Jude Clarke from Cambridge News visited Bill’s…
It was the mid-point of a busy Saturday of culture: post one concert at West Road with the grandkids and pre another one at the Corn Exchange, and we needed FUEL (too much culture can be a bit exhausting: it was time for a little break).
Passing, and rejecting, several places in the centre of Cambridge that looked rather too packed out with other diners taking an early evening pitstop, we pitched up at Bill’s on Green Street – also very buzzy and busy with that after-shopping/before-pubbing crowd, but large enough (its premises are MASSIVE) to easily accommodate our table-for-two request.
Unlike the restaurant, the menu itself isn’t huge, but it is well planned, I think, with several enticing prospects for a vegetarian (me), and loads of fresh, healthy, rather original-sounding dishes listed, perhaps more than you might expect from a chain restaurant of its ilk.
I’m not the world’s greatest beetroot fan, but I’m trying to get there: in recent years it seems to have come back into fashion, so I don’t want to feel like I’m missing out.
I opted, on this basis, for the Beetroot, Potato and Cheese Tart starter, and was rewarded with a vibrant plateful (in colour and taste) that might just have started to convert me.
My husband Nick went ‘old school’, picking a Prawn Cocktail (“I don’t remember the last time I had one of these,” he said. I’m going to guess at the 1980s).
It also went down well, particularly the delicious olive-oil soaked toast that was served to accompany it – like a more substantial melba toast.
For mains, I’m afraid, we both opted out from some of the more original menu offerings (South Indian Fish Curry, Seasonal Allotment Salad, Roasted Aubergine and Chickpea Dhal with Chilli) and went for good old burgers.
We love a burger, me and my fella.
Nick went for the standard Bill’s Hamburger, adding extra cheese and guacamole, while I chose (of course) the vegetarian option, the Halloumi and Hummus Brioche Bun, opting for added chickpea and parsley falafel plus, once more, the guacamole (we also both love a guac).
Nick professed himself more than contented with his burger, the only less-than-positive observation being that the guacamole was a little on the bland side. Having sampled it with my dish too I had to agree.
A minor complaint, but it could have done with a bit more pep in the form of garlic or chilli, say.
Otherwise, my main course was tasty, if a little dry. Perhaps the fault of the added falafel, I felt that it just could have done with something more moist along with the roasted red peppers already provided to make the arid (but nonetheless yummy – best cheese ever?) halloumi go down a bit more smoothly.
Desserts were genuinely a bit ‘we’re just being greedy now’ after the substantial nature of the previous two courses but deciding we needed the sugar rush to see us through to the evening, we both went for it.
My first choice – an intriguing-sounding Lemon Meringue Pie Cheesecake in a Glass (!) – was sold out, so I went for a more conventional offering in the form of Apple, Salted Caramel and Walnut Crumble, which was delicious, although if it hadn’t been listed as such I don’t honestly think I’d have spotted the salted caramel in the crumble topping.
Nick’s three scoops of ice-cream were good, too, and served with the flourish of a hefty Bill’s-branded waffle.
Service was efficient and friendly throughout, and we set off again out into the evening armed with full-verging-on-overfull stomachs and a fresh burst of energy, ready to take on more of the cultural delights of Cambridge.