The staff were lovely, all smiles and calm charm and helpful to a fault.

WE arrived a quarter of an hour early to the Cock and decided to have a drink in the bar until our table was ready. I had a local cider that I'd spied in a keg behind the bar; it turned out to be a cracking brew called 'Cromwell', a crisp, clear and refreshing pint, somewhere between an Aspall's and a scrumpy. There was also a choice of four ales, we tried the Oldershaws and the Highwayman and found them both to be very nice and well kept.

The Cock is part of a chain of restaurants that are owned by Cambscuisine, they also run the Boathouse in Ely and the excellent Cambridge, and St John's Chop Houses.

The pub itself is split into two - one room a saloon bar (all low ceilings and rustic charm), the other a well judged gastropub in a 'dog-leg' layout.

Once we moved to the restaurant, the staff were lovely, all smiles and calm charm and helpful to a fault.

The printed menu is brief but appealing and on top of that there is a chalkboard packed with fish dishes, from scallop starters to mackerel mains. A nice addition is the 'sausage menu', which promotes their homemade bangers, all of which are served with a choice of three different mashes and sauces. This is great if you want a good meal without spending a fortune, it is always on offer and good value at a tenner.

We were in the mood for a bit more choice, so we chose from the main menu. I plumped for the pheasant and black pudding faggot to start, and was treated to a great dish. It was local pheasant that had been braised in red wine until succulent and then combined with earthy black pudding to form the faggot; the sprinkling of peas on top cut through the richness very nicely. The other starter we tried was a duck parcel with sweet and sour cucumber, a less adventurous dish, but it hit the spot all the same.

For mains we had three fish dishes and one meat; the standout was my pork dish. It was a perfectly rendered piece of belly, unctuous and delicious and served with a mustardy sauce and sweet potato fondant. This was classic gastropub cooking, the sort that makes you want to come back again and again - the balance between the fatty meat and the mustard and apple was just right, leaving a clear palette, even after the decadence.

The fish dishes were also very good; the best was a 'special' of sea bass with a crayfish butter that was light, yet rich and very moreish.

By this point the delicious breads that we had been scoffing had caught up with us, so we had two puddings between the four of us (not my usual modus operandi). My sticky toffee pudding was good, without setting the world on fire; the bread and butter pudding was more successful and didn't last long at all.

So, in summary, an excellent meal and we have definitely found ourselves a local… I say local, it is three miles away, but I'll gladly walk the distance and call it local.

Bill:

4 starters

4 mains

2 puddings

1 coffee

3 rounds of bar drinks

Total: £120 including service.

4/5 STARS