Does anyone else find eating out leaves them strung out on “what ifs?”
The kind of what ifs that never occurred before kids- and possibly not even before kids came with social media and the perfect parents of message boards. Yeah, you know, the ones who leapt straight off mother’s milk and into perfect restaurant behaviour, no apps or colouring book needed, no unpredictable love-hate relationship with peas, no habit of spilling food, no microscopic attention span and certainly no voice like a foghorn. Meanwhile you have an actual toddler. And you’re left feeling like, “OK, we want to eat out as a family, but where while they’re still learning to act a little less like the predator from the latest Jurassic Park movie?”. Somewhere that offers good, real food but understands how to make young families comfortable.
Good family dining is more than just some fish fingers on the menu and a colouring sheet. There are a range of factors to consider. Luckily in and around Ealing we have a variety of great places and I’m going to tell you, today, about one of my favourites. I don’t just like this place because you can get a large wine with a large cake, just so you know. I mean let’s face it, that is definitely on the list; but mainly it’s because the Childe loves it and it’s perfect for young families. Perivale Farm, located between Pitshanger and Perivale, is a great value family dining option.
First, you have a choice of carvery or children’s meals with customisable sides. Fussy kid? No worries, any veg or carb can be traded. Kid who eats what you eat? Hangry kid? No worries, get them a carvery. There’s plenty of veg and as well as vegetarian they also do vegan options.
The adult meals are also from a good sized pub style menu or the carvery. The plates come in various sizes too, which is useful. I usually get a small plate, because I don’t want to compromise on the cake situation, which I will elaborate on in a little bit.
The second family factor is the layout and staff. They are very much a family friendly place and the staff are super kind to little ones. I’ve been offered plastic cutlery (not for me. Honest), they always greet my little girl and there are even seasonal events like “Meet Santa”. One side of the restaurant is reserved for families: booths and various tables where your children will have the experience of eating out in a proper restaurant – just surrounded with other families. There’s even a small, thoughtfully stocked play area with both toddler toys and computer games/air hockey for older kids.
Finally, I must admit the dessert factor does pull me in. You’ll find two tempting displays- ice cream and frankly quite enormous cakes- up by the till. Most kid’s meals come with a free scoop, but if you like a dessert do try some cake yourself! Or to share. There is even a “cake-away” service. I usually go for the mint chocolate cake.
Given all this, it can get incredibly busy at times – my tip would be go early or late with under fives. No one wants to wait, especially for cake. Well, apart from the perfect social media families but I think they prefer raw broccoli anyway.
Please do let me know in the comments if you’d like to hear about any other local family friendly restaurants or if you have any you recommend I try!