Being a single parent, I eat out a lot less than I used to. Long, lazy lunches and evenings spent in cosy restaurants are all too often replaced with fish fingers, oven chips, and a liberal splash of tomato ketchup. Still though, I do love the occasional opportunity to take the children out for a meal, and expand their culinary horizons whilst also getting a night off from the washing up.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned though, it’s that dining with kids can be a bit of a challenge, to say the least. Keeping them happy and entertained isn’t always easy, and so I’ve spent quite a bit of time thinking about my dream dining experience with kids, and the kind of restaurants in that fit the bill. Here’s what I really want to see when it comes to taking the children out for dinner in London…
A kids’ menu that isn’t limited to beige offerings
Okay, so I’ve already admitted that fish fingers are a staple in my household. But when it comes to dining out, I want to have the opportunity to introduce my kids to something a little out of the ordinary, that they wouldn’t necessarily eat at home or at school. I believe that it’s important for them to try new things, but so many restaurants seem to stick to the real basics.
Some entertainment to keep them happy
As an adult, I can think of nothing better that sitting quietly and enjoying a beautiful meal whilst watching the world go by. If you have kids yourself though, you’ll know that their idea of a great time is quite the opposite. They get restless being in one place for too long, and restaurants that put even a little thought into their entertainment always get a thumbs-up from me. A colouring book or a puzzle is always a good idea.
The right balance between child & adult friendly
The places where you kids would choose to eat are often not the places that would be at the top of your own list. And of course, you have to make compromises as a parent. My dream dining experience though would strike a happy balance between the two. There’d be a great wine list, served by the glass, but also a kids menu with options that will keep them happy. If I could find a place just like this, I’d quite quickly become a loyal regular!
Staff that are mindful of the fact that you’re dining with children
Great waiting staff can make all the difference to your dining experience when you have little ones in tow. The best ones will know to ask if you need smaller cutlery or an extra plate, and they’ll be more than happy to bring over a high chair if required. They make life easier for you, they bring the bill swiftly, and they’ll make your meal a much more pleasant experience. Staff like this are worth their weight in gold.
How do you feel about dining out with your kids? Do you enjoy it, or is it something that you tend to avoid? And where are your usual go-to places? Leave a comment and let me know!