183 East Street, Cambridge, Cambridgeshire CB1 1BG
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Cotto Restaurant is open Monday – Saturday 9-5pm and dinners Thurs – Fri – Sat from 7pm
5 reviews of Cotto in English
A superb menu and very courteous staff initially won me over. The interior has a beautiful calm about it; refined, plenty of silverware and wood, contemporary, subtle. Everything is well proportioned: the music level, the weighting of the cutlery, the furniture, the table settings. All perfect.
There's a big "but" coming, but let me tell you first about the food.
The bread selection was divine. Everything freshly-baked. Delicate, unique, and interesting flavours. I love a place that serves me great breads.
Much of the eating experience made me 'wow', out loud. The fish soup with turbot dumplings was memorable. The puddings were beautifully presented. As the opposite table's puds were brought out one-by-one, I was getting more and more excited by what I was to choose.
If it weren't for one thing, I would have woken up the next day and felt that fantastic feeling you get after a night of good quality food.
Can you guess what that one thing was?
Here's a clue.
£30 for a bottle.
At 1.30am I was awoken by a splitting headache. My partner slept through it, but woke up with the most almighty hangover from hell.
I'm not exaggerating when I say that the next 24 hours were some of the most painful I can remember. My partner was also hit hard.
I don't get headaches. Never complained of a migraine. I've never had a hangover like it. One bottle, consumed over a period of three hours between two people. I do this all the time.
It was honestly like someone spiked the wine with some horrid drug.
Not only did this bottle of horror (it was Grenache) ruin the rest of my evening, it wrote off the following day.
Once again: in 20 years of drinking wine, good, bad, and ugly, I've never had such a horrible experience.
As you can see, I'm not sure how to review this restaurant. The food was so good, the service friendly, and I know restaurants often make mistakes with wine, and in rare cases wine can be off.
As I tasted, I accidentally blurted-out "god it tastes like ribena", then in a ridiculous spate of Britishness I reacted at my own rudeness and dismissed my previous comment saying "no no, in a good way, very summer berry fruity". I should have trusted my instincts. But not even my instincts could have prepared me for the magnitude of the after effects!
In summary. I dearly want to recommend this restaurant but 48 hours after our horrid wine poisoning experience I really can't.
In a few days I'm sure I will be over it.
But one thing's for sure: I am never risking the wine at this place again. I'm sure it was a one-off. But I suggest you avoid it at all costs too.
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Organic, seasonal and largely locally sourced food- though largely Italian recipes. Simple, Italian inspired, quality interior. Delicious home baked bread with your meal and a great place to nip in and read the paper over a slice of cake and cup of tea at the weekend.
The best sandwich and light meals shop I have ever found. The German (I think) Chef prepares everything fresh - goats cheese and red onion marmalade on thick cut rye bread, for example. Or Wiltshire Ham, Cheddar Cheese and cherry tomato on onion seed baguette. The soups are also delicious, and the staff lovely and friendly
The best thing there has to be the cakes, however, every single one of which that I have ever tried was perfect
Cotto is a cafe down stairs and a restaurant upstairs. Their focus is on only using natural ingredients - the menu is based upon what fresh produce is available at the morning market. I got the impression that the food has been lovingly prepared, which seems to make it taste a bit nicer. There’s the occasional whoopsy - a slightly dry cake, or a not so great pain au chocolate - but on the whole it’s excellent.
The strangest thing about Cotto is the pricing. It’s both incredibly expensive, and incredibly cheap at the same time. It’s as though a pricing schizophrenic put the menu together. £2.30 for a small-ish take away latte is way over the odds. £3.00 for a huge take away sandwich is the steal of the century. But I’m baffled how the same sandwich can be £4.50 if you eat in! All in all, once everything is averaged out, I’d say it was fair value for money.
I’ve left the best bit to last. The people who run Cotto are what make it. Always smiley and please to see you, and always willing to go out of their way to meet your needs.. Even if I didn’t like their food, the staff would probably make me want to go back.
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