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Whether you’re planning a festive dinner with family and friends or the office Christmas party, Velvet has found seven of the best venues in and around the city

Stem & Glory, Cambridge

Stem & Glory is a plant-based restaurant chain with locations in Cambridge and London. The Christmas menu will be available at both sites, open seven days a week, from November 22.

On offer for both small tables and large group bookings, the three-course festive menu features such seasonal favourites as the Christmas roast, winter gnocchi and wild polenta beetroot cake, all with a focus on British-grown produce.

A star dish, pictured, is the new-season rack of broccolini (small plate, £7.50): roasted tenderstem broccoli in mustard crust, on a warm olive green lentil salad topped with Buffalo aioli.

Stem & Glory is a business with a social purpose and for every meal they serve, they donate a meal to someone in need. They are also committed to being carbon negative by the end of 2021.

Stem & Glory’s Cambridge location is at 50/60 Station Road CB1 2JH. For more information visit stemandglory.uk. To reserve a table email info@stemandglory.uk. For large group bookings please call (01954) 205045.

KOTA at Turing Locke, Cambridge

“Sleek and elegant festive dining starts at KOTA, Cambridge,” say the team at Turing Locke, Eddington’s new aparthotel. Extending across the main hotel restaurant, coffee bar, courtyard area and rooftop terrace, KOTA is sibling to NOVI, the social dining space on Cambridge’s Regent Street. As its name suggests - it’s Finnish for shelter and a place to cook - the focus is on Finland’s core culinary concepts: charcoal cooking and community dining.

“Christmas classics take centre stage on the festive menu,” continue the team, “complemented by exciting plant-based options. Kick off festivities with botanical cocktails on the undercover terrace and move through to dine in the Scandi-inspired main restaurant. This is a sophisticated Christmas at its best. Planning a big one? Rooms can be booked upstairs at Locke for just £80 per night with code HELLOCAMBRIDGE.”

For full details visit kotacambridge.co.uk and lockeliving.com/en/cambridge/turing-locke.

Histon Smokehouse

Relaunching post-lockdown with a new menu and onsite smokery, Histon Smokehouse has also opened an intimate upstairs bar in partnership with Estrella Damm. Coupling taps of the iconic Mediterranean beer with a special tapas-style menu, the venue is ideal for group dining and private parties.

As well as the food - think wings, steaks, strips, ribs and veggie and vegan versions (tofu, jackfruit), with a choice of sauces (including house jerk) and sides (corn, greens, beans) - the Smokehouse is known for its garden market, which sees a roster of artisans show and sell their wares weekly.

“Join us this festive period for some Christmas dining,” say the team. “Please see our website for full details or call our friendly team. And don't miss our Christmas markets!”

For more information visit histonsmokehouse.co.uk and call (01223) 491174.

Provenance Kitchen: Brix & Mortar, Whittlesford

Famous for its signature wood-fired food, which puts both flavour and the finest locally sourced produce centre-stage, Provenance Kitchen opened Brix & Mortar in 2019 following the success of its street vans - an airstream (now in situ) and converted horse box (still available for event hire).

A bright, airy and spacious restaurant, which can accommodate any size party, large or small, with plenty of parking, “at Provenance we are passionate about great food and great service,” says the team.

“We have taken inspiration from our Sunday lunch offering for your festive dining needs during December. Our two or three-course options include roast Norfolk turkey, whole wood-grilled cauliflower and roast sirloin of beef, cooked over our wood fired hearth with sharing platters of seasonal roasted potatoes, vegetables, gravy and pigs in blankets.”

For the full menu and to book visit provenancekitchen.com.

Gonville Hotel, Cambridge

Located directly opposite the famous Parker’s Piece and just a short walk from the city’s many colleges and historic greens, the four-star Gonville Hotel has been privately owned and run by the same family for three generations. Say the team: “In this most turbulent of times, Gonville Hotel is delighted to be able to welcome you back for Christmas this year.”

From mid-November, the hotel will be adorned with beautiful, unique decorations helping you feel festive from the moment you step through the door. The chef and kitchen team have created sumptuous menus for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day along with a seasonal private dining menu. To give you a flavour: the Christmas Day menu, priced £129 per person, opens with Champagne and canapes and optional dishes include foie gras terrine, barbecued langoustines, beef Wellington, Dover sole with truffle mousse. . .

The Gonville team are also opening their Winter Garden for festive casual-style dining and drinks including a range of Christmas cocktails - some traditional, some not-so-traditional - to be enjoyed across the season.

For more information and to view all three festive menus visit gonvillehotel.co.uk/christmas. To book call (01223) 366611 or email office@gonvillehotel.co.uk.

Hilton Cambridge City Centre

Hilton Cambridge City Centre is noted as the largest central hotel in Cambridge, located in the heart of the city, moments from University of Cambridge colleges, King's College Chapel, punting tours on the River Cam and the Fitzwilliam Museum.

“This festive season shake off those winter blues and relive the sunny summer vibe here at our exotic Hawaiian Luau Themed Joiner Parties,” say the team. “Start the night with a beach party punch from the TikiBar, followed by a three-course dinner and dancing to your favourite summer party songs with our resident DJ.”

Parties are priced £49 per person. Contact the events team for availability: call (01223) 464491 or email cambridgecity.events@hilton.com

The Porterhouse, Willingham

From the staff at the bar and the dishes on the menu to the music on the stereo and the numerous creature comforts - take the blankets and hot water bottles issued to tipi diners when the evening starts to chill - every aspect of a visit to Willingham pub The Porterhouse has one thing in common: it’s warm, approachable, friendly.

Featuring chestnut and sage arancini as a starter option and home-baked pizza topped with a full Christmas dinner as a main, “we’re delighted to showcase this year's Christmas party menu here at the Porterhouse,” says the team. “Choose to dine in the cosy restaurant or our heated up snug Tipi. Our party season will start from the November 15, so come and celebrate with friends and family this festive season.”

For full details and to book go to theporterhousepub.com


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