Food & Drink: Bites AROUND CAMBRIDGE

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The Independent Culture
Queens Head, Newton, Cambridgeshire (01223 870436). Daily lunch and dinner. Call it basic, or beautifully simple, the food at this untitivated pub with beams inside is the best of its type, even if it doesn't constitute three courses. Home-made soup in a mug, roast beef sandwiches - each for pounds 2.10. In the evening there are plates of beef or smoked salmon. Drink Adnams indoors or out on the green opposite.

The Rectory Restaurant, Wimpole Hall Estate, Arrington, near Royston, Cambridgeshire (01223 208670). Tue-Thur, Sat, Sun & Bank Holiday Monday 11am-5.30pm. Open all year, and you don't have to pay admission to National Trust Wimpole Hall to reach it. Self-service restaurant with limited, Victorian-style menu justified by the fact that vegetables are grown in the walled garden, meat - for boil'd smoked gammon a la Mrs Beeton and raised pies - comes from the rare breeds farm, the bread is baked there, even walnuts for the date-and-walnut cake come from the grounds.

Sala Thong, 35 Newnham Road, Cambridge (01223 323178). Tue-Sun lunch and dinner. Between central Cambridge and Newnham, this 10-year-old Thai restaurant is celebrating its first decade with a reasonably long menu of surefire choices, but not the hottest or strongest North- eastern specialities. Regulars often go straight for the set menus for pounds 11, pounds 13 or pounds 15 which change weekly.

Three Blackbirds, Woodditton, Cambridgeshire (01638 730811). Daily lunch and dinner. New chef-landlord Paul Lange is building on the thatched pub's reputation, without ousting regulars from the public bar. Book into the dining room for an ambitious menu mixing classical terms and modern ingredients - parfait, coulis, tempura batter - to wide-ranging effect. Around pounds 20 for three courses.

Three Horseshoes, High Street, Madingley, Cambridgeshire (01954 210221). Daily lunch and dinner. A highly-evolved pub, it is widely known for bringing modishly eclectic food to the area. Take your pick from tian of crab with sweetcorn and frisee salad, or corn puree with maple syrup just for starters; Thai pesto-roasted lamb with soba noodles and bok-choi, or pan-fried bream with artichoke and white bean puree. Around pounds 22 for three courses. The wine list is well arranged and cosmopolitan, too.