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Pub Restaurant: The Cock, Hemingford Grey, Cambridgeshire

May 19, 2012

Serendipity: ‘the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way’ (Oxford Concise Dictionary). And it was thus by chance that we happened today upon The Cock in the beautiful Cambridgeshire village of Hemingford Grey. The ‘development of events’ was what happened due to my getting us lost on our way to a kennels near Huntingdon. It doesn’t require many navigation skills to take one up the A1(M) from London and as we approached Huntingdon where we were supposed to briefly join the A14 before scooting off onto the A141, I rather carelessly said to Jonathan, who was driving,’Oh it’s just straight on.’ Umm. No actually. It might look like that on the map but it’s not how it works in practice. Fortunately he worked out my mistake pretty quickly. All three mobile phones came out as we each asked our own where we were and how did we get to Doddington. In our attempt to cut across a triangle of roads we found ourselves driving through Hemingford Grey, a pretty village with thatch-roofed cottages and in which I first spied The Cock, thinking, That looks a good place. However, having already caused some delay to our journey, I judged it an ill moment to cause further delay by saying, Hey, let’s take a look at that pub.

All travel mishaps were forgotten once we met Zeph, the Yorkshire Terrier puppy Jonathan and Lyndsey are buying.

From shaking nervously when he first saw us, Zeph was soon a happy and friendly little fellow enjoying all the love and attention being lavished upon him. How Jonathan and Lyndsey will wait out the two weeks to bring him home, I don’t know. However, by the time we set off back to London my thoughts were inevitably turning to my stomach. The Single Gourmet Traveller’s thoughts rarely stray from food for long – even with a beautiful puppy to distract her. It was definitely lunchtime. I started to say, We passed a nice looking place … And Jonathan interrupted, The Cock. Yes, he’d seen it too. So, how did we find this pub that we’d stumbled upon by chance while lost? Step in the iPhone. ‘The Cock near Huntingdon’ I asked it, and soon a website and map appeared. And we were on our way.

The car park was so packed we were a bit worried they might not have a table. But they did. And how nice it was to sit down in such a welcoming and cosy place. As we looked at menus a plate of good bread and olive oil with balsamic was put before us.

As a place to eat that caught our attention in passing, it turned out to be a remarkably good piece of luck. As we entered, I noticed signs saying it was in Michelin 2012, The Good Food Guide and I see from the website it was recently featured in The Times as one of the top ten dining pubs in the country. Well … isn’t it a good thing I got us lost!

The Cock’s menu is guided by the seasons and the fish dishes were all on the blackboard, from which I chose Salmon with Beetroot Mash and Pea Puree (£14). Jonathan and Lyndsey went for sausages and mash (£11.50). There was a choice of four sausages – and they went for one of each! There was Pork and Apple, Pork with Stilton and Spinach, Beef and Mustard and Traditional Pork. There’s a choice of mash and sauces to go with them: Jonathan chose Spring Onion Mash with Red Wine Sauce and Lyndsey had Hemingford Mash (horseradish & mustard) with Onion Gravy. They also come with seasonal greens. The sausages are made in house by Richard Bradley (co-owner), mainly from Gloucestershire Old Spots pork. Jonathan gave me tastes and they were really delicious; some of best sausages I’ve had. My salmon was good too and I liked the mash and puree with it.

When eating somewhere good the gourmet in me always turns to a little bit of a glutton and wants a pud. Well, they did sound good (all priced £6): Raspberry & Elderflower Jelly with Clotted Cream Ice Cream, Creme Brulee with Shortbread and – which both Lyndsey and I chose – Chocolate & Pear Brownie with Hot Chocolate Sauce and Pear & Vanilla Ice Cream. If you’re going to be a glutton, you might as well go the whole way!

I have to say it wasn’t quite as good as I expected: I was expecting warm brownie but it was cold, as was the ‘hot chocolate sauce’, and a little heavy. But it tasted nice and chocolatey; I liked the classic pear and chocolate combination put into a brownie, and the ice cream was good.

The Cock was a great serendipity find. And isn’t it great when one happens on a good place to eat by chance? And it did happily distract from my rather poor navigational skills today …. Unfortunately, for a South West London girl, it’s a little far for an easy return visit, but if you’re in the area, then take a detour, go there for lunch (Monday-Friday there’s a good set price lunch menu of £12.50 for 2 courses; £16.50 for 3). And next time I’m in Cambridgeshire, I’m definitely going back!

3 Comments
  1. Yummy! Makes me drool just looking at the pictures. 😉

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