Review: Christ’s May Ball


LAURA DENNEHY: 'Laid back and sophisticated, you were more likely to find people learning how to salsa than gyrating in the dance tent.'

You know it was a good night when you wake up the next day smeared in Florentines. These little delights of gooiness and raisin were part of the delicious spread of cakes and pastries on offer in the Café Parisienne.  And evidently, in my drunken happy state as I was leaving the ball; I had thought it appropriate to fill my bag with them.

Excessive greed on my part aside, Christ’s was a brilliant night. The food was delicious and suitably French with croissants, croque monsieurs and Toulouse meatballs, although this element of sophistication was balanced with the May Ball stalwarts of candy floss and bacon sandwiches. The croque monsieurs on the other hand were limp and soggy, without a whiff of cheese, but maybe the lack of queue surrounding the stall was a sign.  But, I suppose, the impressively cheesey cheese and port room made up for the sandwich’s failings.

Drinks also played to the theme with kir royale, eye-watering absinthe and of course, champagne. However, they also allowed a snatch of Englishness in the midst of all this, with very welcome hot tea served just as dawn started to break when you had begun to think you would never feel your fingertips again for the cold.

Queues were short all round, and even the carousel and swings remained quiet enough that I was able to easily fit in three spins.  Perhaps this lack of people was explained by the surreal sight that greeted me in the chill out tent, crammed full of beautifully dressed, napping guests serenaded by a harpist.

So, the atmosphere of the ball was more sedate than your average May Ball, more of the guests were older and not at Cambridge. On the upside, it was more laid back and sophisticated, you were more likely to find people learning how to salsa than gyrating in the dance tent.  But, on the other hand it lacked a little buzz.

On to Ents, which were great, from the tremendously chirpy acapella group that serenaded us in the queue on the way in, to the guaranteed hilarity of the silent disco. All I can say, is that before last night I never knew such a loud and tuneless noise could emerge from such a tiny girl.

Overall it was a beautifully executed night, everything was planned to perfection, and Christ’s was transformed into a parisienne paradise. And I will always cherish the memories of those Florentines…

Food and drink: 

Wow factor:

Value for money: 

Star attraction: Patio heaters. When it comes down to it, they saved my toes.

Biggest turn off: The croque monsieurs.

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