Formal Review: Girton

EUN-YOUNG PARK gives her verdict on Girton’s Formal Hall.

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Girton Formal 3/5

Girton’s like Hogwarts – far away, and in a castle. Unfortunately, formal at Girton’s not quite as impressive as the feasts Harry and co. get to enjoy.

It took me ages to find the Hall. Girton has corridors instead of staircases, so it felt like I had to walk around the entire ground floor to find it. It was worth it though, ’cause it looks like this:

Pretty Hogwartsy

I thought it was a bit strange that instead of checking my ticket at the door, the porter wanted to see my uni card. Apart from this feeling incongruously high tech, I guess it also means you can’t bring along guests from outside the university.

Another thing that grated was how long we had to wait before we could sit down – over 15 minutes! I was expecting a nice comfy seat after the gruelling bike ride. I blame the fellows – no sense of punctuality.

Grace was much shorter than it is in my college – apparently, Girtonians thank God for their food in two words. Confusingly, however, these weren’t ‘thank you’.

I’m not sure what to think about the lighting. Despite what the image above would lead you to believe, the Hall was actually very bright. Though less atmospheric, it made a nice change actually being able to see what I was eating. Plus, my waiter was seriously HOT, so the brighter the better. Next time you’re thinking of catching some fitties at Cindies, think again.

On the down side, I wasn’t given any indication of what the menu was when I bought my ticket. The good lighting would have given me a strain-free opportunity to anticipate the food, but there were no menus on the table either. Since my Girtonian friend also had no idea what we ate, I’m just going to have to describe the food as best as I can…

This was most definitely soup. Can’t tell you much more than that, but it tasted alright. The bread came with crème fraîche. Since it was served with the rolls, I proceeded to spread it on my bread, only to look around the room to see everyone else dolloping it into their bowls. Oops. Oh well, I think it tasted better with the bread anyway.

Main Course:
After being exposed as a crème fraîche virgin, we were served lamb chops. They were perfectly nice, but small. So small! And we only got 2 each. The usual sides accompanied – potatoes, green vegetables, gravy. All fairly unobjectionable, though I had to ration the meat considerably besides the mounds of potatoes.


What a ‘Trinity Cream’ is supposed to look like

The pudding was as big as the chop. In other words, inadequate. Still, at least I know what Crème brûlée is. After all, it saw its first British appearance in my very own college, back in 1879 (take that, Girton). The sugar on top was no way near crunchy enough for my liking. A few more seconds with the blowtorch might just have pushed the star rating to a four.

After the puddings had been cleared away, I was stunned as a porter promptly came over and told me to leave so he could ‘go home’. Do Girtonians really have no post-formal conversation, no port or brandy, not even an after-dinner mint? Everyone else just seemed happy to leave.

Girton Oddity:
Everything is green – green tablecloths, green decorations, green dresses. I think Girton’s so far away from town that they haven’t realised it’s not Christmas anymore. It left me feeling more sick than festive.