The Cambridge Chop House, established in 2007, is a household name loved for its steaks and real ale. Not so much for its coffee. However, the restaurant may be about to experience a renaissance of sorts; it has recently reopened after renovation, and now serves coffee and fresh pastries from morning until midday, providing the ideal spot to enjoy a latte and people-watch over the King’s Parade.
The cafe has yet to garner much attention, and lacks the buzz of its neighbouring competitors. However, the interior’s shiny metal furnishings, plush lounge seats and floor-to-ceiling windows give it the atmosphere of a sophisticated brasserie rather than your average coffee shop.
The coffee is a blend of Colombian and Brazilian Fairtrade beans, which the website claims ‘gives us a milder, less bitter flavor profile.’ Fresh croissants, Danish pastries, and a limited selection of miniature French-style cakes are also available. For tea-lovers, there is also a wide selection of loose leaf options supplied by Brew House Teas, including a powerful ‘Fruit Punch’ flavour. My latte was served in a sleek glass and had subtle but deep warmth, whilst the chocolate pastry twist was simultaneously flaky and oozed bittersweet chocolate all at once.
Although The Chop House may not have the rustic charm and as wide a selection of cakes as your independent coffee shop, its prime location on the King’s Parade makes it a convenient excuse to wind down for a coffee, particularly if you are after a chicer experience than usual: the quiet ambience provides a recluse from the bustling tourist swamp outside. However, it is clear that the Chop House’s real forte is still in its signature steaks: in the evening tables are always in demand, and the labyrinthine tunnels downstairs provide an exciting atmosphere for hearty eaters. In contrast, the coffee shop upstairs is filled with natural light, and has the character of a French brasserie. Although it still lacks the ‘oomph’ factor, if given time it has the potential to become equally as popular during the day as in the evening: the coffee prices are reasonable, and it offers a relaxing haven in the heart of the city. If there is one thing for certain, the coffee shop at The Cambridge Chop House is bringing a bit of class to Cambridge.