This is one of several great pubs scattered over the small streets either side of Mill Road. While the selection of ales here is good, it’s not quite as good as either the Cambridge Blue or Live and Let Live, so it’s the food that’d bring you here.
This is rooted in the style of pub food – not overly fancy dishes served in hearty portions to eat with a few beers. But there’s a wider range of dishes here and a care of preparation that takes it closer to gastropub territory than your average local.
A permanent fixture of the menu are a range of different types of sausages sourced from the nearby butcher. These are proper sausages, with high quality meat blended with just the right amount of herb, giving them a much more distinctive flavour than the vaguely papery-ness of most supermarket bought sausages. They’re served with a proper homemade gravy on top of a big helping of soft mash with nice deeply flavoured red cabbage beneath it. [Sadly the last time I went my whole dish suffered from being slightly luke-warm, but I’m willing to forgive that for now as a one off lapse]
The grilled seabass wasn’t trying to be anything extravagant or smothered in one of those sauces that can so often go wrong. Instead it was just a nice plump fresh fish, cooked to perfection so the skin was charred and the flesh soft and springy. In contrast the chicken demonstrated a little more the chef’s talents, livening up the chicken’s soft and often considered bland taste with the stronger flavours of oyster mushrooms and herbs.
Its dishes like this one that really add to The Kingston Arm’s menu and probably are what helped it win an Observer food award a few years back. I’ve also had really great venison pie here in the past and have hear that the pan-fried ostrich steak is interesting. With such diverse options on offer, it seems a bit boring to get a standard roast dinner here, but they do also offer these most Sundays and they are fairly close to home cooking.
The prices are around the same as other ‘gastropubs’ I’ve visited, with mains around £10. Not the cheapest in town, but not terrible either. Plus, they now have a cheaper ‘recession menu’ to try to soften the blow a little – with dishes for as little as a fiver.
There’s a nice little beer garden out the back for when it’s sunny, newspapers available for you to read, a couple of computers to surf the internet and free wi-fi. This is definitely a pub where it would be easy to spend the whole afternoon.
Kingston Arms 33 Kingston Street Cambridge CB1 2NU Tel: 01223 319414
33 Kingston Street
Tel: 01223 319414