Tredwells, 4A Upper St. Martins Lane, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9NY
It’s been a great bugbear of mine that excellent food and lunch with the family don’t go as hand-in-hand as they necessarily should. The usual parental trepidations over Spag Bol all over the floor, warring siblings and a stressful experience of telling the kids how not to behave for an hour and a half take over, and you take the easy way out and end up at Nandos! (I know…I’ve been there!) The nearest we usually get to an enjoyable family meal with good food is an afternoon at Pizza Express, which whilst very pleasant (blog here) certainly has its limitations in the menu department.
With these experiences in mind, a family lunch at Tredwells in Covent Garden (part of the Marcus Wareing family of restaurants, led by Chantelle Nicholson and full of Victorian charm) might not be high on your list of places to take the kids.
But here’s the thing…it really should be!
What Tredwells has managed to create, which is pretty unique, is a fine dining restaurant with enough bells and whistles to keep the regular punters happy; not to mention the excellent food, but with enough character and forward thinking to not only allow a family to dine together, but to make it an experience to remember for the little ones.
To pass the time during the wait for food, there was the obligatory colouring book which our two really enjoyed. On the menu, for the more adventurous of children, there is a miniature tasting menu that they can enjoy. Whilst our two are regulars to eating out, we’re not quite at that level yet (if we’re honest…someway off with the boy!) and instead plumped for the chicken breast with breadcrumbs off the main children’s menu. Served with sweet potato chips and a side bowl of peas, broccoli and gravy, it was a steal at £5 each (when you think of what you pay at any mediocre chain restaurant).
What really made it for the kids however was what came afterwards. Our maître d’ promised that if they ate all of their lunch, there may be a little surprise trip to the kitchen to make their own dessert.
I’ve never seen them eat so fast!
They were then able to make their own soft serve salted caramel ice-cream, honeycomb and chocolate sauce dessert. Pulling the handle on the ice-cream machine, swirling the bowl, picking their own honeycomb out of the tub and squeezing the chocolate sauce themselves. It was a brilliant gesture by the restaurant, especially when you think there was no extra costs added to the bill (certainly made the service charge more than worthwhile), and an experience that the kids will take away with them for a very long time.
We can’t thank them enough, a brilliant way to try and integrate family dining into a more formal atmosphere; by presenting them with unforgettable moments!