The Three Horseshoes is a picturesque thatched inn with a small, bustling bar and a pretty conservatory-restaurant overlooking a large garden. Inside,
the lively atmosphere is given a cosmopolitan edge by the nature of
its guests drawn from the important tourist and business centre that is Cambridge.
The Chef-owner for the past twenty five years is Richard Stokes. His modern Italian menus are imaginative without being outrageous, seasonal and change weekly.
–Up coming events
The Independent Review
This review from Amol Rajan of The Independent took us completely by surprise and it is so great to see that there are those who enjoy our pub as much as we enjoy having you here. For those of you who do not read The Independent there are some snippets of the review below, as well as the link to the online version.
Across all nations and centuries, the essential ingredients of a wonderful restaurant form an enduring trinity: delicious food, affordable prices and a lovely setting. I’m not sure I’ve been to any place in England that more effectively combines these criteria than the Three Horseshoes in Madingley. Let’s take them in reverse order.
A 20-minute cycle ride west of Cambridge, Madingley is a small, tranquil village distinguished by the presence of Madingley Hall, where the future King Edward VII rented a room while an undergraduate at the university. Today, the hall is a conference centre and home to the university’s Institute of Continuing Education.
The Three Horseshoes is a thatched building which was once the village pub. For two decades, the chef-proprietor has been Richard Stokes, an alumni of the River Café in London. He kept the bar in the front, raised the quality of the upholstery, and converted the conservatory into a spacious and well-lit dining-room. What he also appears to have done is taken a solemn vow to keep his prices down and his standards up.
Even the drinks are relatively cheap: classy cocktails for a fiver, a Tom Collins for £4.50, and plenty of good wines at £5.50 for a large glass. But the best value is in the food. On one side of the menu is a fuller list with snacks, small plates, mains, cheese, dessert, dessert wine and hot drinks; on the other side is a bar menu with the same categories but an altogether different selection.
That’s as nothing, though, compared with the hand-rolled agnolotti (ravioli, basically) stuffed with Swiss chard and ricotta, new season’s olive oil, Parmesan and fried sage – £8 for a small plate and £12 for a large one. I’ve gone for the small one and regret it on first bite: this is as close to perfection in a plate as I’ve had for a long time. The sage is elegantly presented, the pasta couldn’t be cooked better, and the chard and ricotta make a deliriously happy union inside it.
There are marvellous cheeses to follow, however (three for £10, five for £14), and, on the dessert menu, a spot of gold: I would think it worth coming to this part of the world just for the passion fruit “snow egg” with coconut marshmallow, white chocolate and vanilla custard, and passion-fruit granita (£8). Other than the snow egg, which is a poached meringue, I can’t really begin to do justice to the rest of this dish, so would encourage you to scrap your plans for next weekend and head to Madingley to order it at the earliest available opportunity.
We leave extremely full and satisfied, having had two drinks each, and a bill that’s come to £123. If you’re not stuffing yourself for the benefit of readers, I think you could probably do it for a ton.
It’s not perfect – that wasabi didn’t pack a punch, and the cod was a little flat – but at this price, for this food, in a location as gorgeous as Madingley, I should think this easily one of the best restaurants in England today.