Monday 7 September 2009 7.53am
My normally well behaved children have presumably worked out that they dont want to eat in the sort of restaurants that attract the likes of Debrajoan!
Odd too that Serge seems to think that chains are for children. Part of the joy of living in London is that children can grow up enjoying a wide variety of food and, hopefully, avoid the faddyness of many of this generation of young adults.
Go ethnic. Try Dragon Castle. Plenty of kids there and no problems. My kids love Kennington Tandoori, and seemingly all kids love sushi. (If you cant face Yo Sushi, though kids love the conveyor belt, try the small place on Lower Marsh
.) Waiters in TAS can be lovely to small ones. The tapas places around Vauxhall.
Key things to look for when they are very young is fast service. Any two year old has a limited time when they can sit still. (We used to go to places in China Town where they practically try to stampede you through your meal.) Or brief the waiter in advance that you will want fast service and skip the starter. And plenty of fall back fillers. The bread in TAS is great and if a very small child is struggling with some of the new tastes at least they leave full.
With older children we employ a bribe system. Try something new, or finish an unfamiliar vegetable and they earn a chocolate. And learn that the unfamiliar can, though not always, be delicious. The pay back now is that they get very frustrated with school friends who on school trips dont seem to be able to eat anything. My daughter just came back from a sports camp which she absolutely loved. Her only complaint was the endless nuggets and burgers and NO vegetables.
If you want to take kids to a smart restaurant for perhaps a family occasion, it is a bit further afield but our favourite, well tried and tested, is Ransomes Dock in Battersea. (Family run and welcoming to both the very old and very young, in the way that more stylish places in SE1 may not be. Which together with good food and wine makes it a real treat.)
If you dont take the kids out to eat, or only take them to McDonalds and equivalent, how will they know how to behave. So Catch 22. Restaurants/diners in London discourage kids and then are surprised when kids then find themselves out of their confort zone when taken out.