For anyone who hasn't stepped onto Northampton's newest student quarter, the Waterside Campus is like discovering a little village.
Crossing the bridge off Becket's Park can feel like leaving Northampton altogether. The campus is a freshly-landscaped beauty spot that looks 20 years ahead of the town centre only a few hundred metres north of it.
Granted, most of what you see is only accessible with a student pass. But here's a secret - the first stop on campus is a little-known restaurant open to everyone, and it's a great getaway all on its own.
And here's the best bit; the best time to go is Friday and Saturday night. While all the students hit the town, Waterside restaurant becomes a number-one date spot. It's a quiet, snug and atmospheric bubble where the Nene looks her best and the menu is suitably fancy to know you're treating yourself.
Pick a drink from Waterside's fairly extensive bottled selection (no draught, but hey ho) decide if you're feeling sirloin steak or roast salmon tonight. There's a good slosh of luxury in most things on the menu. Don't skip on the chips - hot dang, does Waterside do some of the best chips in Northampton.
The price is a little steep but it's worth it. You're looking at £30 a head with a starter or dessert, but this kitchen is putting out some seriously tasty food.
The team at Waterside is tucked away from the rest of town when really it needs more attention from the public. It's also open for lunches, so make a date to visit Northampton's new student village and pop in for a spot-on evening.
And, for the first time ever, the Chronicle & Echo's reveiwer can recommend a stayover if you want to make your trip to the restaurant a late one or need to put up a friend. More evidence that Waterside Campus is its own village, there is a hotel on site. Sunley Hotel is in league with some of the town's best and the staff are courtesy and helpful. The showers are awesome, the view is nice, and it does continental breakfast too. It makes a good combo with the Waterside restaurant nearly next door.