When a nondescript, grey-coloured establishment opened on Cambridge’s Bene’t Street in October after weeks of renovation, no one batted an eyelid. At first glance, Bread & Meat looks like something copied and pasted from the streets of London’s Soho district: the trendy establishment is all wooden tables, metal stools and hanging lamps, the only embellishments are the retro tin cans filled with cutlery and the artisan sandwiches served on tin trays. Yet rather than another mediocre initiative that fails to satisfy, the venture is an offering that is shaking up the Cambridge food scene and threatening to strip away its ‘clone city’ label.
The menu is Spartan: aside from the signature porchetta sandwich, other sandwich options rotate weekly, including roast topside of beef, honey soy chicken, and roast vegetables. The only sides available are wedges and slaw, while breakfast options are limited to sourdough toast and a simplified fry-up. But to be perfectly honest the only thing you will need to eat here is the signature sandwich, which is filling enough to mean that – however tempting their homemade brownies and sticky toffee sponge look – I have never tried them.
The porchetta sandwich arrives in minutes and is, frankly, to die for. Succulent slices of roast pork are balanced against crispy scraps of crackling, set off by a smear of pesto, all bundled up inside a chewy ciabatta roll. With each bite, the full flavor of the tender pork hits the tongue, complimented by the tangy salsa verde. I was left comfortably satisfied with my meal, and already itching to plan my next visit.
I cannot fault Bread & Meat. The staff are friendly and efficient, and friends that I have brought here are immediate converts. Couples and single diners alike flock here on the weekends, but tables are readily available; the constant turnover means that it is not the kind of place to linger. It is very much an ‘eat, then leave’ sort of set-up. The ethos is about simple but tasty sandwiches done right: the website states, "We are passionate about serving honest, excellent food." That said, it’s not cheap – £7 for the signature sandwich, but boy, is it worth every single penny.
Bread and Meat, 4 Bene’t Street