Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Sea Tree - Cambridge, England

In planning for our visit to Cambridge, England, during a layover on our way to Cape Town, I had several restaurants picked out for us to potentially visit. Judy's niece, who lives in London, met us at Heathrow and joined us on our drive to Cambridge. As we drove, I was informed they were hungry and wanted to get something to eat. Of the restaurants I'd scouted out, fish and chips sounded really good, so I had Judy put The Sea Tree address in her Google Maps. Unfortunately, Cambridge has very small and windy streets and is very crowded. It also has a large parking problem. So it seemed like it took us forever. Ultimately, with parking problems at other sites in Cambridge and bad traffic, the main event of our visit to Cambridge was lunch. But it was a good lunch. 

The Sea Tree was one of many businesses set side-by-side in old buildings along a busy street: the commercial equivalent of council houses with common walls. It had a small glass case inside the front door with a few types of fish and a several tables in a relatively small space inside. 

Judy, with our niece, Lisa. 
I ordered what had drawn me to it: Cod fish and chips, along with "mushy marrow fat peas," pickled onion and some oysters on the half-shell. 

The oysters were in deeply cupped shells which were cavernous compared to the small oysters and their oyster liquor resting in the bottom. I like cocktail sauce with my oysters, which includes horseradish. What they provided was Tabasco sauce. Not tempted, I had mine straight and they were nice, salty and good. 
We got two pickled onions and no one else had any interest in them. They were vintage English, large and very vinegary. I enjoyed both. 
Marrow fat mushy peas are not mushy peas with added marrow fat, unfortunately. Marrow fat peas are mature green peas that are allowed to dry out in the field, rather than harvested when young. While mushy peas using young peas are boiled for three minutes, then blended with cream, butter salt and pepper; mushy peas using marrow fat peas are covered in boiling water and soaked for 12 hours, then simmered for 20 minutes until mushy. The difference in preparation accounts for why I felt these mushy peas were a little cold, not as mushy as I'd recalled, and virtually tasteless (no added cream or butter). Very little of them got eaten. 
The chips, or french fries, were very large and cooked crispy golden. I don't generally like real large fries, particularly with fish, but these were pretty good. 
The cod, on the outside, did not look particularly good, but it was some of the best deep-fried fish I've ever eaten. The fish was still very, very moist and juicy. I would take a bite and just luxuriate in the hot, salty, crunchy moistness. The fish was worth the drive. 
Judy got a fisherman's pie which had white and smoked fish, prawns, egg, white sauce, mashed potato and cheddar cheese. She gave me a couple of bites and it also was worth the drive. I don't think I've ever eaten anything quite like it. I would love to try some more. 
Our niece got sauteed tiger prawns that had garlic, chili, and spring onion. I did not try them, but I would not have traded the cod and chips or the fisherman's pie for it. 
It was a meal I will remember.   

1 comment:

  1. Yes, my pie was definitely in the "A" range. Don't forget that this yummy lunch was followed up with delicious ice cream during our walk around campus.