Fancett’s is a French-inspired bistro in Cambridge. It opened in September 2021, and I’ve been about 7-8 times already. Fair to say it fills a niche that simply did not exist in Cambridge until now. It’s owned by Dan and Holly Fancett - it is their 2nd restaurant, they moved from Norfolk to Cambridge about 3 years ago.
It is located on Mill Road, the more “international” street of Cambridge, not quite in the historic center, but definitely a local favourite, still very close to the train station if you’re here on a day trip.
Lunch is where the real value lies. They do 2 courses (Entrée + Plat or Plat + Dessert) for 20£, or (Entrée + Plat + Dessert) for 25£. The dishes are less refined than for dinner, and desserts seem to be usually batch baked and presented in a more “brut” fashion than dinner options, but are delicious nonetheless. There’s 2 choices per course. Here’s a selection of dishes I’ve had for lunch and that I remembered taking pictures of.
- Venison and Pork Sausage Roll
- Orange & Juniper Cured Salmon with New Potato salad
- Smoked haddock, cod and leek fish pie gratin
- Winter “minestrone” of confit duck, pearl barley & root vegetables
Fondant au chocolat (they’re now also serving this one for dinner - quite often)
Dinner is a more refined affair. Dining for 2 tends to be about 100-150£ for an appetiser, starter, main, dessert and wine. (Was 150£ with 2 champagne glasses on top of that last week). If you don’t go for the full experience like I do, you can get away for a more reasonable price. There is a bit more choice (3-4 starters, mains and dessert) than at lunch time and no set menu.
- Roast Pumpkin & Parmesan velouté, onion brioche
- House cured smoked sea trout with beets and horseradish creme fraiche
- Endive, pear and walnut salad (I think this had cheese in it but my girlfriend asked it without)
- Baked fillet of hake with Kings Lynn shrimps and crushed potatoes
- Nage of lemon sole with mussels and turned vegetables
- Baked celeriac, kale, hazelnut and truffle dressing (This normally had a fricasse of mushrooms, my girlfriend can’t eat those so they removed it)
Desserts (my favourite part!) :
- Dark chocolate moelleux, butterscotch and malted milk ice cream
- Warm greengage plum clafoutis
- Pink Lady tarte Tatin (this is the best thing I’ve eaten there, I absolutely loved it, took a bite, it was so good that I forced myself to take a photo)
- Savarin au rhum and coconut sorbet - this was also amazing, had that last week, and absolutely loved it (I understand the massive comeback that baba au rhum made in France in the last few years)
- Rhubarb éclair (was also absolutely delicious)
As you might be able to tell from the photos, my favourite parts of eating at fancetts is the dessert. I tend to not go for their classic Moelleux or Fondant au chocolat, but go for the alternative desserts, and they’re always brilliant. I also usually really enjoy the starters, with the mains coming in last, but overall it’s a great experience there.
Holly and the staff are as friendly as they come (if you let them - you can have fairly long conversations with them). Service is adequately quick. Wine selection is a bit limited if you don’t want a bottle (I think 3 glasses of red and 3 of white), but is varied and good.
Overall, this is just a fantastic option in Cambridge, which did not exist until now. They’ve been open 8 months, and I’ve gone as many times. If I didn’t listen to my wallet I’d go every week.
There was a period around December to February where it was quite hard to book, I’d say minimum 2-3 weeks in advance for dinner same for Saturday lunch. Now it seems like it has gone a bit more quiet, we’ve managed to book a few days before. Still, booking is required as they’re pretty much full for every service maybe except Thursday (and sometimes Friday) lunch.
If you’re near Cambridge, or visiting Cambridge, go to Fancett’s. They’re open Wednesday dinner to Saturday.
I’m going again next week for lunch with a friend, will make sure to take more pictures.