Sunday, 5 June 2011

Restaurant Review: The Jolly Scholar

The Jolly Scholar - a 'bastion of good food and drink'? 
Only two days after this Restaurant/ Cafe/ Champagne Bar opened, I went along to find out if it could live up to this accolade.
Previously 'The Bun Shop' you can find it at:

1 King Street
Tel: 01223 316877

Arriving at this restaurant it was clear that they had made big changes - no more the dark wood traditional pub. Now you see a modern, clean and open dinging area. The doors were open wide and the room was light and airy. What was really lovely was that they had kept some of the old wooden panels and booths making it a more friendly environment. 
We were greeted by a very friendly and polite waitress who took very good care of us. If anything the staff were a little over attentive as we were asked if we needed anything several times per course! Perhaps because it was quite empty - but unsurprising for day 3. 
The menu is very user friendly and is broken down into: In the Beginning..., To Share - Or Not, A Little Bit of Veggie, Food from the Sea, Full Blooded, The Nippers (kids menu) and Scrumptious Puddings. This means that everyone should find something that they will enjoy.
We decided to share a seafood platter and it was quite some platter! Some parts were absolutely amazing. For me, there was a little too much fried food but the more simply prepared elements were really delicious. The mains were good but not great. Considering the quality of the ingredients it was just a little tasteless. 
The deserts were delicious and I'd love to try a few more next time! The one odd dish was their 'Cambridge Mess'. Their version of the classic Eton Mess. It looked and tasted OK but why oh why a Cambridge Mess includes banana, macaroons and kirsch I will never know! 
Our shared starter, mains and a side, 2 deserts and wine came to £75.  I didn't think that that was too bad at all. However some of my other favourite restaurants would have provided slightly better food at a similar price. There was also none of those little added extras that I like so much! You know, bread or olives or something. I'm greedy and so missed those yummy bits and bobs.

I would recommend... the Passion Fruit Pannacotta, it was amazing. Other highlights include excellent service and a lovely d├ęcor.

Would I go back? Definitely. As the Scholar had only just opened, I expected a few teething problems... and there were some (e.g. the phone lines and card machine didn't work yet). But I will definitely be going back to see the restaurant at its best and to try out that champagne bar opening upstairs soon!