As Week 5 thankfully draws to a close, perhaps we all need to be reminded that there’s far more to life than work, and what better way to do that than by going on a date night or two? Here’s a selection of my fancier suggestions for a very special evening – maybe save it for a big anniversary, or a rare weekend visit from your long-distance beau – and perhaps next time I’ll be back with my best picks for a cheaper night out!
The Giggling Squid
Not only good for a date, of course, The Giggling Squid ought to be your classy go-to for any special night or celebratory dinner in central Cambridge. It’s not ridiculously pricey, considering how excellent the food is – you can get a great curry for a tenner, for example – although I’d hesitate to recommend that you try too many sides or drinks unless you’re particularly keen to find yourself wincing at the sight of your bill when it’s time to leave (don’t even open the cocktails list! Don’t do it to yourself!). It’s a Thai tapas restaurant situated in the old library building, as redecorated to the orders of the restaurant’s owner himself, and the stunning central dome and pastel-coloured decorations look like something out of an Eastern European capital: it’s been so cold and windy outside recently you could even pretend you’re in St. Petersburg… at a stretch.
If you’ve got your eyes on an evening at The Giggling Squid, though, don’t forget to book – you might get lucky, but even if you do, you’ll likely find yourself having to wait until 8.45pm to even sit down at the table, and I don’t know about you, but I’d be far too hungry by then to concentrate at all. It’s a popular place for good reason. The menu is fantastic, with a good variety of dishes, so don’t be afraid if you’re not a fan of spice or tapas. There’s even a vegan menu to boot. What’s not to like?
Stolen Liquor Loft & Restaurant
Now that you’ve finished your dinner, you’re contentedly full, and your bank balance is noticeably worse off than before, what better way to carry on your night than by stopping off at The Liquor Loft at Stolen? That said, if you were concerned about the cocktail prices at The Giggling Squid, you sure will be at Stolen as well: the cheapest way to consume alcohol here is to purchase a £25 bottle of wine that you might deeply regret the next morning.
But it’s not game over. Romantic dates aren’t (usually) about getting drunk, and if you want to try one or two delicious cocktails, this is the best place to do it. They make the tastiest Espresso Martini I’ve had (so far) in Cambridge, and as a true gin fan I’d always opt for their Bramble (gin with lemon juice and blackberry liqueur) or a classic G&T – they have an impressive assortment of gins on offer if you’re in to try something a little more interesting. There’s no need to worry about choice, though, with 17 cocktails on their menu, not including the Aperol and Campari Spritzes they also have to offer. Again, do bear in mind that Stolen is a popular restaurant amongst the townies of Cambridge, and to be sure you’ll get a spot and to avoid disappointment you might want to book in advance.
The Giggling Squid and Stolen might be the obvious options on the table, but they certainly aren’t the only places worth checking out, especially if you find out that they’re booked up on your special day. Perhaps I’ll be back with more recommendations in the future, but for now I’d suggest stopping by at Six, the rooftop restaurant on the top floor of the Varsity Hotel & Spa, a spot with stunning views and a mouth-watering menu to keep your eyes fixed firmly on the table. It’s fairly small, so it retains an intimate feel and seems to be primarily filled with loved-up couples who’ll be sure to ignore you in favour of their own date sat across from them. Afterwards, why not take a trip to the ever-popular Town & Gown just off Sidney Street? With 2 for £12 on cocktails all-day Sunday to Thursday, it’s solid value for the money.