Meet the owners
Welcome to Cambridge’s newest eatery, Market House, offering friendly, one-of-a-kind dining from a host of local suppliers, a food lab and flexible meeting space. Owner Bill Brogan discusses his exciting vision for the five-floor venue…
You’ve carved out an amazing career in hospitality. When did you first discover a passion for cooking?
I actually started baking bread and biscuits for the street that I lived in back in Lincoln when I was eight years old. My mother was a chef – she worked for hotels in Lincoln as well as in the Officers’ Mess at RAF Scampton, home to The Dambusters – so she taught me how to cook when I was about five or six.
What attracted you to the former Don Pasquale premises in Market Square?
It’s an iconic building in Cambridge – it was in the same family for a very long time – and we thought it would be good to do something different within the space. On the ground floor, we’ve got a kiosk with outside seating, which sells coffee, croissants and pastries first thing, then from 11am until 5pm it serves our casual dining menu, including some lovely platters, a nice chicken Caesar salad, and a Suffolk lobster dish, as well as vegan options. Downstairs we have the basement, serving the casual menu by day, then becoming a wine bar in the evening. Upstairs is the restaurant, which seats 44 and then on the next floor we have a private dining room for up to 12 and also a food lab which is in essence a cookery school, great for corporate events. On the top floor we have a meeting room suitable for about 12 people which can be hired out.
You describe your offering as a ‘one-of-a-kind dining experience’ – can you elaborate on that?
We want people to enjoy great food in a pleasant home-from-home environment, with a big focus on top quality local suppliers. So, our coffee is locally roasted by Brew Project, we get our seafood from The Stickleback Fish Company in Hertfordshire and cheeses from The Cambridge Cheese Company, for example.
How would you describe the style of cuisine?
The food is primarily modern British but with Asian touches. So, from our starter menu, the sweet pea panna cotta, served with savoury granola is proving popular, as is the seared king scallops with cauliflower puree and bacon crumb. From the main courses, the pork belly, free-range chicken and cod dishes are bestsellers, and the favourite dessert is our chocolate delice, which comes with salted caramel, espresso ice cream and a brandy snap. I devised the menu with my consultant chef Shaun Cook, who has been my best friend for 40 years and who I’ve worked alongside in various restaurants over the years.
Sustainability is one of your core values we hear?
Yes, that is a big thing for us. A lot of our products are locally sourced and sustainable. All our cleaning chemicals are plant-based, and our toilet rolls are made from bamboo.
Having visited vineyards around the world and worked on Australia’s Katnook Estate, wines are a passion of yours, aren’t they?
Yes, absolutely – and we’ve gone out and sourced fantastic wines. Certainly, Champagne Pol Roger and Chembur are names you don’t find very often but I have established longstanding relationships with those brands. We also use local companies like Cambridge Wine and TJ Wines in St Ives. A lot of the wines are also organic, biodynamic and good for vegetarians too.
What are your hopes for Market House?
I hope the business will continue to flourish, and offer a warm, welcoming environment where the local community can come and enjoy great food, drinks and conversations with friends. I also hope we keep our brilliant staff, as we have gathered a wonderful team here.
Market House is at 12a Market Hill, Cambridge. Find out more at markethouse.co.uk
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