Review: Pint Shop

Julia Stanyard 12 February 2015

Lunch? Dinner? Drinks? Pint Shop, tucked away at the end of Cambridge’s Bene’t Street, ticks all of these boxes. There is something for everyone here, from the relaxed beer garden outside, to the casual bar at the front priding itself on its signature craft beer, and the restaurant at the back serving rustic yet sophisticated takes on classic British staples. The establishment takes its inspiration from the Beer Houses of the 1830s, but rather than offering just a simple pint, you can get something tasty and filling here too.

The interior is simplistic: the leather benches, hanging lamps and minimalistic wooden furnishings create the atmosphere of a converted barn in the country. Inside the restaurant, the menu is extensive but not overwhelming, focusing mainly on meat dishes, either served as sandwiches or with sides. The garlic chicken and plum ketchup sandwich is divine: the chicken arrives dripping in a buttery garlic sauce, set between two pillowy-soft brioche slices. The triple cooked spuds are also delicious, and come smothered in truffle cheese sauce battered to perfection; one bite gives a satisfying crunch on the outside, followed by a mouthful of buttery soft potato. The fish finger bun wasn’t as impressive as the rest of the dishes, but the kitchen staff more than redeemed themselves, offering us free dessert as an apology: a delectably crispy tarte tartin, its apples beautifully caramelized. For Sunday lunch Pint Shop also offers a range of roasts served with all the trimmings, and followed by an indulgent toffee apple crumble.

Although it is a fairly large restaurant, comprising of the bar at the front, the restaurant at the back, and yet more tables upstairs, we never felt neglected by the staff, who enjoy offering their own opinions on the menu. Pint Shop’s ability to preserve the sophistication of a proper restaurant, whilst also maintaining its homely appeal makes it both a casual location come lunchtime, and also appropriate for a more intimate setting in the evening, something which is reflected in its pricing (sandwiches are around £7, and if you order large dishes with sides, the price could rise to around £20). However, the bar is always open for a quick drink and snacks (scotch eggs or beef dripping toast, anyone?), and it is precisely Pint Shop’s fantastic chameleon-like quality to provide the perfect setting whatever the occasion that makes it one of my favourite spots in Cambridge.