A foodie day out in Cambridge & dinner at Jamie’s Italian

Over the weekend, hubby and I took a trip to Cambridge and it turned into one of those days of eating and drinking in a surprisingly foodie location. Our sightseeing journey around this historical city involved lots of walking, so we were guaranteed to work up an quite an appetite by the end of the day. Plus all the walking resulted in us needing to sit down and rest regularly and luckily for me there was always a café nearby! Here’s what we got up to and a little review of Jamie Oliver’s restaurant where we enjoyed our evening meal.

We took a trip into Cambridge on the park and ride bus and decided to hop off the bus early near the green.  Here we enjoyed a picnic lunch on a park bench that we’d bought from the bakery – a naughty pasty for me and a big pizza slice for hubby. After this lunch break with a lovely view of the rose garden we continued our trek into the city centre and browsed the shops. A couple of stores really sparked my interest including Tiger for it’s low-priced ethical shopping ethos and Hollister for its dark and gorgeously designed interior. We took a few photos so I’ll share these in a future blog post because this post is all about the foodie surprises that Cambridge has in store!

After a walk up to the colleges (which were all closed to the public, due to it being exam season) and spent some time admiring the ancient architecture, we wandered through the market square. I was surprised by the number of different cuisines available on the market’s food stalls and despite having only recently eaten lunch, (and having already walked away once!) hubby and I decided we really should sample some of the foodie delights so we went back into the market for a cheese and sour-cream flatbread. I think I was swept up by the feeling of being on holiday and I felt like I was at a Christmas market, but in the summer. Who could resist?? We shared the cheesy-garlicy dough, though I was defeated after only a few bites because it was a very strong flavour but hubby gallantly munched on and did us proud.

By now you can probably imagine that I was ready to pop, but more walking around the city centre ensure that I was soon ready to have a sit down and a cup of tea to boost my energy levels. Soon after we headed into the Cambridge Toy Shop to have a look at all the old toys we remembered from our childhood and even picked up a gift for our nephew’s birthday. Hopping in and out of all the lovely décor and book shops gave us inspiration for decorating our next interior project and plenty of ideas for DIY versions of the expensive-but-fabulously-designed furniture and accessories we saw during the day. I like to browse shops to get inspiration and to keep my mental moodboard ticking over. Sometimes I wish I could ‘pin’ the things I see in real life to refer back to in the future!

Finally, for our evening meal we headed for the brand new Jamie Oliver restaurant in Cambridge ‘Jamie’s Italian’. It serves a simple rustic Italian menu without any faffy complicated dishses and thankfully, without an inflated pricetag! I think the prices are better than some of the comparable Italian chains, with olives at £2, garlic bread at £3 and pizzas from £8 – and not much more on the menu to be honest! The restaurant has only been open a couple of months and is the first that Jamie Oliver has opened, so it was good to try it out and see what we thought of it for ourselves.

The restaurant promotes ‘messy-eating’ so hubby and I teared up our garlic bread starter and munched on a tasty plate of olives before our yummy main meal arrived. I was worried that the portions might have been a little small – I was imagining a ‘posh’ pizza – but when it arrived I couldn’t believe the size of my margarita pizza. My husband had a ‘white rocket’ cheese pizza (no tomato sauce) and he too couldn’t finish his portion! Luckily, the restaurant was happy to pack up our pizzas in a box to take home and enjoy for supper 😉

Despite the massive portions and incredibly rich starters, we still managed to squeeze in a dessert between us and shared two scoops of ice cream (it would be rude not to at only £1.50 each!) so we had chocolate and a yummy mixed berry crumble. Funny how you always have room for pudding, eh?! I really enjoyed our meal at Jamie’s Italian and had spent less than we normally do on a standard pub-grub meal but felt like I’d had a more enjoyable (and delicious!) experience for our money. In fact, I wish this restaurant was closer to home, but that would probably be dangerous because we’d be eating out there every weekend if it was! Still, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that Jamie’s first venture into this rustic Italian pizza parlour at Cambridge will be a success and will lead to more of the same opening up around the country.

So, ready to pop and with our pizza box in tow we headed back out of Cambridge on the park and ride and set off home after a long day of food, drink, inspiration, more food and snacks – no wonder we slept well that night!

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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