THE BUN SHOP
The Bun Shop
1 King Street Cambridge
Telephone: 01223 366866
This was one of those cases when beforehand it seemed like it couldn't possibly go wrong and afterwards we couldn't understand how anyone could have thought it was a good idea. There is a valuable lesson in there somewhere - expensive as well.
The Bun Shop was a rectangular 1970s brick building on the outside; inside were three completely different environments: wine bar to the left of the main entrance, traditional pub to the right, tapas restaurant upstairs. It was well known for hosting large parties and was offered to us for what seemed a crazily low price - equipment, name and all.
It soon turned out that the equipment was on its last legs and that it was impossible for one manager to run three separate businesses simultaneously. King Street was a student- dominated street and there were lots of options so customer loyalty was easily lost. As weekly takings declined the managers introduced more and more changes - a delicatessen, a new entrance, music nights, loyalty cards, Korean food. Sadly its identity completely fragmented and it was sold on, at a great loss.
Some of the early mentions were positive, such as this:
"Sitting on a corner near Jesus College on King Street is the Bun Shop. Its name might be misleading, as no one would expect tapas here, but appearances are deceptive. The restaurant is quite expansive, as there are two separate drinking areas on the ground floor, one directed at beer drinkers and the other for wine connoisseurs, but to get to the tapas, you need to climb up one floor.
I would recommend reserving a table or the room in advance, as demand is quite high. Any tapas fan visiting Cambridge, a selection of small dishes blending a mixture of spices originally from Spain, would feel at home here. Our last visit finished quite late. Unsurprisingly, the wines are mostly Spanish, which need to be drunk slowly as they are quite strong, especially the Rioja."
And this from 2006, although even here signs of the strain are evident:
"With the soft strum of an acoustic guitar and a mellow voice, John Meed performed original songs for a small crowd in the loft of The Bun Shop. Sipping on their pints of beer, patrons listened attentively to Meed as he sang using a storytelling approach. On this recent night, three performances followed Meed's as part of a showcase of local musicians at the loft, appropriately named Acoustic Cafe.
Downstairs from the music in The Bun Shop's wine bar, two groups were commenting on the taste of wine and food. Both groups were taking part in a tasting held by a local wine merchant. Keith Gehlert, manager of The Bun Shop, mingled with the groups and explained each dish that he served and answered any questions. Originally from Detroit, Gehlert raced back and forth keeping the groups inside the wine bar satisfied. He plans on holding similar tasting events every Wednesday night in the near future, he said."