Lockdown easing - 11 pubs and restaurants say welcome back

Three tasty treats on the roadmap out of lockdown

Three snapshots merging - but individually from three separate pubs and restaurant from our editor's selection. The roadmap out of lockdown is happening, at last. - Credit: Archant

It’s created heartache and misery for many and some felt they couldn’t make it through.  

We know perhaps one or maybe more of them, but for those pubs and restaurants that have survived, Monday May 17 was an important date with destiny. 

Re-opening after the latest lockdown, an innovative, entrepreneurial and motivated large number of them are there to welcome you back.  

There are guidelines still to follow, and the pandemic has a way to travel.  

But allowing customers back inside is the strongest signal so far that the sun is up – well up higher than it was yesterday!  

Many took to take-away and home-delivered food to sustain business.  

Others bought marquees and dining ‘pods’ for outdoor dining.  

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Gardens buckled under mounds of food and beers and wines served to you where you sat.  

But inside, in the comfort and familiarity of your favourite pub or restaurant, is what it’s all about.  

Here’s my random selection of some of them. 

Please feel free to look for this feature on our Facebook pages and drop in details of your local. 

Or send me an email, complete with photo and we will add as we go.  

1: Three Pickerels, Mepal 

Three Pickerels

It's beginning to look a lot like summer at The Three Pickerels. A new restaurant is on the way but for now the same, joyous experience can be had at this delightful village pub. - Credit: Archant

Massive renovations are under way ready for a new restaurant but the rest of this wonderous, country pub and restaurant is up and running  

"We are so excited to be able to welcome you all back inside eating delicious food with this amazing view by the end of summer,” is their message to customers.  

2: The Anchor, Little Downham 

Anchor, Burwell

Welcome ahoy! The Anchor at Little Downham is resuming as far normal service as possible now they too have the roadmap out of lockdown. - Credit: Archant

"Here at the Anchor, we are in this together, says the pub owners. 

“Gather your friends and share new memories over one of our glass of lovelies. We look forward to having you all.” 

An invitation to wine and dine we find irresistible.

3: Maids Head, Wicken  

Maids Head Wicken

A taste of things, again, to come? The Maids Head at Wicken is excited about welcoming back regulars and new customers. It has been innovative during lockdown but from May 17 is open both indoors and out. - Credit: Archant

Inside dining and drinking resumes next week “and we welcome back the amazingly talented Matt Howard on Friday night too,” boosts this charming country pub., 

They’ve been successful at outdoor dining, urge reservations (it gets busy) and remind customers Covid-19 regulations operate and its table service only.  

“Time to catch up with friends and family and no need to worry about what the weathers up to for a change,” they note.  

4: Red Lion, Soham  

Red Lion

Tempting indeed. One of the 'lets celebrate' images from the Red Lion at Soham as spring arrives and lockdown eases. - Credit: Archant

Extensive work has re-created a gem of a pub/restaurant at a building that dates back to the 17th century. 

In the 21st century it’s a thriving metropolis for serving rustic British and Mediterranean cuisine. 

The Red Lion also has a cosy bar where customers can enjoy an Adnam’s beer or an artisan gin from a specialist menu. 

"We strive for perfection,” say the owners. “Most of all we love to have a good time, and encourage you to do the same when you visit us.” 

5: Poets House  

Poets House, Ely

Tempting? Yes, indeed. Poets House quickly established itself in Ely and provides accommodation, excellent food, great wines and, of course, some amazing cocktails. - Credit: Archant

A charming, intimate garden, is one attraction but inside it is the service, food, wine, and hospitality that wins customers over.  

Of course, the accommodation on offer is a major attraction but the dining experience is of the highest standard. 

They like making cocktails, too, their most recent enticement of ‘blooming spring in a glass’ 

It gets its colour from crème de Violette “and a creamy boost from an egg white shaken into the mix.  

“The subtle, sweet perfume of violet is a perfect complement to herby gin. Together, they taste like the height of sophistication”. 

Maybe I’ll stick with red wine. Large, please. 

6: The Cutter, Ely 

The Cutter, Ely

The Cutter, Ely and one of three interlocking pubs and restaurants cared for by the same company. They have been hard and work during lockdown but expect and now hope for a bumper summer as the follow the roadmap out of lockdown. - Credit: Archant

Is one of three riverside offerings under the same management, as it includes the Riverside Bar and Kitchen and Red Herring.  

Outside areas have been revamped and the company has worked hard within the Covid-19 regulations to retain customer loyalty and support.  

But the river is Ely.  

And for many this is the week when life, drinking, eating and enjoying the sunshine is back.  

7: Three Kings, Haddenham  

Three Kings Haddenham

Simple, plain but beautifully cooked and presented. Its a rump burger from the kitchens of the Three Kings, Haddenham. An excellent local pub with a growing popularity. The lockdown map out of coronavirus makes this a great pub to visit. - Credit: Archant

“From Monday 17th we will be welcoming our guests back inside, which we are aware a lot of you have been patiently waiting for,” says pub owners. Something of an understatement there, we think.  

But they cautiously add a reminder that “although these are very exciting times, please remain aware of the Covid-19 risk which may be around”.  

Like the others in my list, they remind customers of the guidelines which include, still, the wearing of a face covering upon arrival and when moving around 

And they, sensibly, ask customers to “remain patient as service may not always be the quickest”.   

8: Swan on the River, Littleport  

Swan On The River

Boat Race made them well know but is their food and drink that is making its mark in the long term. A wonderful venue, with easy access and a sheer delight to visit. - Credit: Archant

Fresh from their triumph hosting the Boat Race crews, it will begin to look a lot like business as usual for this attractive riverside, destination pub/restaurant. 

They, too, have been busy re-decorating and for the aficionados they've added “new beers and lagers for you to enjoy. 

It has become increasingly popular and booking is probably best. 

9: Prince Albert, Silver Street, Ely 

Prince Albert Ely

This colourful work of art from the Prince Albert is a colourful insight into this popular pub and restaurant. It has adapted well to the lockdown but is looking forward to diners being able to eat both inside and out. - Credit: Archant

Adapt, survive and prosper could well be its motto.  

Its heated and spacious marquee has kept customers pouring in whilst indoor seating has been banned.  

Now with restrictions easing, once more the chance to savour the whole Prince Albert experience both indoors and out.  

Plenty of beer options to some enjoy with excellent cooking – and if you live or are staying in the city within reach.  

"We would recommend this venue for wholesome food in a friendly atmosphere," says on trip Advisor review.

"The flowers outside were amazing - the owners of the pub must work hard maintain the baskets and troughs. Thank you."

10 Habis, Littleport 

Habis, Littleport

One of the many memorable dishes created at Habis. It is a friendly, family run cafe and restaurant and one of East Cambridgeshire's hidden gems. - Credit: Archant

Not a pub but a small and exciting café/restaurant. 

Suffice to say that of 110 Trip Advisor reviews, 103 visitors rate it ‘excellent’. 

“Much love, see you soon! - Javier & the Habis team,” sounds the perfect invitation

11: The Lazy Otter pub and marina, Stretham.  

Lazy Otter after lockdown

Idyllic scene by the river - and a short drive away. The Lazy Otter pub and restaurant is back and they're delighted to be so. - Credit: Lazy Otter

With a new head chef and a revitalised team, it is back for the summer for this captivating pub and restaurant by the river. 

The menu has been refreshed, too, and if you get there early the tea and scones are simply amazing. 

Plenty of friendly but necessary Covid advice - including to remember there's a one way system through the front door and out the fire exit in the restaurant.

But is safe, secure and above all the perfect spot for those summer days.