When thinking of places to eat in Cambridge, a hotel restaurant isn’t necessarily always the first place you think of as an option, but my goodness, you need to add The Tamburlaine Hotel to your list!
On the evening of Bank Holiday Monday last week, M and I got all smarted up, and headed into Central Cambridge for an extra special date night. We had been invited to visit The Tamburlaine for dinner, and it really was such a treat!
On arrival, the first thing that struck me was the absolutely stunning design of the hotel, particularly the beautiful book shelved nooks – I’m a proper book-lover, so those I just LOVE!
We were actually given a tour around the hotel after our dinner and it truly is stunning. The modern facilities are off-set by a comfy coffee library area (which also hosts wine-tastings and can be set aside for drinks parties such as engagement drinks or a special birthday). They have 4 large meeting rooms, which can also be opened up into one really big meeting room/conference centre too, and a really well equipped gym too if you’re one of those people who needs/wants to work out while you’re away (in case anyone was wondering, I’m not one of those people!)
We were also shown one of the rooms, and my goodness does it look cosy! The bed honestly looked like the most comfortable bed ever (I actually posted a picture on my instagram last week – so so pretty!) and the set up of the room was really well thought out . There is a well lit desk/dressing table by the big floor-to-ceiling windows and a spacious (and very instagrammable!) modern white bathroom. Needless to say, we definitely want to come back and actually stay in the hotel soon – it would be absolutely perfect for a romantic staycation!
The large dining room has an open fronted kitchen so you can see your food being prepared, which I absolutely love, as well as a gorgeous semi-circular bar with a tall and beautifully lit liquor section behind it so you can see all the different spirits available.
We were shown to our table and presented with some absolutely stunning lemony champagne cocktails in the world’s most beautiful cocktail glasses (gold rims and really tall, very thin stems) and topped with fresh edible flowers. Sometimes being a blogger is tough, but this was not one of those moments!
The menu at The Tamburlaine has a really wide selection on offer, starting with their “bites” and “little plates”, and moving on to their “Sandwiches”, “Salads”, “Burgers”, “Large Plates”, “Grill”, “From The Sea” and “Sides” – they really do have something for whatever you fancy!
We decided to share the Baked Camembert & Sourdough and a portion of the Cepe Arancini with Aged Parmesan for our starters and they were both absolutely delicious! The Camembert even came in a proper Camembert baking dish, and the Arancini was perfectly soft and gently flavoured, letting the intensity of the aged parmesan really ring through. I also really liked the serving style, with the Camembert dish on a big wooden platter with the sourdough slices, and the Arancini on a lovely blue floral patterned plate; it just felt really homely, which was the perfect feel for what we had ordered.
It was at this point that Ashley, the bar manager, came over with a bottle of Bordeaux. He had already asked our waitress, Ekaterina, what mains we had ordered and had picked a wine that would fit perfectly with these and I have to say, it was a really lovely light wine and it really did go so so well with our food – it makes such a difference when someone who knows what they re talking about picks the wine (I know a nice wine when I taste one, but I’m no sommelier!), and even more so if it is chosen to go with the food ordered.
For Mains, M ordered a Dray Aged Fillet Steak which came absolutely perfectly rare as he had asked and was such a stunning cut too – M eats a lot of red meat, and even he said it was one of the best steaks he has ever eaten! The steak came served with Confit Onion and a Red Wine Sauce too, and he ordered some Triple Cooked Chips too (because if you don’t have chips with steak, you’re missing out!) and they looked wonderfully thick and crispy!
I had the Braised Lamb Pie, which was presented so uniquely in a rectangular tin; it was almost like a deconstructed pie, with the tender and rich braised lamb shoulder in the bottom, then a layer of thin cut potatoes that were almost like crisps (really lovely texture addition!) and then topped with 3 different coloured carrots. It also came with shredded pickled red cabbage which is not something I’d normally eat but with the softness and depth of the flavours in the pie, it added a wonderful sharpness and made the whole dish come together really well – absolutely delicious!
The dessert menu at The Tamburlaine feels like a huge gear change. As they do a lot of Afternoon Tea, The Tamburlaine has their own Patisserie Chef, and my goodness can you tell! The menu has classics like Sticky Toffee Pudding and Chocolate Brownie with ice-cream, but it’s in their ‘Signature Desserts’ that they come into their own. They have four different signature desserts and we REALLY struggled making a decision.
The “Exotic Crème Brulée” with Passionfruit, Caramelised Pineapple, Mango Sorbet, Coconut Whipped Cream, Banana Tuile, Toasted Coconut Shavings, Freeze Dried Pineapple and Coriander Cress was incredibly tempting, and the “Rhubarb, Honey & Ginger” with Rhubarb Semifredo, Poached Rhubarb, Ginger and Oat Crumble, Rhubarb Gel, Ginger and Honey Madeleine, Honey Ice Cream and a Rhubarb Crisp was also difficult to decide against – I mean, seriously, how incredible do they sound?!?
In the end, after a really long time trying to choose, M went for the “Panna Cotta, Raspberry & Lycee” which was a Buttermilk Pannacotta with Fresh Lycees, Rose Meringue Sticks (which I tried and were really lightly rose flavoured and the lovely crunchy outside and soft inside that you want with meringue!), Raspberry Gel, both Fresh & Freeze Dried Raspberries and Candied Rose Petals. It looked absolutely amazing and every single element had been thought out to balance out the dish (seriously instagrammable too!)
I went for the “Chocolate, Chilli & Lime” which was a Chilli Chocolate Mousse with Roasted Pistachios, Crème Fraiche and Lime Sorbet, Dark Chocolate Soil, Lime Curd and a Chilli Chocolate & Lime Macaron and it was incredible. The sharpness of the lime and the heat of the chilli worked perfectly and each part of the plate was stunning (literally!)
The macaron was perfectly soft in the middle, the mousse was light and rich, the sorbet was fresh and really lifted the whole dish and and even the swirl of chocolate on the plate, which I assume was there for mostly decorative purposes, added a richness to the perfectly flavoured drops of lime curd peppered across the plate.
After our desserts, The Bar Manager, Ashley, toured us around the hotel and then whipped us up some Espresso Martinis, which he even put into take-away coffee cups for the trip home! I love a good espresso martini, and this was a great one!
Our whole meal was so delicious, and the chef certainly knows his was around a good bit of meat – my lamb shoulder was perfectly soft and tender, and M’s steak was cooked perfectly, but for me, the desserts and drinks were the absolute standout! I’d love to see what their afternoon tea is like; given the creativity and thought that had gone into every element of the desserts as well as the fantastic cocktails, I bet every part of the afternoon tea has been given the same level of thought by their obviously incredibly talented patisserie chef and the team.
We had a wonderful evening at The Tamburlaine Hotel and would definitely love to come back again, to stay in the hotel itself which is beautiful, to indulge in another stunning dinner, and to try out their Afternoon Tea too – We will certainly be back for more!
*We were kindly invited for dinner at The Tamburlaine Hotel so our dinner was gifted, however all opinions, as always are my own and I wouldn’t have written about it if we hadn’t had a great time!*