I strongly believe one of life’s greatest pleasures is a mini-break in the Great British Countryside. So when the lovely folk from Hotel du Vin offered up an extremely generous trip to their outpost in Cambridge, I had one foot on the train before they’d even hung up. My haste was pretty judicious – what followed was a weekend of being thoroughly spoiled…
The cosy lounge – the perfect place to curl up with the paper. They did afternoon teas in here, too.
All the snugs (of which there are many to get lost in) are named after different colleges in Cambridge. The hotel itself actually used to belong to the University – it’s 5 Georgian townhouses knocked through to create one big, warren-like property.
I loved the wine glass chandelier!
Oysters down the road for lunch…
I’m a sucker for the small touches – I loved that our bedroom had a selection of new magazines in it, as well as Egyptian cotton sheets, a roll-top bath and a Nespresso machine which I proceeded to systematically drain of all pods.
Dinner caught me by surprise. I thought it would be nice but I wasn’t prepared for genuinely one of the most fabulous meals I’ve ever had, hands down. The Boy started with smoked eel, truffle potato salad and quails egg – paired with a 2009 Chablis Domaine Bernard Defaix.
I went for seared scallops, black pudding and cauliflower puree, washed down with a 2007 Chateau Bela. Given that we’d already had a cocktail at the bar beforehand, yes, I was already drunk. I like to think this only helped me enjoy the experience even more.
This mouthwatering image was The Boy’s roast partridge, bread sauce and game chips. He had not one but TWO glasses of wine with this (which makes any subsequent in-focus photographs he took all the more impressive) – a 2008 Chateau Bauduc ‘Clos des Quinzes’ and a 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape ‘Signature’ Domaine Barroche. I feel at this point like I should credit our amazing, incredibly knowledgable sommelier, who was also a lovely guy to boot!
I had wild duck with berry compote and the most delicious rosti potato ever. And honey-roast veg which, happily, tasted more like they’d been drenched in maple syrup. I drank an accompanying 2008 Pinot Noir Mt Beautiful.
The alcohol continued with a champagne sorbet cocktail, courtesy of the chef…
*falls off chair*
Dessert was Vanilla Panacotta with roasted figs and honey. Shared. Please, we’re not animals. Let’s just say by this time it was a very good thing indeed that we were eating in the same place we were sleeping. The drinks continued to flow… a 2005 Tokaiji Aszu 5 Puttonyos Chateau Deresla and a 2005 Vin de Constance Klein Constantia.
Then came the cheese….
I then had to be air-lifted to my room.
But don’t worry, it was soon breakfast time!
Croissants, kippers and the Sunday papers. Perfection.
If, like me, you fancy empirically testing how much food/alcohol your stomach can physically stretch to, and also would like a night in a fancy room afterwards, you can book at www.hotelduvin.com/hotels/cambridge
Thankyou to all the wonderful staff for making us feel like royalty! We’ll be back.