Urban Street Kings – a new street food venture in Cambridge

Spawned from the excellent team at The Three Horseshoes in Maddingley. Urban Street Kings plan to enter the Cambridge street food scene in spring next year with interesting choices from around the world. To promote their business, they are holding one-off evenings at venues around Cambridge. Last week’s “Guerilla Kitchen” was held at Black Cat Café in Mill Road:

Fish taco
Fish taco: Beautifully cooked bream, chilli beans, guacamole and sour cream in a proper soft taco. For my taste the chilli was almost a touch too strong for the delicate fish but it held up well.
Pork bun
Pork bun: Inspired by David Chang’s Momofuku dish, this was superb. The meat perfectly soft and flavourful with matching accompaniments.
Beef pho, short rib, salad
Beef pho, short rib, salad: The pho was served in a kilner jar with excellent broth, soft meat and crunchy vegetables. The braised sticky short rib was juicy and tender and almost fell apart, the crunchy salad an excellent balance to the rich meat.
Crack pie
Crack pie: Again a recipe inspired by David Chang, this sweet and rich but not sickly so and I would imagine much more enjoyable after a less rich and filling meal.

This was a very fun evening with simple but delicious food in very generous portions. I have to admit the beef dish defeated me and I had to send some leftovers back.

Keep an eye on their facebook page and follow them on twitter for updates. The 7th of November is sold out already but there will be more dates.

A feasting at Fitzbillies

As Fitzbillies opened for dinner again after a summer break, they introduced a “feasting” menu (see bottom of the dinner menu), available to groups of four and above and consisting of a starter (from the current menu, and the whole group has to agree on one), a main which is usually a whole cut of roasted meat to be carved at the table or a “dish of birds” and a dessert (selection as with starter). When I read this, I immediately knew this would be good fun so after a few weeks of herding catsfriends, we had decided on a date and a menu.

Cured rabbit loin, celeriac/hazelnut remoulade
We started with cured rabbit loin and celeriac/hazelnut remoulade. The meat was superb, tender and flavourful, another example of Fitzbillies’ excellent cured products. The crunchy remoulade went nicely with it.
Sweetcorn chowder, queenie scallop
A little extra course in the shape of an espresso cup of sweetcorn chowder with a roasted Queenie scallop was next. The chowder was fresh and subtle in sweetcorn flavour, the scallop cooked perfectly.
Dish of birds
The main event, Dish of Birds: A quail each and a half each of pheasant and poussin, all perfectly roasted with crisp skin and juicy flesh. Not in the photo are the sides: roast potatoes, dandelion leaves, carrots, bread sauce, cranberry sauce and an excellent gravy. This was as delicious as it looked and after we’d finished, everybody was groaning with full stomachs.
Pear and chocolate cake
The dessert, however, was still to come and it fit in, too, as the pear and chocolate cake was rather light.

All the courses were served on sharing platters.

It was a really fun evening and I highly recommend it for a family celebration or just a reason to bring friends together. With a few bottles of wine, coffee and service, this feasting came to 50 pounds a head.

A quick meal at Orchid, Newmarket Road

I had not been aware of Orchid in Newmarket Road until Nicholas of Vinopolis in Devonshire Road mentioned it to me last weekend. The menu promising “Asian fusion food” looked interesting so when I realised I had nothing in at home I decided to pay it a visit last night.
The main part of the restaurant is well lit by downlighters, square tables are set up in rows of five or so, bare polished wood with placemats. In the back there is booth style seating and the kitchen with a large window facing the main dining room and the pass facing the booths.
After a few meat-heavy days, I wanted something lighter so chose the softshell crab for starter and the sea bream for main, some plain rice and a pot of green tea from their “Premium” range.

First to arrive with my tea was a bowl of big prawn crackers and a bowl of shredded veg and beansprouts in a sweet chilli sauce which made them a little more interesting than your usual cardboard crackers.

The starter was plate piled with breaded and deep fried soft shell crab, nice and crunchy but still moist inside. There was quite a bit of chilli in the breading but not enough to kill the flavour of the crab. Delicious.

The main was two decently sized fillets of sea bream with crispy skin and moist flesh, with an excellent, almost meaty, soy based sauce and a small pile of tenderstem broccoli. I really enjoyed that as well.

I had a quick look at the dessert menu but unlike the other courses, it wasn’t really inspiring (cheesecake, treacle pudding and other British/Western style desserts, with only banana fritters being vaguely Asian but at 6.50, I passed).
Another oddness on the menu, at least for an Asian restaurant, was a surprisingly low number of vegetarian options.

In conclusion, the food was well cooked with excellent flavours but at £31 for two courses, tea and a bowl of rice a touch pricey for what it was. I think I will go back with a few friends and try their Hotpot as that looks like far better value.

A quick comment on clientele: I was first in at 6:30 and still the only diner when I left an hour later. Their food is good so I guess it’s the prices that are putting people off. While its location would be great for a quick meal before or after the cinema, I’m not sure I will be back regularly.
They also have a karaoke room upstairs so the place might get busier towards the weekend.

I apologise for the lack of photos. For once, there would have been plenty of light and I didn’t have my camera because it was a spontaneous decision. I had even left my phone at home by accident.