The corner of Bridge Street and Thompson's Lane seems to have been a bit of a blighted spot for restaurants in Cambridge. Over the years I have known this space to be a Garfunkel's, some sort of racing car themed American diner, the now apparently out of business Edwinns, and most recently Cote.
So on a Saturday night when myself and the male companion person had decided that we would have a change from the excitement of sitting on the sofa and watching telly, we decided to give the newest Bridge Street incumbent a go for dinner. I'd never heard of Cote before, but have subsequently found out that it's a small chain mainly based in the south of England. The Cambridge outpost occupies quite a big space, but one that is divided up by various pillars and walls into several sections. They've obviously done their best to maximise table numbers, but (just about) left enough space to avoid having to sit in the lap of your fellow diners. There was lots of nice low lighting and and candles in the evening, and it all led to quite a cosy atmosphere.
We ordered some olives and pissaladiere-style flatbread to start with, from a menu that is vaguely French but more pan-European really. The olives were perfectly pleasant, and the bread topped with Reblochon cheese was like a nice, crispy cheese on toast. We both choose the seafood linguine for our main courses, and this came with a good quantity of mussels, prawns and clams. I was expecting more of a sauce for the pasta rather than individual bits of tomato and garlic, but it was all pretty good none the less.
This all left just enough room to squeeze in a pudding. I had a perfectly acceptable but not amazing chocolate fondant, while the male companion person had a highly praised creme caramel. Service was attentive if a little slow at times, but actually the spacing between courses probably allowed us to fit in more food overall (which can't be a bad thing). The bill for all of the above, with a couple of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, a coffee, and service was around £60, which I thought was quite good value. Although I noted that they added 12.5% service automatically, rather than let you decide an amount, which I always think is slightly dubious but possibly not the worst crime in the world.
But that issue aside Cote was actually a very nice place to have dinner. The service was good, they bring you water without asking, and the food was fresh and tasty. And I guess the fact that Cote is part of a chain shouldn't diminish my enjoyment of all of that.
21-24 Bridge Street
Cambridge CB2 1UF