Eating out before children was a simple affair. You chose your restaurant, rocked up and enjoyed fabulous food, oodles of wine and hopefully sparkling company – everybody was happy. I rather hoped that not much would change on the eating out front, after having a baby, however I was soon enlightened.
I have a delightful and rather feisty three year old girl who is perhaps a little more awkward to eat out with than most of her contemporaries, she is not 100% sold on the whole food issue and gets bored very quickly, which means that meals out are somewhat challenging.
So I am always on the lookout for restaurants which are child friendly. By child friendly I mean that the staff welcome small people with open arms, there is quality, healthy food to tempt little taste buds and ideally there is something there (please god!) to entertain them when it all gets too much! Child friendly restaurants = a happy meal for us all.
Is St Andrews Child friendly?
If you’d asked me this a year ago I would have probably said no, but it turns out I wasn’t looking.. Ask me again … go on! YES St Andrews does have plenty of child friendly options for dining out and here are my top three
www.vicstandrews.co.uk St Mary’s Place
The Victoria is one of my favourite bars in St Andrews. It has a really stylish urban feel with great quirky vintage touches. The music is right up my street, the cocktails superb and the menu fantastic. Doesn’t sound very child friendly so far does it? Well you would be mistaken: The Vic is top of my list of kid friendly restaurants and here are some of the reasons why.
For starters it ticks my entertainment box with a rather large basket of books, toys, crayons and building blocks for younger kids. With board games available for older children. It also comes up trumps for food with an extraordinarily reasonable, (£3.95 for 2 courses), children’s menu which delivers quality produce – but best of all it is displayed inside an ‘etch a sketch’.
On Saturday they have … wait for it … FACE PAINTING for the children. On the first Saturday of each month they also run Children’s Art Workshops for only £3.50 per kiddie. All of this is enjoyed in a very stylish, relaxed, adult setting. You can’t ask for more – you just can’t.
My little one had a ball here last week playing with building blocks and colouring in while BC and I actually got the chance to enjoy two magnificent courses AND coffee. We don’t often hang around for coffee when out with our wee tearaway.
For somewhere that pleases children and adults alike it is hard to beat this place. I urge you to try it out.
CLAYTON CARAVAN PARK
If you have children it’s worth heading 4 miles out of St Andrews to the restaurant at Clayton Caravan Park. It is open to all and believe me it really is worth checking out. Two words – SOFT PLAY. All too often Soft Play, whilst a winner for the children, is not brilliant for adults. Food can be ropey and the environment a bit, well tired. The restaurant and kiddies corner at Clayton is a different proposition entirely.
The restaurant is a lovely big bright area – relaxed, friendly and really well appointed with lovely views over the Fife countryside. The kids menu includes haddock and chips, chicken goujons and mac cheese all freshly prepared – can’t comment on the taste as we could not persuade our one away from the soft play area to eat! The adult menu is extensive with a breakfast menu, a snack menu, a grill menu, a lunch menu (including classics such as lasagne and scampi and chips), a Sunday Carvery and finally High Tea also served on a Sunday.
From the restaurant you will see a door marked Kids World … enter ye into the kingdom of child pleasure. There is a slide, ball pits, climbing nets and frames and sensory play equipment and best of all it is totally FREE. There are a few tables around the play area so that parents can sit and eat their meal whilst supervising the wee ones. We just had a quick sarnie and a latte when we were there but it was lovely and my wee one had a ball.
Clayton is Special because as a parent I have done the rounds of places with soft play and have drunk many cups of watery coffee and eaten many bags of Pom Bears and greasy chips. Clayton offers the best of both worlds, which believe me, is a rare thing – soft play alongside a tasteful restaurant serving quality food made from fresh produce. It is a gem and I almost don’t want to share it ….don’t tell too many people!!
www.mitchellsdeli.co.uk Market Street
Designed by the same team that fitted out The Vic, Mitchell’s Deli is a favourite lunchtime haunt for the Cameron three. BC and I had often gone as a couple and I had never really given much thought to it being child friendly until relatively recently.
We were booked in for lunch with another couple and our two children (3 and 5). My daughter had a cold and was EXTREMELY cranky. We actually turned up and started to explain that due to our daughter (who was by this stage having a full meltdown) we might have to cancel. Within minutes the fantastic member of staff who met us had whipped out stickers (always a winner) and had managed to get my daughter to start giggling (she was besotted). He assured us that all would be well and seated us at a large table so that we would have plenty of room for the games and colouring pencils that were produced for their amusement. I was mightily impressed. Mitchell’s interior is cool, kooky and very adult – but believe me they welcome kids with open arms and indeed market themselves as a family friendly restaurant. The children’s menu is really impressive offering everything from Korma to free range chicken fillets at a very reasonable price of £2.95 per dish. My love for this St Andrews gem just grows and grows. Try it!
There are of course many more child friendly restaurants to choose from in St Andrews. Pizza Express, Bella Italia and Zizzis for example – all very child friendly with special menus and activity packs to keep little people occupied.
Mitchell’s, The Victoria and Clayton are my top three because they all go above and beyond when it comes to catering for children whilst keeping the adults smiley too.
It’s all too rare but these guys really understand what it takes to keep the whole family happy. Try them out, you won’t regret it.