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"Why is it still open?"

A review of Hobbs Pavilion by Alan written on Monday 22nd of December 2003


Having heard that Hobbs had recently re-opened with a Mediterranean theme, and not having been since its pancake days, we booked for 8pm on a Saturday night, presumably one of the busiest times of the week.

It should have been a warning to us that there were no other customers in the restaurant! Our big mistake was staying.

The first thing that grated was the muzak - a incessant and loud selection of The Greatest Xmas Pop Hits In The World Ever Vol 37. Then there was the wall full of throbbing flashing Christmas lights, which my partner was forced to watch throughout the evening. It's lucky neither of us was epileptic!

Next, there was alleged Mediterranean theme - well, yes, there were a couple of Mediterranean dishes on the menu - and a couple of Indian ones - and a couple of Mexican ones - and .....

My partner ordered the Mediterranean vegetables - the chopped French beans on to were slightly scorched, the aubergine bits, nicely cooked, and the onions almost raw.

I ordered Lamb Mediterrane. This was served on a tandoori-style sizzler hotplate, which I was expected to eat off. I had to request a real plate. Meanwhile I burnt my finger (no traditional Curry-house warning of "Please be careful - it's very hot")

Both of us were served with a rather bizarre side-salad arrangement, 1980s catering college style - a few leaves, a fan of half-moon cucumber slices, and a few quartered tomatos. Mine had a ramekin with mashed potato and about 10 thin slices of french bread in a sunflower pattern! Yes - bread *and* potato! Presumably I was meant to spoon the potato from the ramekin onto the hotplate.

My lamb actually tasted quite pleasant, but this was lost amid all the negative aspects of the place, such as the waitresses chatting loudly and intrusively throughout our meal.

The final straw was the 10% service charge that was added to the bill - no option! Just under £27 for two main courses and a bottle of mineral water.

By the time we left at just after 9pm, no other customers had appeared. Big surprise.

We won't be back, and we suggest that you give it a miss too. However, given the lack of customers, perhaps we were just the last people in Cambridge to realise.

Hobbs claims to have been a "Cambridge institution since 1976". To paraphrase Grouch Marx, "Who wants to eat in an institution?".

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