Friday, August 9, 2013

The Haymakers, Cambridge

While I'm on the subject of much improved pubs, I should mention the Haymakers. Twenty years ago I worked at Philips Telecom, and I used to eat in the Haymakers every lunchtime. The people were friendly and the food was terrific.

Unfortunately, as Philips and its fragments declined, the Haymakers did too, until it eventually became a tragic hell-hole offering pitiful 'Live Music' of the sort that you'd go a long way to avoid.

My friend Richard Naisby, eminence rouge of Milton Brewery, has recently taken over the Haymakers, gutted it, and pretty much built a new one.

The transformation is astounding. Richard's a fine brewer, but I think he might have been a world-class interior designer. Who knew that there was a vaulted timber beamed ceiling above the Haymakers' nasty old chipboard?

The whole pub has changed out of all recognition to become a beautiful quiet open space. The beer is the excellent Milton range, they sell coffee at £1/cup, and there's an solid wireless connection. Again it's just an open wifi router rather than the horrid Cloud arrangement with its irritating and intrusive log-on page.

The real point of the place, though, is the food. They're doing traditional Italian cooking, and have a traditional Italian chef to do it for them. There are huge (and superb) pizzas, and the rest of the menu feels much like a little Italian village restaurant.

Good luck to the Haymakers and to Milton Brewery in general. (The Devonshire Arms on Mill Road is also a Milton pub and is also very good. There are an awful lot of Cambridge pubs that could benefit from Richard's genius.)

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