Mrs RM was off work today but plans for an exciting day trip to Hanwell were scuppered by my being volunteered to deliver political leaflets this afternoon. I think they’re part of a campaign to build a BrewDog in our village/new town, that’s what Mrs RM said anyway.
So we only had time for a leisurely lunch at the Queen Edith, a high quality new build run by Milton, our village brewery.
This was the first new-build pub in Cambridge for ages when it opened last year, albeit on part of the site of a closed Punch house. Under a gem of a tenant it had been one of the few true remaining estate pubs in Cambridge, and one of my favourites, although never gracing the Beer Guide. It was also the last place I had Draught Burton and Ansells Mild.
It felt like a leap of faith by Milton, who now have an estate of six, all of them worth a Beer Guide place. Queen Edith is a ward of Cambridge between the station and the hospital , with a mix of council housing and large detached housing theoretically providing a good catchment for a pub. This might sound like a cash-cow, but as Pub Curmudgeon as often shown (e.g. here), an apparent captive audience is no guarantee of success.
Milton couldn’t have done much better to create a pleasant place from scratch, but it’s a tough job creating a lived-in feel. To its credit, the Edith feels like a pub, not a restaurant, although it’s going to need the food to pay the bills.
I like the different styles between left and right hand rooms, which presumably will allow folk some protection from the rugby they threaten to show there.
By 2 o’clock there were a dozen or so in, half of them eating, which is as good as most places in tourist Cambridge. Most diners were retirees, with no obvious custom from Addenbrookes, ten minutes walk away (attempting to drive and then re-park would be very foolish).
20 years ago there would have been a few folk taking an hour’s lunch break. Today, with increased work pressure and competition from Burger King and Costa in the Food Court there are none, and if they drank so much as a half they’d be sacked, of course.
The food is terrific. Homemade, served on plates, priced in £, and very tasty. The main courses are a tenner and up, so they don’t compete with Burger King (or the Greene King ping food nearby) on price, but you don’t feel hungry an hour later.
Eight beers seems on the high side. Those are lovely guests, but I don’t know why you need them when Milton do such a good range across the styles and strengths (3.3% to 5%). First out the pump the Pegasus and Nero are both NBSS 3.5/4, and consistent beer quality is a feature across the Milton estate, so they clearly know their business. The manager here certainly knows how to run a pub.
I do enjoy new breweries like Cloudwater and Siren whose beers excelled this week, but you do rarely get the same thing twice. It’s good to be able to get Pegasus consistently in Cambridge now; Mrs RM complained bitterly about the absence of Marcus Aurelius, though at 7.5% I was slightly relieved. Mrs RM isn’t a drinker of halves.
Another sign of the times. Two lads ordering meals ordered a half a coke and a hot water. Don’t think it was a penny-pinching choice either. Good on them for using the pub though.