On a rainy Sunday afternoon, having drunk a hefty amount of gin the night before, three girls set out into Cambridge in search of brunch, and stumbled across the quaint little restaurant of The Old Bicycle Shop.
OK so we didn’t so much stumble across it as my friend who lives in Cambridge took us there, but my version sounds better.
The other Sunday I had stayed at Helen’s house to celebrate her birthday. I had Clarke in tow, however she woke me up at some stupid hour (to which I replied with some profanities- don’t disturb my sleep, kids) and then got picked up by Papa Clarke to go and have family roast dinner. So it was Helen, Jess and me. We set off in the cold to walk into Cambridge City Centre to find The Old Bicycle Shop for brunch.
As the name suggests, The Old Bicycle Shop was an old bicycle shop in a former life- who’d have guessed?! The shop, Howe’s Cycles, was said to be the oldest bike shop in the country, having been trading for 173 years before its closure in 2013- according to The Bicycle Shop’s website, Charles Darwin is even said to have been a customer.
The restaurant certainly gives a solid nod to its previous life, not only with the name but with the decor also. As we walked in, the first thing I noticed were the decorations on the wall. Old bike saddles and handle bars, mounted on the walls to look like stag heads.
The restaurant was buzzing with a great atmosphere. The front half looks out onto Regent Street, with a bar and stalls along the window, and small tables and squashy armchairs. Venture further inside and find big wooden tables with mismatched chairs. At the back there is a huge map of Cambridge on the wall, which also shows their sister establishments, which are The Cambridge Brewhouse, The Mill, and The Punt Yard. Of these I have only tried The Brewhouse and the chicken burger was really very good. (We have established I love burgers, therefore I will judge, but I digress).
We walked in and saw 3 girls, all around 15, taking photos of their food. Fair enough, it’s a pretty standard thing these days, but 15 minutes later, they were still at it! Never seen anything like it. The youth of today *tut* 😉 Having judged them I then felt a bit silly taking photos of my food, but mine was for the blog so I’ll allow it.
We sat and perused the menu.Brunch looked amazing and it is served all day. Eggs eggs and more eggs. I was torn between Eggs Benedict and eggs with smashed avocado on toast (one of my favourite discoveries from Australia). Today I was feeling the eggs Benedict. I also thought as I had it before I could compare. I also went for a latte- clearly I am very predictable.
The food came out and it was very Instagram worthy (not 15 minutes worthy though. I mean come on, eating is the priority here, I don’t want it to be cold). The eggs came out on a piece of sourdough toast with a slice of ham and two very well poached eggs (well as in skillfully cooked, not well done and hard) and a dollop of hollandaise. It was really good, but it was a big chunk of ham. My only criticism, but I’m not a huge fan of thick ham so perhaps would have preferred a couple of smaller bits rather than one big lump, but nevertheless still extremely edible.
The coffee was good!
I would certainly recommend this place as a brunch stop, whether you’re heading into town for shopping or just mooching around on a Sunday. They have plenty of options for vegetarians and vegans as well, so all are catered for- Helen is vegetarian so went for Eggs Florentine which was Eggs Benedict, minus the ham and add spinach.
There is a main menu which, again, has plenty of options for the vegans and vegetarians. At a quick glance it looks like it would be nice food, but perhaps not my first choice to go for a meal, but I’ll give anything a whirl. I’m sure it will all be delicious as they seem to know what they’re doing when it comes to food. There is also a bar which serves craft beers, cocktails, wine and quirky soft drinks. Certainly something for all tastes.
A strong performance from The Old Bicycle Shop.