Update: The Jolly Scholar has now closed and has been replaced by the Cambridge Brewhouse, read my review here.
Since I heard the Jolly Scholar had opened I was quite keen to go, it was formerly the Bun Shop which is a pub that was crying out for new owners and refurbishment. The Jolly Scholar is very gastropubby, in the decor and the menu. Inside it is lots of oak, old style furniture and little Cambridge themed decor – ie the punt suspended on the ceiling.
They popped up on Groupon recently so I bought a voucher, thinking that if it wasn’t up to much then at least it only cost me £12 for £35 worth of food. Anticipating it being very busy due to the voucher (our experience at using a Groupon for The Rice Boat taught us this) we booked for 6pm, although when we arrived it was pretty quiet – a good sign, or not?
The Jolly Scholar is part of the same group as The Jolly Sailor in Orford – a very good place to find something yummy to eat, and of course a great place to find seafood. Mussels are one of my favourite things to eat so I ordered these, and Mr. Giraffe ordered the veggie burger (halloumi burger with other fried veg) with aioli & sweet potato chips. Both were good, a nice start. The mussels were very very fresh with a lovely white wine sauce and a slightly too huge portion of very nice crispy frites. The sweet potato chips that accompanied the burger were great too, they know how to do chips here.
Unfortunately the puddings let us down. I had a broiche & marmalade bread and butter pudding, which was perfectly acceptable if a little soggy, I like my bread and butter pudding to have a crispy top. The custard was however homemade, not the flouro Birds stuff. Mr’s berry crumble was a huge disappointment, the berries were nondescript and mostly full of seeds and the crumble top was dusty and uninspired. Such a shame.
We loved the mains, but the puds let us down and so did the service. The restaurant was pretty quiet which only made the rather brash member of staff behind the bar barking orders at his staff sound even louder – this also meant that the waitresses were quite nervous and obviously under undue pressure.
I don’t think I’d pay full price here, the whole experience wasn’t up to scratch despite the main courses being nice.
The Jolly Scholar
King Street, Cambridge