A delicious piece of Alsace has come to Cambridge ….. to discover Amelie Flammekueche, head to The Grafton Centre, follow the signs to Food Social, look up for the yellow Citroen van and prepare to treat your tastebuds!
Amelie Flammekueche is truly a family affair with Regis Crepy (formerly chef patron of The Great House in Lavenham) in the kitchen, son Alex taking care of the business side of things, Alex’s mother Martine overseeing social media and his sister Amelie, after whom the restaurant is named, working on branding plus the look and design of the restaurant.
And I really like her concept. It’s simple and minimal with yellow and white furniture and zinc tables. Then there’s that Citroen H van which Alex tells me came up the escalator in six extremely heavy pieces and which operates as the bar and drinks station as well as the order point for “grab and go” take out orders.
Alex and Regis discovered flammekueche (pronounced flamm-koosh) in 2012 at a restaurant in Alsace. They loved the idea of bringing it to the UK, of revisiting it and adapting it to bring a simple, reasonably priced, high quality product to a modern market. Alex grew up in his parents’ Suffolk restaurants and father and son have always harboured a dream of working together. After graduating from Ecole Hoteliere de Lausanne in Switzerland, Alex worked with Gaucho restaurants in London for three years, becoming one of its youngest managing partners and gaining valuable experience which he now brings to this new venture.
Centuries ago, bakers in Alsace would use a thin stretched piece of lightly leavened dough to test the temperature of their ovens. Today, Amelie serves this light, crisp “fire bread” with sweet and savoury toppings. I went for “Authentic” with creme fraiche, sliced onions, smoked bacon and Gruyere cheese, which was molten-cheese-savoury heaven! Johnny ordered “Beetroot and Pear”, a vegetarian option with creme fraiche, sliced onions, beetroot, goat cheese, spinach, poached pear and honey. He loved the earthy, slightly sweet flavours alongside the tang of the goat cheese. He can’t eat onions which wasn’t a problem as each flammekueche is freshly made to order so the chef simply left the onions off.
We couldn’t resist sharing a “Red Berries” sweet flammekueche for dessert. It came studded with raspberries, strawberries and blueberries, topped off with chocolate sauce, ice cream and torn mint leaves. If reading these words is making you hungry (and I’ve had to have a snack in the middle of writing this piece!), I’ll just tell you that as well as the flammekueche main event, there’s a range of starters and puddings plus a children’s menu and a drinks menu which includes a signature beer, Amelie Golden Ale, from Nethergate Brewery in Suffolk.
Alex is delighted to open Amelie Flammekueche in the newly renovated Grafton Centre with its cosmopolitan feel and its busy footfall. And it’s wonderful to see an indie restaurant opening there, bringing a fresh and exciting vibe to the first floor Food Social area. We’ll be back soon ….. there’s a menu to work through and I’ve got my eye on the “Pulled Pork” flammekueche. Regis tells me the pork is cooked low and slow for at least 24 hours …..
The Grafton Centre, Cambridge CB1 1PS