We love Vanderlyle. This was our third visit to the fabulously inventive Cambridge restaurant and we were very happy to be back for the first time since lockdown. We worked out it had been 2 years since our last trip when we sat at the pass. Vanderlyle Cambridge showcases delicious, locally sourced produce in their seasonal, ingredient led, 5 course set menu.
Costing £65, you are able to book via the Tock system. Vanderlyle, Lawrence Butler and Masterchef finalist Alex Rushmer’s Mill Road restaurant, opened in 2019 and is extremely popular so do plan well ahead of your visit! On arrival, we had a playfully simplified menu. For those wanting to know more, you are able to scan the QR code and read extra detail of each dish.
We chose to add the drinks pairing which included 4 drinks to accompany and enhance the enjoyment of each course. You can go fully alcoholic (£40), non-alcoholic (£30) or can request a mixture- two alcoholic and two non (£35). This is a great way to try something new and we thoroughly enjoyed the drinks which were clearly chosen with great expertise and experience. The non-alcoholic drinks are really exciting so definitely worth trying.
The meal started with with four flavour packed snacks, all of which were delicious. The bread and butter pudding arrived first and was quickly devoured. Bread and butter pudding (as you have never had it before of course,) with bullhorn pepper and pistachio.
Next came the Danish inspired Skagen. A beautifully petite piece of compressed cucumber, served with celeriac, dill, crème fraiche and seaweed caviar. Refreshing and tasty.
Generous pieces of tempura Oyster mushroom with a seaweed mayonnaise arrived next. Satisfyingly crunchy.
Finally, the gin and caraway infused Flouish beetroot, with pumpkin seed and horseradish cream lightened things up and ended the snacks perfectly.
We always look forward to the Vanderlyle bread course and this menu lived up to our previous hype. Malted grain focaccia served with hummus, white beans and parsley.
Cheese and Tomato:
How beautiful is this dish? This was the course that I was most looking forward to from the menu and it was sensational. Flourish tomatoes with a rich cheese custard, served with a cinnamon basil and sunflower seed pesto. A crisp parmesan biscuit completed this. The drinks pairing pictured was the super fresh non-alcoholic option, with flavours of mint and basil.
We were reliably informed that this is cooked like a risotto but contains no rice- hence the porridge. Toasted grains, nasturtium leaf and nasturtium flower were warm and hearty in this tasty bowl.
Onion and potato:
Our main course was absolutely stunning. Japanese overwintering onions, caramelised roscoff onions, and braised cavolo nero were served with a potato terrine and the most incredible onion and truffle jus. We both loved this dish.
Our first dessert was a pretty ice cream sandwich. It wasn’t just good looking though, it tasted amazing. Two buckwheat sablé biscuits sandwiched strawberry sorbet- a fig jam was a welcome surprise in the centre.
Our final course was a chocolate choux bun, filled with Pump Street Madagascan chocolate crème pâtissière, and served with a shiso ice cream. A great ending to a great meal.
We finished with coffee and some tasty petit fours; hazelnut financier and a caramel and coffee macaron. What a wonderful meal. I urge everyone who loves interesting, inventive and tasty food to visit Vanderlyle- vegetarian or not. It is a fabulous restaurant and we are so lucky to have it in Cambridge. Until next time!
Vanderlyle features in our Ultimate Cambridge Restaurant Guide here.