The opening of Bill's Cafe and Restaurant in Cambridge has caused quite a bit of excitement amongst those of us here with a passing interest in food. Bill's is a small chain which started off with locations in Sussex and has now expanded to London, and most recently Green Street in the centre of Cambridge.
While Bill himself remains elusive, his cafes have gone for the Jamie Oliver-esque concept of also being 'stores' where you can buy Bill's jams, chutneys, and books (as well as lots of other stuff). The shelves full of interesting things cover the walls of the cafe, which means the interior looks quite relaxed and funky. And they actually manage to pull off the combo of faux driftwood wall panels with industrial ducting across the ceiling too.
Bill's do quite a wide range of cafe style food from breakfast through to dinner, and when I popped in for lunch with the Male Companion Person the other day we thought we'd try a selection of starters. I had the gazpacho, the MCP had an avocado and bacon salad, and between us we shared the mezze board and some calamari.
Both the salad and the gazpacho were very generously sized for starters. My soup had a great fresh balance of tomato, pepper and cucumber, with just a little onion kick. I suspect some might have preferred a smoother texture but I quite liked the fact that it hadn't been processed to death. This would be perfect to have on a hot and sunny summer's day, but was still pretty fine on a cloudy and overcast summer's day.
The calamari were light and crispy, as described on the menu, and the garlic mayo was particularly good as well.
The mezze board came with lots of little bowls of vegetarian goodness, including an outstanding red pepper hummous with pumpkin seeds, which (I think) was spiced with some cumin as well. The baba ganoush didn't really taste of smokey aubergine though. The strongest flavour was that of citrus, but it was still very tasty. As were the other bowls of roast vegetables, olives and guacamole.
What was particularly impressive, apart from the quality of the food, was the very reasonable pricing. We had a lot of food for two people, but all of the above along with some non-alcoholic drinks, cost just over £31.00 (including service).
So good food, nice atmosphere, reasonable prices- there's very little not to like about Bill's. I'd recommend going before the rest of Cambridge finds out about it.
Bill's Cafe, Restaurant and Store
34-35 Green Street
Cambridge CB2 3JX