The Best Brunch Spots in Cambridge
A city with an enviable cultural and historic heritage, Cambridge is also a surprisingly fashion-forward tourist town that has eagerly jumped on the relatively modern brunch trend. A meal that sits somewhere between breakfast and lunch, offering (some would argue) the best of both worlds, brunch has slowly become a staple for late risers who still want to experience breakfast food but for foodies in general who want to experience a filling and nutritious meal at any time of the day. Here, we’ll focus on some of the best restaurants in Cambridge where you can snap up a decadent brunch any day of the week.
Fitzbillies (51-52 Trumpington St CB2 1RG)
Cambridge boasts two Fitzbillies locations. The little sister shop on Bridge Street is a quaint and comfortable cafe that serves a range of coffees and cakes in a typically charming location. However, if you want to indulge in a proper brunch and experience the venue’s famous Chelsea buns, we recommend the original location on Trumpington Street, which has been a Cambridge institution for almost 100 years. Boasting the original cake shop, a 70-seater waiter service café and a separate coffee bar, Fitzbillies serves full cooked brunch with a variety of options up until 4pm every day of the week. It’s always busy and it doesn’t take bookings, so if you’re in the mood for a brunch to remember, be sure to turn up at least 30 minutes before you intend to eat, just in case.
Bread & Meat (4 Bene't Street, CB2 3QN)
An establishment as no-nonsense as its name suggests, Bread & Meat is situated in the shadow of King’s College and is passionate about serving honest, excellent food. Fine roast meats, sourdough bread, poutine, craft ales and great coffee are the order of the day and it’s all served fast and fresh. Run by a local couple since 2014, Bread & Meat was born from the concept of serving up the essence of a roast dinner in a sandwich - hence the name. As such, the succulent fare is ideal for filling the belly in those dating hours between breakfast and lunch. Everything is locally sourced and cooked from scratch with the option of a sandwich, a classic plate (bowl) or poutine (a Canadian dish served over chips with lashings of gravy).
Smokeworks (1-3 Station Road, CB1 2JB)
A big brother venue to the Free School Lane venue in the heart of the city centre, this classic BBQ brand have re-energised the derelict Great Northern pub into a steampunk joint and bar that offers perhaps the most decadent brunch in Cambridge. Everything here is cooked slow and delivered fast, which makes it perfect for brunch. They also do takeaway, so if you’re suffering from the results of a heavy night, you can pop in, pick up your succulent BBQ food and take it home to devour in shame. Also offering bespoke gluten-free and dairy-free menus, with a surprisingly deep selection of veggie and vegan fare (the buffalo aubergine particularly is an absolute delight), Smokeworks is an affordable and unique restaurant that will provide you with a brunch that will keep your belly full all day (and possibly tomorrow to boot).
Espresso Library (210 East Road, CB1 1BG)
Set up by John Gull and Malgo Dzierugo, Espresso Library opened in 2015 as a place for the couple to reflect their interests - cycling, maths, chess, coffee, art, yoga and healthy, nutritious cooking. It might seem like a tall order, but they appear to have pulled it out of the bag with Espresso Library, which is a unique multi-use hangout space focused on creating a broad and organic community of people keen to share their passions. Espresso Library is a fusion of a cycling cafe, art gallery, speciality coffee shop, restaurant and bar that perfectly plays the balance between authenticity and modernity. Espresso Library has also opened Cambridge up to a whole new way of eating brunch. With an emphasis on fresh and vibrant food, using organic and locally sourced produce wherever possible and championing plant-based options, the menu is as innovative as it is simple.
Novi (12 Regent Street, CB2 1DB)
A unique and ‘inspirational’ venue in the University district that is open from 9am to 3am seven days a week as a brunch bar in the day and a cocktail bar and restaurant at night, Novi is truly an establishment that offers something for everyone at any time. The decor is contemporary and trendy and the atmosphere is remarkably fluid, with a menu to match. The head chef at Novi has also created an extensive and nutritious brunch menu that is served until 4pm and offers a perfect balance between healthy and indulgent, plus some larger dishes to fuel you throughout the day. They make their own quinoa bread and croissants on site and have a wide variety of gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options available. From smoked tofu and roasted celery root to a full English and homemade waffles; the brunch menu a Novi is truly a sight to behold.
Stir (255 Chesterton Rd, CB4 1BG)
Is it a bakery or is it a cafe? Stir is both and proudly so. Located a short stroll from the River Cam on Chesterton Road, Stir is all about the sourdough and fermented bread, which they make themselves on-site with organic UK milled flour from Shipton Mill. It’s what they do with the bread that really makes them worth visiting though. The cakes and pastries served at Stir are truly works of art and the cafe also boasts a fresh, delicious and wholesome brunch served in a relaxed and welcoming atmosphere. Stir is not just an independent and locally owned cafe and bakery, it’s the social hub of the community and a place for people to meet, connect and recharge, but also a place for them to escape and unwind.
Brunch is a meal that means different things to different diners. So, next time you’re in Cambridge on a late morning/early afternoon and fancy something filling and nutritious, the restaurants, bakeries, cafes and bars above should offer more than enough choice to make sure you’re well fed and ready to face the day, whatever your fancy.
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