Having found myself with a very early start to a day’s work in Cambridge back in January, I remembered that my former MW mentor John Hoskins MW owned an hotel nearby in Huntingdon – The Old Bridge. So it came to be that I arrived late one evening to a very warm welcome. I was shown to my room by a member of staff who insisted on helping me with my bags.
The room was decorated in a ‘Wind in the Willows’ theme and had a magnificent four-poster bed and lavish decorations in keeping with the theme. Each room has a different theme and all were designed by John’s wife, Julia. The bathroom was as big as the large bedroom with a freestanding claw foot bath, modern shower cabinet and double ‘his and hers’ washbasins. A fluffy bathrobe and slippers completed the ensemble.
Attention to detail
Once shown around my room, I was offered tea (made with proper tea leaves) which was served on the most delicate white china with homemade lemon shortbread biscuits. All of this attention to detail adds so much to the experience. As a modern touch, there was also a wide, flat-screen TV.
When I could be prised away from the comfort of the room, there was the joy of having a really good restaurant, a delightfully cosy bar and an outstanding wine list awaiting me downstairs.
The Old Bridge Hotel has just won the Wine Award for best wine list (England and overall) in the 2009-2010 AA Hospitality Awards. This is the second time running they have won this award and the only hotel to have won twice.
For wine connoisseurs, the bar and the restaurant list are just an Aladdin’s cave of delights and the wine list is written in a very honest, accurate and descriptive way that is very much John’s style.
I was dining alone that night, so was very pleased that there were so many wines by the glass as well as many delicious half-bottles. To go with my goat’s cheese starter, I chose a glass of Pouilly-Fuissé which was out-performing its class and tasted more like a Meursault. I then had a half-bottle of Barolo to go with the main course of risotto. Both wines were very good.
One of the reasons John can offer so many interesting wines by the glass is the relatively new ‘Enomatic’ machines they’ve got. This amazing piece of equipment allows wines to be kept for much longer in a healthy condition by using inert gas to preserve wine in a ‘just opened’ state for (according to their website) more than three weeks.
© 2010 – 2011, Susan Hulme MW. All rights reserved.