I’ve no idea what forced us to stay in Cambridge last Thursday, perhaps the dustbins, but Mrs RM was only too keen to make a detour from the Grand Arcade to Mitcham’s Corner to help me review Cambridge’s newest “revived” pub, just off the Cam walkway.
More importantly in my personal history, it’s the pub I walked to as a tiny tot when my Dad forgot me when delivering fruit and veg in Burleigh Street nearly 50 years ago. My Mum still hasn’t forgiven him. Dad bought me a Marvel comic (5p).
See that epic journey here.
In those days it was perfectly OK for young children to walk through dangerous streets (OK, the Kite) for miles on their own without Social Services intervention. Possibly.
Anyway, I wouldn’t have been heading for the Waterman back then, but Chester’s Greengrocers, where my Dad always picked up mysterious Polish sausage after deliveries. Confirming the renaissance on Chesterton Road, that greengrocers at No.30 has just reopened as a smart café, seemingly linked to the Waterman.
Cambridge can never have enough places for eggs benedict. Or smashed avocado, now we know the Spoons on Mitchams Corner isn’t reopening ;-(
The joint refurb reveals a more attractive set of buildings than I remember, in the City Pub Co style beloved of Mrs RM, who noted the “sage green and cream teal“, which I think she made up.
I could appreciate the relative lack of posing tables, large blackboard and huge windows.
This has always been one of our most unsung pubs, seemingly propped up by a rare local custom, live football and a small B&B custom over many years of plainness. But at least surviving.
The change is startling.
Quietish when we arrived, by 4.59pm it was already heaving with a real mix of folk. Not just the Cambridge professional type from the Petersfield, but groups of OAPs meeting up for pints of Adnams. As is mandatory in modern pubs, someone ordered a pint of tap water. And there was some ramekin drama, always a joy.
Chaps with shoes and no socks will keep BRAPA entertained for 27.5 minutes if the Waterman gets in the Guide, and it’s always a joy to have an actual job interview carried out on the table next to you. I was recruited to a post over 2 pints of Greene King IPA in a Fulbourn pub 30 years ago.
It’s always instructive to take Mrs RM out to a local pub. Not just for the sparkling wit and political challenge, of course, but the insight I get into the current drinking scene.
You see, Mrs RM is a weathervane, and it’s blowing towards strong hoppy craft keg beers at the moment.
So while I diligently tested the Night Porter from the house brewer (NBSS 3.5), Mrs RM remembered she’d had the Neck Oil at the Beavertown festival tent last year and stuck to that. Until she asked for a half of the “strong one” from 3 Blind Mice. “Mmmmm”
All very pleasant, and at decent prices. For Cambridge.
The chap below spent the whole half hour amending the chalk board. If the beers really were coming and going as quickly as it looked, the Waterman will have enough turnover to maintain that very modern range. I hope that’s the case.