When it comes to finding a child-friendly restaurant, it can be a real jungle out there. We’re all too familiar with those afterthought menus: something frozen with fries, anyone? We’ve made it our mission to get the little ones excited about going to a restaurant, and trying out dishes and experiences that’re a world away from the stuff their palates might be used to!
We want to make dining out a voyage of discovery, so we asked our junior gastronomes to get their critic hats on and tell us exactly what they thought about the things they tried: and they took up the challenge!
Luke (aged 7) visited Zizzi Hampton Court
“I like coming to Zizzi after school. My favourite starter is the dough sticks, and then I also like the Margherita pizza and chocolate ice cream. They always give me colouring crayons too, for when I’m waiting for my food.”
Harriet (age 7.5) visited Maxwell’s Covent Garden
“I liked the food in baskets – I had 4 fish fingers in mine, but my friend only had 3! So we shared it – they were very yummy. I enjoyed all my food, especially the chocolate brownie. There was not enough chocolate sauce (my favourite), but the ice cream was delicious. I have asked my Mum & Dad to go again.”
Lola (aged 8) visited Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium
“Lady Dinah’s Cat Emporium was so good: you could stroke the cats but not if they were asleep. They had yummy cakes, yummy hot chocolates and yummy coffee. They had yummy everything to eat! They also had some lovely cats. There were two twins, and there were kittens: they were black and white. I can’t remember their names but they were adorable. I also bought some treats for Kiki, my pet cat, to play with!”
Mia (aged 11) visited Tredwell’s
“Tredwell’s is a homely yet sophisticated restaurant. There is always someone at the door to greet you and all members of staff are very cheerful and willing to help. I loved the style of Tredwell’s, almost rustic.
I had a set menu, and the presentation of food is absolutely fantastic. The dishes look very neat and precise but also adventurous: like you wouldn’t want to dig in and spoil it! The flavours are quite strong and bold, and together create different sensations: from sour but crunchy beetroot with a cooling relish, to crispy and tender burger. The textures of the dishes were unusual and interesting as well, the crunchiness of peanuts and crisp fresh beetroot added the finishing touches to the meals. The strong flavours are maybe not suitable for younger children, but I would say go for it if you have an outgoing taste!
I particularly liked the desserts as I have a very sweet tooth! They were very delicious. A variety of different desserts included salted caramel ice cream, and lemon and pineapple… The salted caramel ice cream was my favourite, as the flavour was like my taste buds were having a party! It was presented beautifully in an appealing black and white striped card pot that reminded me of fairgrounds; filled to the top with swirled ice cream and crunchy honeycomb crumbled on the top.
My experience at Tredwell’s was very interesting and I enjoyed the mixture of unusual and strong flavours, as well as some of my favourite tastes!”
Lucy (aged 11) & James (aged 13) visited Jamie’s Italian Manchester
“Our trip to Jamie’s Italian Manchester was one of the best dining experienced we’ve ever had. The waiting staff were very friendly and greeted us as soon as we entered. They suggested we try the artisan bread basket, so we had something to nibble on while we chose our dishes. The breads were divine and were particularly enjoyed by our 2-year-old brother, who is a bread monster. We chose a starter to share between the whole family – the cured meat plank – which went down a treat with our younger sibling, who ate all the salami! Despite this, there was enough meat for our whole family to enjoy.
My sister and I ordered our favourite pasta dishes: pomodoro and carbonara. I always judge a restaurant by its carbonara dish, and I’m pleased to say this one was the best I’ve ever tasted. My sister said the pomodoro was heavenly, and she doesn’t hand out compliments lightly. My little brother chose some happy fish fingers from the kids section of the menu. He couldn’t really say what he thought of it, though he wolfed it down!
By dessert we were all so full up with delicious food we though we couldn’t possibly fit anything else in, except for me. However, it turned out everyone wanted a bit of my Epic Brownie. It was crumbly, full of fudge and popcorn, giving it a soft but crunchy texture. This could’ve quite easily have been the best night of my life!
I recommend Jamie’s Italian for families with children (and adults!) of any age; it serves delicious food in the most beautiful surroundings, a stunning old bank – it’s also worth a trip to the toilets in the vaults!”