slightly, if I had to choose, as it has a little more intimacy than it’s counterpart – perfect snoozy lunchtime location for a sunny Saturday afternoon.
It was a hot day, so we were encouraged to take a seat in the shade, but by the main French doors at the front to get the breeze from outside. Finding the perfect seat is important stuff on a hot day, it was warm (and even warmer now as I sit writing this up, phew!) so I didn’t want to stick to the leather seats as we dined.
Fabio was our barkeep for the afternoon, actually tempting us with a cocktail to start in place of a beer, ooh cheeky. Oh, who was I to argue? After enjoying my recent masterclass, I knew that the cocktails here are pretty good, so I didn’t need much arm twisting to be fair.
I was half tempted by the “Lychee Collins” and the “Lavender White Lady”… and a “Cucumber & Elderflower Gin-Jito”… ahem. But, I picked (after lots of humming and decision-changing) a very classy little number in the form of a “Pornstar Martini” – yep, classy all the way.
This was really (and scarily) easy to sip whilst basking in the sunshine, a champagne dish of vanilla vodka, mixed with passion fruit liqueur, passion fruit puree, served with a shot of Prosecco which really gave it a hit – I could have happily glugged this all day, it was so refreshing.
My dining companion went for a “Lynchburg Lemonade”, made up of Jack Daniel’s and triple sec, citrus fruits & sugar, topped (of course) with lemonade. This was a much longer drink and it made me regret ever so slightly not ordering a tall cocktail myself, as I necked mine before my food had arrived, oops.
Our waitress, Pamela, was super friendly and allowed us to build our own burgers, which took us a lot longer to decide on that normal…. so many choices, you could spend all day drooling over the options, truly.
The “MYO ‘Snug’ Burger” options include a big homemade beef burger, followed by a choice of three toppings between a slightly toasted brioche bun. You can pick from toppings such as brie, bacon, ham, onion, fried onion, portobello mushroom, nachos, onion rings, hash browns, fried egg, horseradish, hummus, sweet chilli sauce… the list goes on.
I went for a combination of cheddar cheese, pulled pork and sour cream with salad and sweet potato fries as a side. It was delicious, cooked medium-rare (although they didn’t ask how I would like it cooked here) and very herby in flavour, it had a really moreish taste, I didn’t really need all the fluff with it, as it would have been perfect as a simple burger alone. I’m also sometimes a little wary of warmed burger buns (they usually go soggy or blackened if overcooked), but these were just right, held together from start to end and were actually really quite tasty themselves. I can’t usually taste a burger bun, so this was a pleasant surprise, I liked that.
The coleslaw that came as a side had a hot kick to it, I don’t real like spicy food, so I had to leave it – I still can’t quite work out what that was, perhaps too much mustard? This would be the only niggle from the entire meal, so not bad all in all I’d say.
My partner in burger crime opted for halloumi, bacon and sausage – that sausage was seriously tasty, it was meat heaven in that bap! If they serve this sausage as part of their full English breakfast, then I’m there next time I need a filling first meal of the day.
One thing I would note is that it was eerily quiet on this particular Saturday lunchtime, I’m not sure if this is normal, but I love it when I have a venue to myself. From some others’ point of view though, It may worry them (and it would me) if somebody walked past and dismissed the venue for it being empty at this time of day… I would urge anyone to stop for food here and take a load off, in my own personal opinion.
We had a naughty side of onion rings to try too, rude not to go all out, right? They were crispy and chunky onion slices, with a cooling sour cream & herb dip to top us off into burger comas for the rest of the day.
In fact, nope, that’s a lie… we thought we had room for a milkshake, so we slurped on a strawberry and an Oreo creation, both were delicious, but it was a little too brave even for us.
Needless to say, we didn’t eat again until the very next day, but then that’s the sign of a great meal, so I’m certainly not complaining.
Next time I visit, I want to try out their smoked “Snug Dogs” – the “Pig Dog” is calling my name… “Miss Sue Flay”…!
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Please note – This visit was complimentary following an invitation from the team (I actually frequent this venue as a paying guest on a regular basis, so I’m a bit of a fan girl). 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.
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