I met up with my good friend Samuel from Be Social Cambridge to catch up and grab a late lunch. Samuel knows the Cambridge food scene well and recommended a small family run Jordanian restaurant called Little Petra.
I’m still trying to work my way through all the restaurants on Mill Road, so I was more than happy to give this restaurant a go. I am a big fan of food from the Middle East and have already had fantastic dining experiences from Damasbridge and Samaan, so competition was tight. That said, I have heard people say good things about Little Petra, so I was confident it could hold its own.
Upon entering, I noticed that the restaurant is a small cafe size with limited space. That didn’t matter though as the staff here are really welcoming, friendly, and work really hard to engage with you. Even while I was booking the table on the phone the chap was chatty, so I was already expecting this welcoming atmosphere. The place felt like home.
The seating here was a little tight for two chaps over 6ft. The chairs too were very stylish but were quite uncomfortable unless you are of a thin build. This is something to consider when booking a table, make sure to ask for one of the window tables if space is an issue.
Looking at the menu the selection was not huge but there were some good options, including burgers and wraps, as well as the more traditional Jordanian cuisine. Also a selection of milk shakes which was a nice addition. Prices looked really competitive, especially for lamb which was exciting as everything is getting more expensive at the moment.
I decided to start off with a vanilla milk shake and some hummus with flat bread to get the ball rolling.
The vanilla milkshake was lovely. It was very light and smooth with a thick cream on top. I think this may have been delicately made on purpose to make it smooth refreshing rather than overly indulgent, which made a nice change compared to most other restaurants. The weather had been very hot lately, so this was indeed welcome, though for £4 it might be the only thing on the menu a little expensive for what it is.
The hummus was delicious and beautifully presented. It was served with chickpeas, parsley, and a sprinkle of spice. The dish was a visual feast as well as a tasty one with a great contrast of colours. The flat bread was the real star of the show here, as hummus with a bad foundation can lead to a mess and turn into a complete disaster, but the flat bread compliment it perfect. Thin but strong enough to hold it together!
We both decided to go for the lamb Yakhanit Kharoof, slow cooked with chickpeas, onions, potatoes, coriander and Arabic spices. I am a big fan of lamb and spicy food, so this was right up my street.
The Yakhanit Kharoof is also served with rice which compliments it perfectly. I know there were potatoes in this already, which means the dish can stand on its own in terms of a balanced meal but the rice soaked up the sauce much better and gave me a curry like experience with my meal (which is never bad!).
The lamb was very succulent, tender, and the knife just cut straight through it. I found the sauce a little watery but nothing which would ruin the meal. I do a lot of slow cooking at home and I know this can be awkward.
My biggest concern was the portion sizes, which Samuel had warned me about prior to visiting. They are very big, especially for what you pay. This is naturally a good problem to have but made it a struggle to eat on their regular sized plates. It was nearly impossible not to make a mess. It would have been good to have slightly bigger plates but a trivial issue none the less.
There was a near unlimited supply of baklava for sale at the counter which I decided to grab for my wife before leaving. Baklava is one of my favourite foods and theirs was excellent! There was an incredible selection of desserts and cakes available too. You really are spoiled for choice in this department.
The bill came to around £20 each which was significantly lower than I expected. In the age of inflation Little Petra is offering authentic Jordanian cuisine at competitive prices and generous portions to boot! I am starting to realise now why they are competing with the likes of other restaurants close by.
The place was very busy and I can see why!
Thanks for reading!