Midsummer House Restaurant
“Beautiful, confident cooking in an elegant Victorian villa” - AA Inspector
Our Inspector's view
As Midsummer House forges ahead into its third decade, Daniel Clifford's elegant, sophisticated modern British cooking continues to go from strength to strength. The comfortable Victorian villa stands with its back to the Cam and looks out on the grazing cows of Midsummer Common from the front. The sunny conservatory dining room is the perfect combination of formal and informal, smart in slate and charcoal, with starched white linen and a calm, friendly atmosphere. A window to the kitchen opens onto the cheffy action, where Clifford, along with head chef Mark Abbott and their intensely focused team, are busy constructing precise, thoughtful dishes delivered via an eight-course tasting menu and, from Wednesdays to Saturdays, a lunch menu of a mere three courses. The somewhat terse menu descriptions belie the complexity of the food, where every ingredient has been carefully considered and is beautiful to look at – this is eating elevated to its highest level. Seasonal flavours are spot on, and a meal might begin with Jerusalem artichoke and chicken consommé, enhanced with mushroom, sunflower seeds and winter truffle, before moving on to a palate-priming salad of new season onions with pear, elderberry, and onion sorbet. Things get richer with compositions like confit chicken oysters, cockles, cuttlefish and sea herbs, and you might follow that with suckling pig, the belly crisp, the cheek glazed and matched with carrot and ginger. Another winner is a perfectly balanced dish starring a superb Scottish scallop, its sweetness contrasted against stuffed leek, potato and truffle. Next up, a richly satisfying combination of Anjou pigeon, the leg given hoisin treatment, with a salad of salt-baked beetroot, walnut and blue cheese. Lemon posset might follow, teamed with olive oil cake, mint and black olive tuile, then the coriander white chocolate dome with coconut and mango and snowy jasmine rice is a delicate, exotic finale.
Facilities – at a glance
- Seats: 45
- Private dining available
- Wheelchair accessible
- Assist dogs welcome
- Days Closed: Sunday to Tuesday
- Lunch served from: 12
- Lunch served until: 1.45
- Dinner served from: 7
- Dinner served until: 9.30
- Wines under £30: 20
- Wines over £30:
- Wines by the glass: 30
- Cuisine style: Modern British
- Vegetarian menu
Also in the area
About The area
To the west of East Anglia is Cambridgeshire, a county best known as the home to the university that makes up the second half of ‘Oxbridge’ (the other half is Oxford). As well as its globally renowned educational credentials, it also has a rich natural history; much of its area is made up of reclaimed or untouched fens. These are low-lying areas which are marshy and prone to flooding. The lowest point in the UK is at Holme Fen, which is some 9 feet (2.75 metres) below sea level. Some of the fens had been drained before, but it was in the 19th and 20th centuries that wide-spread, successful drainage took place, expanding the amount of arable and inhabitable land available.
Ely Cathedral was built on an island among the swampy fens, but now sits among acres of productive farmland, albeit farmland criss-crossed by miles of flood-preventing watercourses. Oliver Cromwell was born in Ely, and his family home can still be visited. Cambridge itself is a beautiful and historic city, with any number of impressive old buildings, churches and colleges, and plenty of chances to mess about on the River Cam which gave the city its name.
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