One of our very own Cambridge Foodies posted a piece the other day on a new discovery near the Cambridgeshire border, called Haynes American BBQ. They spoke very highly of it, describing it as a “hidden gem”. I must admit, I have never heard of it myself, so naturally, I had to go and visit!
Located just off the A505 at the Coach House Hotel, near Melbourn, Haynes offers the American diner experience in a traditional English pub. Better yet, they offer smash burgers, which is something I recently discovered during my visit to Grill Plug and I was very keen to explore further.
Prices are competitive and the selection was very diverse, with sausages, ribs, burgers, steak, pizza, hotdogs, loaded fries, and a hilarious token vegan burger at the bottom. Anyone into BBQ should find what they are looking for.
The restaurant itself, though all American in every other way, was quite ordinary with nothing to get excited about. The interior was minimal but the tables were nice and big which gave you lots of room to fit food on. As mentioned by the original post in the Cambridge Foodies, this place seems to be empty often.
Beer choices were not overly inspiring but there were certainly a few good enough to save face. Neck Oil and Moretti being the two stand out choices.
My friend and I decided to split a burger each, with some loaded fries to share. The food came out in good time and was served on a board.
The ‘Naughty Fries’ came to around £6.99. These were chips with pulled pork, cheese sauce, and salsa. I must admit, they were absolutely delicious and the portions were good too. With Smokeworks and Histon Smokehouse loaded fries coming to approximately £8 for the same dish, this was a bargain. No doubt credited to the cheaper running costs out of the Cambridge bubble.
We ordered the ‘Spicy American’ and ‘The Cheesy Pig’, both coming to £12 each. Both were double burgers which really embraced the American style portions…in other words, they were bloody huge! They reminded me of the gargantuan burgers from Holy Burger in St Ives. You certainly won’t leave feeling hungry here!
The Cheesy Pig consists of a double smash patty, bacon, onion, cheese sauce, and BBQ pulled pork. There is a warning label with this burger suggesting that it “can get messy”, so I braced myself for a disintegrating burger (like my last visit to Herbie’s) but everything held together well. I love a messy burger and they seemed to get the balance right!
The Spicy American consisted of a double smash patty, melted cheese, chilli, lettuce, tomatoes, and chipolata mayo. I couldn’t taste much of a spicy kick but I have been repeatedly told that due to many years of vindaloo and Carolina Reaper chillies that this part of my taste buds may permanently be broken. I could certainly feel a warm glow which was very pleasant and may be enough to challenge people who enjoy a spicy kick.
The bill came to around £30, excluding drinks, which I thought was very reasonable (especially considering we had loaded fries too). It’s one of the better value restaurants I have been to for American BBQ, saving yourself a few quid per person over places in the Cambridge city area and surrounding villages.
I can really see why Haynes would be considered a hidden gem to many. You could easily drive past without realising it’s there. While sitting inside the fairly ordinary pub you aren’t expecting much either but when the food comes out you are pleasantly surprised with big portions, great selection, and proudly filthy food! This, coupled with the good value makes it a no brainer for people in the area who love the American style BBQ cuisine.
The question you need to ask yourself before visiting is whether it’s worth the journey if you aren’t local?
Thanks for reading!