Midsummer House is a 2 Michelin Star restaurant right by the river on Midsummer Common in the heart of Cambridge. I first visited in 2005 and had the most amazing meal. Ten years later I was interested to see if the standard was the same.
The restaurant has Daniel Clifford as it’s head chef and he certainly puts his heart and soul into every dish. The staff know every aspect of every dish and they are quirky and entertaining, adding jokes and theatre to make the diner feel both relaxed and special.
We were treated to 4 canapes – each one exquisite in its own right and accompanied by a glass of bubbles from the champagne trolley. The staff also mentioned my dairy intolerance and adapted the dishes so that cream and butter were kept to a minimum.
Canapes included an ash roasted beetroot marshmallow with dried yoghurt crisps, a potato souffle (like a crisp potato shell) with a sour cream and lime jelly, a canneloni stood in a dish of cardamom seeds with a compote of duck and cardamom cream, a Bloody Mary foam with a celery sorbet and a piece of lamb shoulder in a crispy tempura batter with mint mayonnaise.
We chose the seven course degustation and the first of the courses was smoked haddock, a crisp potato shell, pickled onion and caviar. This was a beautiful combination of smoky, sour and salty with no accent being overpowering.
Second course was Celeriac baked on open coals which one of the chefs brought to the table and carved open, scooping out the tender celeriac flesh and dressing the dish with two types of hollandaise – one at room temperature and one frozen with liquid nitrogen, hazelnut, celery and wood sorrel.
Item three was a roast quail with a tempura smoked quail’s egg, shallot puree, grapes, celery and sourdough crouton.
Then came the star of the menu. The signature sauteed scallop with Granny Smith, celeriac and truffle puree. The scallop was amazingly soft and delicately flavoured and an absolute treat.
The fifth and final main course was a roast glazed duck breast, with canneloni, fig, dill and fennel puree. All elements of this dish worked really well and I loved every mouthful.
The pre-dessert was aerated lychee, mango and lime. A tropical treat for the senses.
The main dessert was a Marquise of blackberry and pear with a delicate and sublime pastis crisp. This dessert had the real wow factor.
This was followed by beignets with cream and chocolate
And a few chocolates from the chocolate trolley (yes they have a chocolate trolley).
I chose a sage chocolate and a dark passion fruit chocolate.
We also chose a bottle of Meltwater Sauvignon Blanc which had a perfect gooseberry and pinapple bouquet.
Midsummer House is a place to book for a special occasion and every course will delight you and awaken your senses – yes I could not fault the venue, the amazingly knowledgeable and entertaining staff and the exquisite presentation. Three Michelin stars is on the horizon for this beautiful establishment.