A new year and a new city, this time myself and the OH visited Cambridge for a short weekend away from London.
We stayed at Hotel Du Vin & Bistro which we’d heard great things about and included a three course meal at the bistro. That of course was the decision that swung it for me…
We were offered a short concise, set menu and when seeing the menu I was a disappointed with the food on offer, it just didn’t sound exciting.
For starters, I ordered chicken liver parfait which was accompanied with brioche bread. The chicken liver parfait, was smooth however there wasn’t enough caramalised red onion to balance out the earthy flavour of the liver. As a plate, there was too much liver and the parfait was a similar size to the brioche. The brioche itself, was a nice touch but since there was too much liver, there wasn’t enough bread.
Balancing the taste and textures would have made the dish a lot more enjoyable.
I decided to opt for the vegetarian main course, pumpkin ravioli, as pumpkin is not an ingredient I tend to lean towards. The pumpkin worked well inside the ravioli and gave an unusual sweet yet woody taste to the dish. The downside of the entire dish was the amount of oil, there was far too much. Instead of tasting light, delicate ravioli on my palate, I had limp, wet, oily ravioli instead.
Although the starter and main course were lacking, the service was the main downfall. I wasn’t feeling too well in the evening and this was made worse by sitting in a busy restaurant waiting for over 30 minutes for our main courses, then waiting for another 15 for our plates to be cleared and for our dessert order to be taken. It was far too much for me to handle so instead we asked to have dessert in the bedroom.
We both ordered crème brûlée and were shocked at how big the dishes were. The sugar was burnt in parts making it taste bitter and the portion sizes made it far too sweet for one person to eat its entirety.
For the next night we were told we could, again, order from the set menu as it was included every evening of our stay, which was a pleasant surprise as I hadn’t realised when I booked. When looking at the menu however, it was almost identical to the evening before, bar 1 or 2 dishes. It frustrated me that the hotel couldn’t switch out the menu. We took it on the chin and decided to order from the a la carte menu and anything over £16pp would be an added cost.
We arrived earlier than the night before around 6pm and were delighted that the restaurant was a lot less busy and had a calmer atmosphere.
The OH ordered a rump stead with béarnaise sauce which was cooked medium. A huge improvement to the quality of food the evening before but still not the most tender and nowhere near as good as the steak at Hawksmoor.
I decided to go for the rack of lamb served with mint sauce. The lamb was still pink and moist however the rack itself was tiny and had more gristle than meat. The dish was average at best and didn’t have any stand out flavours.
As the evening was quiet we expected the service to be smoother compared to the night before and although the servers themselves were friendly and helpful, there were other issues. Our order took too long to be taken, food arrived out of the kitchen more than 30 minutes later and our plates took too long to be cleared.
On the whole, the food at Hotel Du Vin & Bistro was average and isn’t worth the time taken to be served. The cost of each dish on the a la carte menu, is also far too high for the quality of the food that you receive. I wouldn’t recommend the restaurant to anyone, even if you are a hotel guest as you’ll have a more enjoyable evening, elsewhere.
– Hotel Du Vin & Bistro, Cambridge