At the weekend DIY was undertaken at home. I will say no more about it, other than that I now have a beautifully decorated bathroom, but there came a point when I decided it was best to go out. This decision was made Saturday evening after a long day. Options were limited and needed to include food, so the 3 year old and I went out for dinner.
I didn’t want to seek refuge in the usual high street chains where children full of e-numbers run riot. We occasionally do ‘family pubs’, the sort where they rush at you with crayons and paper as soon as you enter with a child. A gesture which says; ‘we welcome children, but as long as they are occupied in a quiet activity like colouring’. I wanted a more grown up experience and decided to go to a restaurant without the expectation of receiving crayons. In fact, that was the last thing I wanted. I just wanted a good meal and the experience of eating out with my child not necessarily surrounded by lots of other people’s children.
I picked a local Italian restaurant, and early evening Saturday, we had no problem getting a table for two.
Obviously, the first thing Noo had to do was attempt to dismantle the pepper grinder. This seems to be de-rigueur for small children.
Once that was out of the way, I’d come prepared for that critical space between ordering food and it arriving.
I’d packed a game for us to play together rather than passing him an activity to do while I watched from the sidelines. This is a memory game called ‘Shopping Trolley’ from Orchard Toys (check out their brilliant range by clicking here).
There seems to be a view that abroad children in restaurants are tolerated more than in the UK. I don’t know if that’s true, I don’t have enough experience to comment. The staff on Saturday were lovely to Noo and he behaved brilliantly. The food was excellent, which is what I wanted. Noo had a half portion from the main menu which he enjoyed. I think it was a successful experiment. The restaurant got busier and Noo was ‘excited’ about being out in the ‘dark’ (very ‘The Tiger who Came to Tea’). I did have to tell him to stop dancing and to be a bit quieter but he was great company. It’s given me a confidence to do it again, next time as a family.
I am the vegetarian with the meat-eating son but that’s a whole other post.
I wondered what other people’s experiences are of eating out with small children? Do you stick to ‘child friendly’ or hang out in your haunts from pre-children?
Have you found eating out aboard a better or worse experience?
Drop me a comment I’d love to hear your experiences.