I’ve talked about what you need to take when you out with kids before on my Tips for Eating Out with Kids page, I highlight the need to take:
- Small toys
But what happens if you do like we did this weekend and forget to take the activity bag?
On Saturday we are invited to join my sister-in-law as she celebrates her 60th birthday.
Our Saturday morning starts off quite busy with Lewis’s Tee Ball game at 8:30, stopping at the shops on the way home to buy new thongs as Lewis has swimming lessons on Monday. Dashing back home to dress before we are back in the car to collect my elderly mother-in-law who lives 20 minutes in the wrong direction of the restaurant. With all this dashing about I clean forget the activity bag.
On time at 12noon we pull into the car park in front of the family owned and run Italian restaurant Three Coins located in Mount Lawley, Perth. It is flurry of greetings and birthday wishes around the table. I mention to my niece (who has a 3-year-old girl) that I forgot the colouring, she reply’s “so did I.” I immediately think I will pop down the street to buy something, but on speaking to the Italian chef he offers crayons for the children and says they can draw on the white paper table clothes that are laid over the traditional red and white check clothes.
Lewis happily draws a house (what else would a budding builder draw?) as the antipasto platters arrive.
As many of you know I am hopeless at taking photos of food and of course the dishes are all eaten before I think of picture-taking, so I will just have to describe it. We have the most delicious prosciutto trimmed of all fat, roll mops, salmon mousse on melba toast, pecorino cheese, fresh Italian bread, frittata, large bowls of back and green olives, bruschetta brimming with tomatoes and the most flavoursome arancini balls that are filled with tomato flavoured rice, oozing creamy cheese inside a crispy coating. Even fussy eater Lewis enjoys the selection.
Whilst we wait for our main courses the chef invites the kids up to help with making fettuccine. First they watch Luca the chef roll the pasta doh through the pasta machine over and over until the doh is paper-thin.
Then Lewis is taken into the kitchen to wash his hands. Luca shows Lewis how to pick up each sheet of pasta sprinkle it with semolina flour and layer it several times before rolling the pasta ready to be cut later. Lewis who loves to help cook is having a ball – I think maybe he is not going to be a builder but now a chef 🙂
He finishes up in time to wash his hands and sit back at the table for main course. Lewis and my great-niece have ordered off the children’s menu (margherita pizza and fettuccine with butter and parmesan sauce). We adults have a choice of baked gnocchi, lamb ragu on fettuccine, fish of the day or crusted lamb cutlets which is what I choose. My lamb is beautiful, deliciously soft and juicy pink in the middle.
As soon as the kids have finished eating they were back at the pasta making table. I arrive in time to see the ravioli being pressed out and cut into squares.
Then the kids help seal the edges of each piece of pasta. I speak to the owner Sabrina to find out if the pasta making is on in the evenings, she advises “no, the restaurant gets too busy, the pasta making is only on Saturday’s at lunch.” What a shame, though I can understand their reasoning.
To finish off our meal we all have coffees to go with the birthday cake.
All too soon three hours have flown by without one complaint of being bored and asking to go home.
So what is the secret to a successful dining experience with kids?
Ok it would have helped if I’d packed the activities, but really it comes down to choosing a restaurant that caters for children.
Apart from the wonderful pasta making activity at the Three Coins, the kids were also given crayons to use and offered a children’s menu consisting of not only food that children eat but it was also authentic food for that restaurant.
Have you found a great restaurant to take the kids?
Please tell me about it in the comments.
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