If you go to Cambridge and become bored of the sightseeing, the seemingly endless crowds of tourists, and the small groups of monosyllabic teenagers clustered around these rip-off chain-store cafés, then restore your faith in the town by going to The Steps Café.
The Steps is on the side of Cambridge Market opposite the church. The market can be reached via King's Parade, Petty Cury or Sidney Street.
It may be hard to spot at first, but keep looking and you will discover a little door between Gap Kids and Top Man. That's it. Just a door and a small orange sign above bearing the legend 'The Steps'. If you are lucky, it will be open and the door will be ajar. There is a steep flight of steps1, leading down into a dark room. A sign above the entrance tells you to Mind Your Head. Go down the steps, and enter...
It is a rather small place, with a smoking and a non-smoking area, depending on your preference. Both sections are nearly always full. The close, smoky atmosphere and wood-panelled walls give it a cosy, friendly look, whether it's winter or summer.
Next to the counter, where customers' snacks are dispensed, there are a number of menus, listing the wonderful delicacies that the café serves.
Here are a few favourites:
- The hot chocolate is simple, but deliciously creamy
- The apple slice is sublimely 'appley', in a pleasing slice shape
- Chicken and chips
The Steps really is a wonderful place. Go there, and you can relax over a cup of tea - or anything else you desire - and let the world go by, over your head2.
The noticeboard by the entrance lists various interesting activities that students partake in as a viable alternative to heavy drinking, though don't be misled, the café is not purely studenty and is a focal point for everyone, from all walks of life.
The Steps is a wonderful place to eat. If you are in Cambridge and can find it, you won't be disappointed.