Formal Review: Peterhouse

LOUISE McCARTHY & ANNA REYNOLDS are pleasantly surprised with Peterhouse grub

almond dessert food grammar gravy Hall lamb Peterhouse roast treacle tart

We’ll admit, we were apprehensive – we’d heard the stories. Peterhouse seems to have earned itself a slight reputation for bad formal food.

Bolstered by the thought of doing Cantabs everywhere a public service, and possibly saving unsuspecting students from an unpalatable fate in the future, we bravely donned our gowns to find out if it was as awful as we’d been told..

Starter: This definitely got Peterhouse off to a good start! The tomato and mozzarella salad was simple, but tasty. More importantly, it was a definite improvement on soup, which all colleges seem to favour as a starter course…

Main Course: The standard didn’t slip for the main course: the roast dinner we were served was almost better than the one at Johns. We tucked into roast lamb, with amazing potatoes, vegetables, Yorkshire puddings and gravy, that was so good every table had to ask for a refill. Thankfully, the catering staff were more than happy to oblige.  This was your dream Sunday dinner on a plate.

Better than me old Ma's

Better than me old Ma’s

Dessert: Oh Peterhouse, it was all going so well, yet dessert was just so horrific…. although we were secretly relieved to have something to bitch about (good review becomes a bit boring after a while). It was described as ‘treacle tart’, but it would have been more accurate to describe it as ‘solid almond-flavour block’… It tasted like Bakewell tart that somebody had forgotten to put the jam in (once we had managed to get our spoons through the pastry sarcophagus!).

A brick in dessert's clothing?

A brick in dessert’s clothing?

Lowlight: It was just a bit dark, especially when they started blowing the candles out before we left. If you want a romantic atmosphere at formal, perhaps Peterhouse is your place, but it was hard to see what you were eating and  particularly annoying if you’re like one of us, who is oh so fussy about picking every little bit of fat off a joint of meat, before they’ll consider eating it!

Highlight: The company, definitely the company! There was heated debate as to English grammar (though we didn’t feel qualified to participate, after someone pointed out the glaring grammatical error in our last article), and the Peterhouse people around us were all very friendly. Particular mention has to go to the Petrean opposite us, who was especially charming (clearly angling for a mention… 😉 )

Price: £8 for a guest ticket.

Whilst Peterhouse might not have been the best formal we’ve ever been to (although it was certainly the darkest!) it was also one of the cheapest, meaning a dubious dessert could easily be forgiven.

The overall experience can be labelled as a great value for money formal!