With two under two meals out are a rareity and if we do dare to dine it’s a military operation. A sharp intake of breath on my part is also required and you have to learn not to give a damn about what other people think, especially when the toddler decides that he would very much like his voice to be heard.
The idea of going out for a decadent afternoon tea in one of my favourite London locations is now the stuff of dreams. However, I could not resist an invitation from the lovely team at afternoontea.co.uk. to give afternoon tea at Monmouth Kitchen a whirl as well as putting their children’s menu to the test. So we were bold and brave and the four of us ventured into the heart of London. I slapped on some lipstick and the toddler, aka the mini taster who will turn two next week and is very much at the stage of pushing ever boundary in sight, almost kept it together. As did I!
Located in one of my favourite pockets in London, the colourful and vibrant Seven Dials, Monmouth Kitchen provides a relaxed and contemporary setting with a touch of glamour and keeps good company with a few of my favourite hot spots, including the Wild Food Cafe, 26 Grains and Monmouth Coffee close by.
It’s afternoon tea offering with a Mediterranean twist, is a welcome break from the traditional norm. Striking the right balance between savoury and sweet, there was not a cucumber sandwich in sight. Instead we enjoyed a trio of savoury bruschetta and mini tacos, which were imaginative and delicious. And for our carb loving toddler he received his very own mini pizza, the perfect ancidote post tantrum on arrival to the restaurant, much to the delight of those around us.
As suspected the sweet offerings where a hit with both the mini and the chief taster. The fresh fruit tartlet and the white peach and oregano panna cotta were refreshing and not too heavy and it turns out churros and Puruvian chocolate sauce and flourless chocolate orange cake will buy parents of toddlers at least five minutes of peace and quiet, but will also leave quite a mess.
The hot chocolate got the thumbs up not only from the mini taster but also the chief taster and he knows a thing or two about a good hot chocolate, so that is high praise.
The scones, amaretto and lemon flavoured with homemade lemon and necatarine preserve and vanilla mascarpone, were also a great twist on what is normally the centrepiece of a traditional afternoon tea.
I would be lying if I said it was a totally care free and relaxed experience, but that’s the reality of dining out with a nearly two year old and a five month old baby. There were tantrums and tears and baby Reuben needed pacified throughout by the magic of my milk machines.
However the menu was fantastic and the staff were faultless, incredibly helpful, and most importantly patient. Our waitor Gabor was super friendly and although at times I wanted the earth to swallow me up inbetween screams and glares from other diners, he and his colleagues made the whole experience seamless.
Long gone are the days when it was perceived that children should be seen and not heard. Pushing boundaries is normal and healthy. It’s after all an important milestone, one that will however mean I’ll be biting my lip and pulling my hair out for the next year I suspect. But the chocolate covered face was well worth the chaos and needless to say he slept the whole way home after peaking from his sugar hit! Maybe next time however we’ll leave the kids at home and enjoy an overnight stay and put the breakfast menu to the test after a long lie. Wishful thinking.