Monday, May 25, 2015

This business of kiddies' restaurants

A few weeks ago on Instagram, I posted a pic of my kids at the Sp*r and I said something like you have to drag me there.


There's two things: 1) the quality of food at that place has gone down dramatically over the years and yet the price has increased as dramatically

To be fair, my closest one is one of the best Sp*rs I have ever been at...and I will happily have a breakfast there on a Sat after gym (I say this but the last time was probably a year ago if not longer!).

2) and this is where people think I'm crazy... I really want to engage with my children, not have them off somewhere playing. I actually enjoy talking to the kids - they're funny, have interesting insights and observations and as far as I'm concerned, I don't get enough of them :)

I feel if we're paying good money (and a cheap meal for us these days runs at least R300 with 3 of us drinking water) then I want to have a good experience.

I want to not have to raise my voice just to be heard above the screaming kids and I want a hot, tasty meal, not something slapped together.

That was the first incident.

Then we went to Panar*tti about a week and a half later. I've since learned that they are part of the same group...aha!

Granted, it was G-stone which for me is practically hell on earth. That is the Sp*r I swore I would not go back to 5 years ago and I've kept to it.

The food was less than average and I may be cheap but it KILLS me to spend R90 on a pasta that is horrible. I could make it at home, and much nicer.

So that was incident two, and I declared that was that.

I refuse to go to restaurants just for the kids anymore. If I go to a place with a kiddies play area, they have to have decent food (like Bambanani).

My favourite Indian place, Thava in Norwood, sent us a Happy Anniversary email. I was DELIGHTED and so we made a booking and went for Mother's Day.

And it was lovely.

There were real tablecloths and not a crayon or colouring page in sight (that we didn't bring :)) We took a few things with us - one had a plain notebook and the other had a colouring book, with a few pencil crayons, and that was that. But mostly we chatted.

Connor tasted quite a few dishes but Kendra stuck to her Chicken Korma. I always get Chicken Biryani and D had two different tappas dishes.

I was/ am very happy.

This wasn't the first time - we've been there 4 times in total, 3 times with kids in tow. A few months ago we went to To Thai For which was also lovely and the kids behaved well.

I might sound like a fuddy-duddy but I believe that if you require more of children, they'll live up to that potential you see in them. Obviously we won't go out at 8pm when it's time for bed, or when they're crazy hungry - we set them up for success.

And now that we've had such great experiences, I'm not going back to the old way... unless it's for a quick Sat morning breakfast.

How do you feel about kiddies' restaurants?

PS D has none of my issues....when I did the jozimeetup talk, he happily took them for lunch at the Sp*r. He says he needs some peace and quiet from the Talkative Twins :)


  1. We tend not to go to kiddie restaurants because as you said the food is terrible. Our food policy for Keiden is if we won't eat it, then we can't expect him to eat it. This means we go to a lot of kid friendly places, ones that don't mind kids, but don't have a play area or colouring in sheets. We've even been to a finer dinning spot with him, and he's 15 months old - and ate more than the restaurant expected him too :)

    A while back Cat had a post about something similar. She said we teach them how to behave out, and if they're always going to somewhere with a play area etc. then they can't learn how to behave at places without it. It's stayed with me.

    1. Thanks Cassey

    2. :D There is something to be said for how reading the blogs of moms with older kids shapes my parenting. So thank you lady :)

  2. Am going to have another go at blogging :-) (come visit me :-) ). I can't do noisy restaurants anymore and both my kids are now at the age you can actually take them to finer dining. Although in saying that my kids are fussy and there are some places they simply won't eat what they have.

  3. Well you obviously know my stance on this - in the meantime we have done two other restaurants. Ocean basket - which is chain but no kiddies area etc and went very well. We also went to Burger Bistro with my cousin - which we all totally loved. No kiddies anything but they loved looking at all the old movie memorobilia , the vinyl records etc. WE did take note books but they actually chatted most of the time. I love it - huge sucess

  4. We don't go unless our children invite us...the food is terrible and the price high. I agree with you that it is more fun to interact with children than have them off in a play area.

  5. Oh my, this is a topic that I could have an entire separate blog about. I have written about it before (, we don't eat out at kid/chain restaurants ever... Real restaurants, with real food for real people. Years and years ago, even before we watched a movie about a chap that just ate for from Big M, and was horrendously ill... it was enough to put us off fast food forever and we don't eat anything that looks like a take-out, and so neither do our kids. The irony is not lost on me, that the family with the most kids, won't visit a restaurant geared towards kids. We eat three meals a day together as a family every day, without special entertainment or special activities for our kids. As soon as they want to be at the table, they sit on my knee and as soon as they are able to and want to, they get their own space at the table. The expectation is that it is a place for family conversation and feasting. We expect the same when we go out, dinner together, around the table. There are ten of us at the table, that's enough confusion without adding crayons and balloons and so on to the mix!!!

  6. I don't like those restaurants and I refuse to eat bad over priced food just because you have a play area for kids. I was at Bam.bani last year - hated the play area (I refused to let K play there) and the food was just average. I generally don't mind if a place has a play area but it has to be one where I can watch my child play for a few minutes - I don't spend enough time with her in my opinion so I don't want to get her "shipped off" to play during the little time we have together. Maybe in a few years when the child can make demands I'll compromise but for now NO!!!! if she needs to play we'll head to a park or stay home!!


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