The kids are in bed. Your trusted babysitter is installed in front of Netflix with some popcorn and the baby monitor. You’re wearing heels AND earrings. Congratulations, you’re all set for date night. But when nights out are a rarity, you want to make the most of them. My three golden rules for a foodie date night are...
*Go somewhere you’d never go with the kids. Think terrible buggy access, strong cocktails and a bar to sit at... a restaurant where you can feel part of the grown-up world again. Leave Pizza Express for the daytime.
*Order something you’d never make at home. Fresh homemade pasta, sushi, a dessert that didn’t come out of the freezer. This is your chance to try a dish you’d never have the time or energy to cook after a day of child-wrangling.
*Don’t let a tight budget spoil date night. If you can’t stretch to dinner, eat at home first then head to a favourite bar for a glass of good wine and a few bar snacks. The important thing is to get out with your partner, chat and have a good time.
With these rules in mind, I’ve picked a few favourite local spots for a great date night...
The Twenty Six, Southborough
The Twenty Six is truly special. This intimate restaurant on Southborough Common is the perfect place for an anniversary or birthday date night. It only seats 26 people (hence the name) in a snug room which looks a bit like a ski lodge. Chef Scott Goss changes the menu according to what’s best and in season. The thoughtful touches start from the moment you arrive and find your surname on a vintage Scrabble rack on your candle-lit table. Sip Chapel Down wine and forget about the daily grind for a few hours.
Chapel Place, Tunbridge Wells
If you can’t stretch to a meal, pull up a bar stool next to your partner at Chapel Place instead for a potent G&T and some olives and bar snacks. Chapel Place specialises in gin – there’s several dozen on the menu, including locally-distilled 1606, which is made with Tunbridge Wells spa water, Seville oranges and lemons. The cosy bar is all grey walls, industrial lights and rows and rows of gin...heaven.