It’s Friday night. I’m standing outside a restaurant with two Italians and a Mexican. (No, this isn’t a joke.) Another Mexican is yet to arrive. We are in King’s Parade, the most touristy of touristy locations in the touristy town of Cambridge. Across from us is one of the most photographed buildings in the World, King’s College Chapel.
They are not looking at it. They are looking at me as I stand in front of the mural of Henry VIII in the restaurant’s upstairs entrance, waving my hands. I am trying to persuade them that they are taking a huge risk by entering a restaurant that prides itself on its Englishness. I plead in vain; the Latin lambs enter the Anglo-Saxon lion’s den.
The decor is stylish, the staff are cosmopolitan, the food is… English: steak and kidney pie, braised lamb, fish and chips. I opt for the last. (They did have other wild delicacies like “bruschetta”.) Surely they can’t screw fish and chips up?
They can. They did. I chewed on some not-entirely-stale fish encased in what was intended to be batter, but had the texture and taste of a new form of aerated industrial packing material, so greasy it could only have been a by-product of the production of diesel fuel. The chips were fried to within a millimetre of total carbonization.
Admittedly, the others didn’t seem too disappointed with their choices, even though the Englishness of the place extended to confused service and the random unavailability of items from the menu. Perhaps they found it all exotic…
Anyway, you now know enough about the venue to avoid making the same mistake yourselves…