CAMBRIDGE — Touted as the city’s oldest pub along the River Cam, Fort St. George is the perfect place for a day or night out in Cambridge.
Nestled just off Midsummer’s Common, with views of the park and the water, Fort St. George is a prime spot to laze away a Sunday afternoon or to grab dinner with friends after work.
The decidedly British menu features simple and delicious classics such as steak and ale pie and fish and chips for main courses, chicken liver pate and mussels in garlic butter for starters and lemon sponge cake with blueberry sauce and a cheese plate for dessert. There is also an array of sandwiches, from ham and cheddar to goat cheese and roasted red pepper, all served on thick granary bread.
On a recent visit, the pork belly on the daily specials board was the way to go. The meat was tender with a crispy skin and came with a baked apple, mashed potatoes, red cabbage and a balsamic onion gravy. The combination was scrumptious and the dish certainly won out over the rather dry roast beef and lamb dinners my dining companions ordered.
Breaded white fish, the appetizer on the specials board that day, was also a hit. The taste of the fish was still detectable through the breading and frying process — not an easy feat. Not so good was the chicken liver pate, which was rather bland and just not that tasty.
The first visit with friends for a Sunday afternoon lunch was filled with good times, though the food took ages to get to the table. Then half the table was served while the others sat waiting and drooling for a good 10 minutes before their food arrived. The second visit saw an improvement in service, though the staff was friendly and helpful in both instances.
Compared to other pubs, Fort St. George has a fairly limited selection of ales though its wine list boasts eight reds and whites, all offered by the glass. Pub purists may contend Fort St. George is less a traditional watering hole because of this, though most American patrons would not necessarily be as discerning.
With tufted leather banquettes, well-worn wooden tables and exposed beams overhead, the pub is a warren of cozy alcoves and just as inviting whether it’s hot or cold outside.
During the winter, Fort St. George’s fireplaces are a reprieve from the cold, a place to relax and thaw out. By summer, the back terrace opens up and Fort St. George becomes an epicenter of barbecue, with outdoor torches and blankets for when the summer sun sets.
So, whether you fancy watching the rowers power by on the river, or prefer checking out the cows grazing in the green, Fort St. George is the ideal location for it all. And the food isn’t bad either.