The Tamburlaine opened just over a year ago in Cambridge and it has been quickly established as a luxury place to stay in the city, thanks to its beautiful interiors and location close to the train station. The hotel has 155 rooms and great reviews on TripAdvisor – but is its restaurant up to scratch? I was recently invited to review the dinner menu and see for myself.
The restaurant is set in gorgeous 1920s style surroundings, including a golden circular bar, quirky oil paints and mustard art deco seating. It was quiet for a Thursday evening but not empty and the staff were attentive but not too much so, leaving us to enjoy our meal. An off-peak set menu for quieter times might be worth considering to draw more customers into the restaurant and encourage the hotel as a destination for a dinner as well as an overnight stay.
Personally, I found the main menu a little confusing as to what the Tamburlaine was trying to offer; it seemed like everything! The menu had burgers, steaks, seafood, fish and chips, Italian dishes, salads and therefore seemed a little muddled. Despite the huge range of dishes, we both choose the braised lamb pie and I ordered a Cambridge Collins, a cocktail using local Cambridge gin.
Our braised lamb pie arrived in what can only be described as a mess tin on a wooden board, accompanied by some red cabbage. If I’m honest, it wasn’t what I was expecting compared to the luxurious surroundings and I was disappointed that my pie had neither pastry nor mash (that’s what going to a Northern university does to you!) However the lamb was beautifully tender and seasoned well.
For dessert, we chose one seasonal crumble and one rhubarb, milk and honey “speciality dessert.” The crumble was tasty and packed full of in season rhubarb but served in an identical mess tin to the main! However my dessert was much more in keeping with what I had been expecting from our evening meal. I was presented with a pretty plate of honey ice-cream, rhubarb semi-freddo and a smattering of crumble, topped with beautiful yellow flowers straight out of Masterchef. If the rest of the menu could reflect my specialty dessert, The Tamburlaine would start to create a strong brand and identity of food which pairs perfectly with the stunning interior décor.
The library upstairs is perfect for a post dinner cocktail or coffee, with cosy seating and plenty of bookcases. The afternoon tea area is an Instagrammer’s dream, packed full of pink pastel sofas and plenty of plants. And of course, if you’ve already heard of the Tamburlaine you will know all about the toilets - the bright mustard tiles and fern wallpaper is worth a visit alone!
All in all, The Tamburlaine has real potential as a place for a special meal in gorgeous surroundings. With some refinement of the menu and focusing on the dishes that make it unique, like the delicious signature desserts, it could become a fantastic destination for dinner as well as a hotel. Book by calling 01223 792888 or visit www.thetamburlaine.co.uk
I was invited for a complimentary meal at the Tamburlaine in exchange for this review but all views are my own