I have a small confession to make. I love d’Arrys. That may not sound like the most objective opening for a restaurant review, but I have eaten there a number of times and have always been impressed. When I lived in Cambridge, d’Arrys was my restaurant of choice for special occasions. Now that I’m confined to occasional visits, I always try to fit in a meal there if I can.
This time, my dining partner and I had tickets to the Footlights at the ADC. Pre-theatre on a Saturday evening with no reservation, we were lucky there was a free table. The place was bustling and the atmosphere was lively. The service was friendly, and our waitress was happy to answer my obscure questions about the wine list despite being so busy. I am a particular fan of d’Arrys’ wine list. The more good wines a place serves by the carafe, the better as far as I’m concerned. We opted for The Stump Jump Red, a velvety blend of Grenache, Shiraz and Mourvedre with plenty of red fruits, which complemented our food beautifully.
Ah, the food. I started with a delicious roasted red pepper and goat’s cheese salad, with sun blushed tomatoes, mixed leaves, red onions, garlic croutons and a balsamic dressing – for a starter, it was a very generous portion. The sweetness of the red pepper and sun blush tomatoes married beautifully with the slightly acrid tasting goat’s cheese, with the bite of the onion and the peppery rocket providing a wonderful contrasting but complementary flavour. My dining partner’s starter of steak tartare looked amazing (as you can see from the photo) and it must have tasted equally fantastic as he polished it off, almost to the point of licking the plate clean!
For main, we both chose the fillet burger, served on ciabatta with Roquefort and bacon and a rocket salad with roasted peppers, and chunky hand cut chips. The ciabatta was light and fluffy, and the burger itself was served perfectly – cooked to our specification (medium) and incredibly succulent. There’s nothing quite like a burger made of real fillet steak. The saltiness of the bacon and the pungency of the Roquefort cut through the richness of the beef, though if I had to criticise anything at all, I would venture that the power of the Roquefort might have been just a tad too strong. Still, it was easy enough for me to adjust the meal to my taste by leaving a little of it aside – and there is an option to have the burger with cheddar if you’re really not a blue cheese fan. The chunky chips were perfectly crisp, served skin on and lightly seasoned with paprika. I hadn’t noticed when reading the menu, but the salad of rocket with roasted peppers was actually the same salad I had as a starter, only minus the sun blushed tomatoes, goat’s cheese and croutons. Once again, it was very tasty, but I admit to not quite being able to finish it having had my fill of salad earlier on.
Alas, after all that we were rather too full for dessert, though I was very tempted by such delectable sounding concoctions as grapefruit and orange sorbet drizzled in Noble Prankster (dessert wine), or toffee and dark chocolate brulée with Baileys cream and roasted nut biscotti. Oh well, there’s always next time. All in all, a very big four and a half Forks-Up.d’Arrys Cookhouse and Wine Shop 2-4 King Street Cambridge CB1 1LN 01223 505 015