Continuing the foodie series I started not long ago with my Top 5 afforadble places to eat in Cambridge, this time I venture in unknown territory thanks to a collaboration. There is nothing I like more than discovering new gems in my adoptive city, and when the idea behind them is a family business with lots of potential offering good food, well you don’t need to ask me twice 😉
Now, getting down to the serious stuff, I think it’s only fair I call things by their real name, and that probably means not calling something that is not a pizza a “pizza”.
However, allow me this gastronomic license, for I think the image of a pizza is a close approximation for those of you who have never tried Flammekueche before, that hopefully might entice you to actually try this new restaurant in town called Amélie, where they serve authentic Alsacian Flammekueche with a twist.
Read on to know more about our experience at this lovely place on top of The Grafton center.
SO… WHAT IS FLAMMEKUECHE?
Flammekueche is a French dish, typical from the eastern region of Alsace, in the border with Germany and Switzerland. It is similar to a rectangular pizza cooked in a wood-fire oven with fresh toppings. However, there are essential differences with the Italian dish we’ve all grown so fond of.
Flammekueche or tarte flambée is made with unleavened dough, meaning no yeast is used in the process, making this dish light and fuss-free, particularly when prepared at home.
The dough is very thin and crunchy, and traditional toppings include crème fraîche or sour cream, thinly sliced onions, lardons and mushrooms. You can also add cheese for extra yumminess, although it’s not mandatory (said no-one ever)!
AMÉLIE’S UNIQUE VISION
Amélie is the dream of a father and a son with a passion for cooking. Regis is a very seasoned chef with more than 30 years of experience and several awards under his belt. Alex is the managing brain behind the business, and he works hand in hand with his father in what has become a busy restaurant in Cambridge.
Amélie is the name of Regis’ daughter (Alex’s sister), a beautiful way of showing their family identity and the joint effort put into making this dream a reality.
Their menu reflects a modern take on a very traditional dish, using fresh and colourful ingredients: spinach & pear, pulled pork & courgettes, salmon & mozzarella… these are some of the Flammekueche you can find in their regular menu, with some special treats on offer during the Christmas season. Their starters have a heavy Mediterranean influence with nods to the most traditional French cuisine (hello fondue!) and some lesser known Italian recipes.
The restaurant is located on top of The Grafton Center, opposite the VUE cinema, and the decoration is a mix between street-food vibes, industrial touches and homey feels. The perfect place to grab a bite with the family after a busy shopping morning, but if you are not feeling like sitting down, they also prepare your food to take away!
OUR EXPERIENCE AT AMÉLIE – AKA THE FOOD
When Claire (my sidekick for the day and blogging gal at Claire Durrant) and I arrived at Amélie, we were greeted by Alex, while Regis was handling a busy fire oven in the open kitchen you can see at the back of the restaurant. Once we were sat at our table, it was time to choose our food.
I won’t lie to you, glamistas, we had a hard time picking our starters, for all of them looked delicious and we came with an empty stomach, but here’s what we ended up having…
HUMMUS, ROAST AUBERGINE AND CHEESE FONDUE
A mix of Mediterranean flavours and French cheese that came in the form of plentiful portions for two!
I loved the soft texture of the hummus and the fact that it comes with their Flammekueche flatbread on the side 🙂 The aubergine was my least favourite starter as I somehow overlooked a key ingredient in the list that doesn’t sit well with me, capers, but to be completely honest I had no much room left for it after eating half of the fondue – sorry Claire! 😛 This starter was a gorgeous treat for cheese lovers: rich, creamy and with a punch, a delicate balance between its three main ingreditents: Gruyere, Emmental and Cheddar.
Now on to the mains!
All the tartes flambées sounded delicious, but a girl has to make some hard decisions in life, and that pulled pork number was calling my name.
Claire tried the beetroot & pear Falmmekueche, with colourful beetroot dices and goat’s cheese in it. Yumm!!
THE SWEET STUFF
I have to say by this point we were already more than full. Even though the Flammekueche feel lighter than a pizza, the toppings are generous and those starters had done their trick on us. But, that is not to say we didn’t call upon our special stomach to make room for desserts!
We couldn’t leave Amélie without trying one of their sweet tartes flambées. The theme seemed to be “pear” that day, for even though we drooled over their red berry Flammekueche, we couldn’t resist the temptation of trying their pear & Nutella Flammekueche. Judge by yourselves…
We had a fabulous time at Amélie and we would totally recommend a visit to try their special take on this traditional Alsacian dish.
Have you heard of this place in Cambridge, glamistas?