Midsummer House: A Restaurant Review.   Leave a comment

For her birthday I thought I’d surprise the missus with a meal in Cambridge’s poshest restaurant, Midsummer House. We’d often talked about the place, and since she runs a catering business herself and I work for her, we had a professional interest too. What would it be like, this posh food? As I am always skint and reasonably mean too, I thought it might warp Sam’s mind bigtime if I whisked her in there with no warning. A hell of a lot of planning went into the making of the surprise. The key things were that the secret didn’t get out, and the babysitting issue. I am very lucky that I have friends who are prepared to put my son to bed, and a son who will be put to bed by his parent’s friends. However, as other parents will know, it could have all gone horribly wrong. The last thing I wanted was to be called away from the most deliriously expensive restaurant of all time. Also I couldn’t make a big fuss with Syd about his Mum and Dad going out to dinner because Sam would have clicked that something was up. If she knew she was in for a treat foodwise, her mind would have inevitably turned to thoughts of Midsummer House, as we have often discussed the idea in the past in a sort of “as if” way. So, even though arrangements were in hand for some three weeks prior to her birthday, I was amazed that it was still a secret on the big day, especially since she had been talking about the restaurant about a week before (out of the blue – bit nerve-shredding for me). The birthday came and I got her a cheap bunch of flowers, just like she usually has to hassle me to do, and then casually announced that I was taking her out to dinner. I said it was some new place in Chesterton, just to throw her off the scent a bit. I have to say that all the pressure of the deception was starting to get to me a bit, because in my mind it all had to go exactly according to plan for this big gesture to be worth anything at all. I was going to take her for a quick drink in the Radegund, keeping it kind of low key, and then as we stepped onto Midsummer Common, suddenly drop the bomb on her. I figured this would freak her out of her fucking socks, and that was the big payback I was looking for. Up until about 7PM, it was all going to plan. At this point, feeling perhaps that she was going to have to organise her own treats to a certain extent, she told me to hop to the offy and buy some Cava. This was ever so slightly irritating because I felt like I had the treats thing in hand and also that money was literally pissing out of my pockets by this point. Anyway, I left; leaving my phone at Sam’s to charge so as to ensure maximum comms with the babysitter posse later on. Can you guess what’s coming? Yes, that’s right, the restaurant phoned to confirm while I was out, and although Sam would never normally answer my phone, for some reason (call it feminine intuition or possibly witchcraft) she did on this occasion. Naturally there was some confusion on the conversation but between Sam and Midsummer House they managed to work out that there was a surprise in the offing, and that this was now a surprise ruined. When I returned Sam looked at me with tenderness and said “Oh, I’m sorry…they phoned and I answered it…” whereupon I looked at her with a savage expression of the most consolidated rage and then fell to my knees and began to beat the mock oak panel flooring with my fist. As far as I was concerned Midsummer House had just up-ended a month of careful planning, one once-in-a-lifetime romantic gesture, and cost me anything up to £200. I knew the blame didn’t lie with them entirely, but you might have thought that they’d had to play their role in a few surprise birthday dinners in their long history. In spite of the fact that it was still meant to be about Sam and despite all the reassurances from her and our babysitters that it was still a wonderful surprise and that the restaurant would probably make sure our experience was extra special and possibly even furnish us with free wine I remained utterly inconsolable. In fact I was so morose I drank most of the bottle of Frexenet in an attempt to find some cheer from somewhere before I ruined the already ruined evening, not that I was making much effort to hide my feelings, as I say. Anyway, then we went to the pub and I think I had a pint and maybe a couple of gins. Funnily enough, even though I was disappointed an’ all and I should have been drunk as a horse I still felt extremely nervous about actually visiting the restaurant. It’s not as though I come from the most proletarian background of all time but I’m not very good at dealing with formality and so on and I really didn’t know what to expect from this, the most poshest of posh places.

Right, I’m going to leave it there and post this up, in the hope that people might hassle me to finish it, because most of this account has been hanging about since time. My original idea was to do something resembling a proper restaurant review (as a sort of laugh) but given the tone of what I’ve written so far, and the fact that the effects of the alcohol and the passage of time have left me with little recollection of the specifics of what we ate, it’ll probably just be more renditions of painful awkwardness as per.

Bon appetit!

Posted December 15, 2005 by peteum2013 in Uncategorized

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