You’d be forgiven for thinking The Pint Shop is all about the beer. It is, after all, where this little gem in the heart of Cambridge gets its name. There is however, a great selection of food on offer too. This visit was a belated birthday surprise for me, and after a few hours in a kayak on the Cam, the extensive beer menu certainly caught the eye.
I’d already clocked the local options on the chalkboard, but as luck would have it (some might call it destiny) an additional menu was handed to me for their very own beer festival. Being a bit of a beer monster, there was no way I was passing up the opportunity to try as many as I could. The Blood Orange Sour from Pastore was particularly good… but this is a Foodies post so you’ll have to join our Cambridgeshire Pubs, or Craft Beer In Cambridge Facebook groups if you want to hear more about the beverages!
Our very attentive waiter handed us the food menu as they took our drinks orders. I was honestly surprised by the variety on offer. Korean Chicken Wings, Celeriac Schnitzel, Burgers (meaty and vegan), even Dry Aged Steaks from Cambridge’s own Malloy’s butchery. Sometimes it’s a bit of a concern for me when one venue (particularly one presenting itself primarily as a pub or bar) has so many different styles on offer. But given the relatively small menu, I wasn’t overly worried.
A different member of staff came to take our order. We wanted to experiment a bit so decided upon three starters that we would share as mains. Opting for the Classic Scotch Egg with Beer Mustard, Korean Chicken Wings, and the Rare Roast Jagyu Beef. They were more than happy to accommodate this request, and quickly returned with side plates so we could dish out portions for ourselves when the food was ready. I have to say the attentiveness of the staff throughout our visit was very very high. It was noticeable that we rarely had the same member of staff visit our table twice, but given the high standard of service across the board it really didn’t matter.
After what felt like a very short wait (though time flies when you’re drinking excellent beer) our food was ready. The urge to cut open the Scotch Egg was too much for Adele, her eagerness rewarded with a vibrant and runny yolk. This dish was everything it should be in terms of texture, a nice crunchy bread coating, slightly springy sausage, and that thick oozing yoke lining the inside of your mouth.
Unfortunately despite looking and feeling the part, it was let down quite a bit by the lack of noticeable seasoning. This is forgivable inside the egg, but unfortunately the sausage meat was also desperately underseasoned. The beer mustard, whilst an interesting idea in keeping with the venue, didn’t really land all that strongly either. It just didnt cut the mustard, or rather the beer didn’t cut through the mustard. I’d have preferred normal English mustard to pep up the scotch egg.
Next up, the Korean Wings. Of the three dishes I tried, this is the one I thought had the most potential to go awry. I couldn’t have been more wrong, lip-smackingly sticky, lightly spiced, and the perfect accompaniment to my beer. These wings tasted of authentic Korean BBQ, with perfectly cooked soft chicken wrapped in a highly flavorful skin teeming with textures from soft and gooey to crispy and crunchy. The accompanying dipping sauce was hot, sweet and sour, cutting through the stickiness of the chicken perfectly. Not even Adele’s already 98% eaten wings escaped my attention they were that good.
This brings me on to the dish I was most excited about, the Rare Roast Jagyu Beef. A bit like a meaty salad, the dish was served cold with fresh beetroot (red and yellow), walnuts, pickled girolle mushrooms, and a mushroom and horseradish ketchup. Unfortunately the beef whilst quite tender, was criminally under seasoned. A real shame, as because the beef was served cold, the flavour as a result was more metallic than beefy. The most enjoyable thing on the plate by a bit of a distance were the pickled girolle mushrooms, which offered a break from the neutrality on the rest of the plate. Perhaps I’m being too critical, but I had high hopes for this one.
All this beer had me needing a toilet break, and whilst away from the table Adele arranged for a birthday dessert to be delivered to the table. A nice touch from the staff, who had been incredible throughout our visit.
For a pub in the heart of Cambridge, I don’t think you’ll find much better drinking food. The have a great selection which for the most part they execute really really well, they’re just a little shy with the salt and pepper! The staff were outstanding, and the beer selection equally so. I highly recommend a visit to see for yourself, even if only to sample what’s on the taps!