I was with Mrs HC in my local cinema the other night and we were eating in a Pizza restaurant before going to see the latest Bond picture.
Now it was our first visit to the said restaurant part of a small independent chain and we did not know what to expect. It was fairly early evening and on arrival there were quite a few children eating with their parents.
We sat down on our allotted table with a mother and two young hyperactive girls located on an adjacent table. In fact when we inspected the room there were possibly 90% of the tables with one or more adults and a plethora of children (well it was the half term holiday)
The menu was a classic pizzeria style menu in the Pizza Express mould. There was also a fairly hefty children’s section that was well thought out and exciting for our little ones and all reasonably priced.
However it was the lack of parental control by certain Yummy Mummy’s that galled me most. Children misbehaving and running round the place is dangerous as drinks are carried to the tables along with hot food, one group of boys played up and down the staircase and lift to this first floor restaurant. All this time the parents just sat there and ignored them. One mother just seemed to be bored and playing on her phone!
One more elderly lady (a granny perhaps) was sitting with two young children who were impeccably behaved through out, and a young girl on the next table to us with a school friend when they left the table to go to the toilet did rather boisterously run down the stairs and their Mother turned to us and remarked “when will they learn”!
Perhaps you might think me a grumpy old fart for making such comments but if you delve deeper into the restaurant scene and what the public expect and how they behave in our eating establishments then you would understand my dismay.
There was recently a very well crafted article in the Guardian when critic Jay Rayner commented about children’s menus. I could not agree more with him… we are culturally backward when it comes to eating out with children. What is more children should be taught how to behave in a restaurant what ever its style or purpose from a very early age.
I have very fond memories of eating in a Michelin starred restaurant in France when a primary school class of 4 & 5 year olds were bought into the restaurant and sat down to try some foie gras, snails, caviar, Steak tartare and high quality chocolate to educate their taste buds and palates.
Our meal was good and the film was very impressive it was however the lack of parental control of their young ones that had a great deal to answer for. One can live in hope…