It’s no secret that I have been living a love affair with my adoptive city ever since I set my eyes on it all those years ago –almost 6 to be precise! If you follow me on social media, you might be bored of seeing the quaint little corners of Cambridge, the rainbow-coloured houses adorning its streets and the ever-present Cam river cruised by an equal number of animals and boats. Despite it having the feeling of a small town, there is something magical about Cambridge that, no matter how far away we travel, makes us want to come back every time…
And as it’s only natural, ever since I started the blog, I have wanted to show you guys what if feels like to live in one of the prettiest cities of England, so when Pippa from Clashing Time invited me to an event which celebrated the reopening of one of Cambridge’s most iconic buildings after years of renovation work, well… let’s say I had to resist the urge to send her the dancing “YASSSSS” GIF on Instagram 🙂
The place we were so lucky to be invited to discover was the University Arms on Regent Street, the oldest hotel in town. After a 4 year revamp project, this gorgeous hotel reopened its doors to the public on 1st August to attract locals and tourists alike. Located really close to the market square, the University Arms’ impressive porte cochère will welcome you into a new but echoing-the-past world, where marble floors and leather furniture coexist with velvet couches and modern wallpapers.
Both the architectural renovation and the interior décor are witness to the history of this city where undergraduate students attend one of the most prestigious universities of the world, academic crib to the likes of Newton, Darwin or Hawking.
The outer shell feels classic & romantic, whereas the words coming to mind when stepping inside are vibrant & eclectic.
The combination of these two apparent opposites doesn’t strike you as odd due to the fact that the spaces are simply very well thought out: a retro bar with cosy wooden tables that serves delicious signature cocktails, a college-inspired library with leather sofas and an ancient fireplace salvaged from the old hotel, walls covered with quirky prints and vintage maps that add a nostalgic touch to a brand new construction.
Have I convinced you yet? If not, then keep on scrolling down…
The rooms (192 in total, going from £200 a night for a double) are named after illustrious Cambridge alumni and decorated in a sober way, peppered with nods to Cambridge history and college dorm décor. The suites on the top floor feel airy and enjoy the best views over Parker’s Pieces common, a green area in the middle of town hosting everything from cricket matches to live music concerts during the summer months and an important pathway for cyclists and pedestrians accessing the city centre all year round.
And an honorable mention shall be awarded to the bathrooms in each room, luxurious spaces boasting marble sinks and golden appliqués, a real treat for all my blogging pals out there! ♥
Ok, the light was not the best when snapping these pictures, but imagine the spaces with day light. Ah!
Now on to the most important part: the food. The food is the realm of the Parker’s Tavern team, a beautiful restaurant with proper name and a strong identity, headed by Tristan Welch, formerly head chef of Gordon Ramsay’s Pétrus restaurant and the best host one could have hoped for such a blogging event!
He explained to us that everything we see in the menu, from the seasonal dishes featuring local produce to the name of their cocktails, was carefully considered before the big opening. It is something you can feel all around this place, nothing is haphazard, there is so much thought behind every little detail.
And without further ado, I proceed to present you my dinner. Bringing those foodie’s IG stories up a notch, as I am able to tell you not only the long-winded name of these delicious dishes but also their main ingredients and how good they tasted, ha!
For starters we tried some tempura courgettes served with local honey and Tristan’s yummy home-made burrata decorated with heirloom tomatoes & a basil dressing. Healthy and flavoursome starters, right up my alley!
Then it was time to choose our mains. I went for the Saffron Walden Lamb, a delicacy featuring denham castle lamb braised with Saffron, tomatoes, cumin and peas. The lamb is cooked in its juices from the morning and it’s then pulled before being served with the braised greens. A real treat that got me thinking of Christmas when I had sworn not to open that door before November *sighs*
And like at any good play, we let ourselves be surprised by the last act: the dessert menu!
Even if I keep on saying I don’t have a developed sweet tooth, I can never refrain myself from stealing a spoonful (or two!) from Mr. Vet’s desserts, or in this case, try ALL the treats in the Parker’s Tavern menu! But believe me, the “effort” paid off 😀
Shoutout to Tristan Welch for hooking us up with a variety of gorgeous looking desserts such as the Amélie-evoking Cambridge Burnt Cream (what the French call crème brulée – was originally invented in Cambridge!), the lightest and most delicious Rice Pudding Soufflee with raspberry ice cream, or the Valrhona Dark Chocolate bar with salted caramel ganache. Mouth watering!
And speaking of original touches, when you order dessert, they bring you a yellow form and a pencil for you to choose from an amazing selection of toppings & ice cream flavours to create your own sundae! How freaking cool is that?
Esther (blogging gal at Esther Ruth Wyse) and I tackling that chocolate bar!
What can I say? An unforgettable evening spent in the newest (but oldest) hotel in town!
Have you ever been to the University Arms hotel, glamistas? Would you want to visit when in town? 🙂
Peace & Love