Callum Wainstein

When I started doing these reviews I asked around where people recommended I tried out, and almost invariably every single person mentioned Bread and Meat – it seems to hold some sort of special place as the place to eat out in central Cambridge. As such I felt it was only fitting that I gave it a visit. The interior is tasteful with a nice ambiance. However, it is a relatively small restaurant and if you go at a busy time seating can be at a premium.

"Bread and Meat is expensive, and paying upwards of eight pounds for a sandwich is a lot to ask"

If Bread and Meat was recommended by almost everyone, then the single dish which was most recommended was the Porchetta sandwich, which is comprised of their own roasted pork and a homemade salsa verde. The salsa verde is the most overpowering flavour component of the dish, in particular the flavour of mustard threatens to overwhelm the more mild porky flavour. This is a shame as the pork is a delightful combination of sweet roasted pork and the deeper herbal flavours it has been roasted with. The start of the Porchetta sandwich is the pork finds which it is served with, these provided a textural crunch and a delicious fatty sweetness to the sandwich, in particular they work well in providing a sharp contrast to the sandwich, which thanks to the absorption of the salsa verde becomes soft (in a good way). I have to say that I was disappointed by the the porchetta, I found the sandwich to be on the dry side and I’m not sure it meets the hype.

I also tried the Honey Soy Chicken sandwich. It has a spectacular texture, when biting down you are first confronted by the crunch of the outer exterior of the ciabatta, before enjoying the soft pillowy interior of the sandwich, which has soaked up their sirracha mayo, and then being confronted by the crunch of the chicken skin. From a structural/textural standpoint it is one of the great bites of Cambridge eating – providing the full range of crunchy to soft. The ciabatta bread is the perfect vehicle for soaking in the sriracha mayo, which is the star of this excellent sandwich. Standing up to this flavour is the chicken, thigh meat, which remains tender and moist – its good enough to eat on its own in my opinion. Every component of the Honey Soy Chicken is excellent on its own, and yet, the sandwich as a sum of its parts is even better. I think it’s a criminally underrated component of the restaurant, and even if you are someone who’s been to Bread and Meat before, I would strongly recommend you try it out.

Bread and Meat also serves all of their sandwiches as poutines (which for those who do not know is cheese served with gravy and cheese curds, a Canadian specialty). I tried their Philly cheese steak poutine. The dish is incredibly rich, in particular the beefy gravy which has strong flavours of black pepper. This poutine works particularly well as you get the contrast between the tender beef (which even maintains a hint of pinkness) and the crunch of the chips. The cheese isn’t the star of the show, instead playing the supporting cast to the gravy and the beef. Also providing a counterbalance in the dish is the smokey quality of the green peppers and onions. They are also served as part of Bread and Meats vegetarian option which I did not try. The poutine is also a massive portion, compared to the sandwiches on offer you are getting much better value for money.

Just as a final note, Bread and Meat has a weekly rotating special and I would definitely keep an eye out on which one is on each week. Whilst I was visiting they kindly let me try the BBQ sauce which is served with their BBQ chicken sandwich and it was brilliant, an alluring combination of smokiness and sweetness. Also great is their Chorizo special with rocket.


Mountain View

On cloud wine

Overall did Bread and Meat live up to the hype? To be honest no. This is not to say that it isn’t a great meal, but it holds this position as being ubiquitously assumed to be one of the best restaurants in Cambridge, which is a reputation I don’t think it fully deserves. Also something that has to be dealt with is the price – Bread and Meat is expensive, and paying upwards of eight pounds for a sandwich is a lot to ask. Saying all of this I still would recommend you go. It appears that visiting the restaurant is some type of Cambridge rite of passage, and basically everyone else I know loves it – so go, and decide for yourself who is right. And if you go, order the Honey Soy Chicken.