Just in

A la Colthard/Varsity Hotel Cambridge

It’s been some years since I visited Cambridge and I cannot believe how much it has changed in my absence. Perhaps it’s the digital boom as it has a thriving science park but the city seems more alive and prosperous than I remembered it last.

My memories go back to a May Ball in the early hours when a passionate freshman in every sense from Trinity nearly capsized the punt in his ardour!!!!

I had booked a suite at the Varsity Hotel in Thompson Lane near to Magdalene Bridge. Its reception seemed rather cramped but I soon discovered the action takes place on the rooftop terrace bar and its six floor restaurant.

My room had plate glass wall to ceiling windows with commanding views over the city. My only beef was the positioning of the bath in the middle of it. I have never quite got this modern feature of hotel interior design. As befits a city at the cutting edge of the techno revolution the room had a large Apple Mac desktop Computer and iPad.

I was most grateful however for the big desk on which both were situated.

The Six restaurant named as it was on the sixth floor was lively brasserie. I noticed two young couples clearly on their first date.

Body language is always interesting and one young woman dressed in a daring mini skirt caught my eye. I doubt if her companion could see the continual knocking of her knees. The evening was however going badly. I wonder how long it would till their mobiles took over.

On the next table a young man with a gleaming smile was doing better in engaging his companion.

I left before the denouement.

I ordered fried squid which was tasty enough, but in the old days you would have called it scampi, and Shepherd’s Pie with glass of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and red primitive. For pud I had a delicious apple crumble.

I saw a Brandy Alexander was on the cocktail menu.

I rather like this creamy Brandy cocktail and ended up ordering another.

The bill came To just under £80.

I recall a comment by Simon Wolfson, the chairman of Next, which is based in Leicester.

He said a few years ago you were hard-pushed to find anywhere decent to eat in Leicester but now there is a plethora of restaurants and accordingly a potential customer of Next may well prefer to spend £80 eating out than on clothes.

With the collapse of Jamie Oliver’s restaurants you might find this observation surprising taking into account too the growth in Deliveroo and Just Eats. However if Six is anything to go by dining and dating is not dead.

Daphne Colthard
About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts