The Kids Are Alright
With recent research from restaurant group Bistrot Pierre indicating that 75% of families are choosing dining out as a way to spend ‘quality time’ together more often than they did five years ago, the need for a decent kids menu and a way of keeping them entertained is becoming an essential item on any restaurant’s menu.
So when we got wind that established artist and mum of two, Julia Whitehead, had created an activity pack for Bistrot Pierre… our own father of two, Phil Turner, headed down to their Ecclesall Road restaurant to find out if it would really keep the iPhones at bay.
“Can I watch something on your phone?” These are words that every parent has heard countless times, and in many ways they are a blessing and a curse.
If you want to be the sort of family that enjoys eating out, then a bit of screen time is sometimes the only thing that means you can get through a meal without making the whole thing a painful, rather than a pleasurable experience.
But on the flip side, most parents are well aware that sticking their beloved three-year-old in front of an iPhone every time they fancy a panini in peace, isn’t likely to produce well rounded future human beings.
So a decent kids activity pack can actually be a big thing when it comes on choosing where to eat; Pizza Express have always pulled out the stops on this front so it’s no coincidence it’s always full of young families.
Bistrot Pierre is a classier establishment – but until now – not necessarily one I would have gone to with the kids. And it’s noticeable that as we take our seats at lunchtime in the middle of half term, most of the tables are filled with over 50s, rather than under 5s, so I’m guessing they’ve some work to do on that front.
And I’m sure the new activity pack will help. It’s got plenty of the usual colouring in and drawing activities you get in most kid-friendly restaurants but is much bigger (16 pages) than anything I’ve come across before and has heaps more inventive games. Ou est Pierre? (a French take on Where’s Wally), noughts and crosses and the grid game are just a few included – meaning our five-year-old was kept happy for the whole meal. And trust me, that’s a feat in itself.
As ever, the food is excellent; me and my wife shared a smoked chicken and avocado salad and a beef burger with gruyere cheese which went down perfectly while there’s lots of choice for the kids. The menu enfant (yes, everything is fairly French here) includes the likes of roasted chicken breast, fish goujons, tartes flambées and macaroni cheese plus a dessert and drink all for £6.50.
And although our two-year-old was probably a little young to be kept quiet, for the first time in a long time, neither of them asked to play on my phone once. Well worth a visit.