Andrew: Before we got married and had Dylan, this blog used to be almost 70% about the restaurants we visited while dating. Well, obviously restaurant-hopping was greatly limited when Dylan was breast-feeding, but now that he’s started eating more solids, we’ve started exploring again!
Jasmine: Dylan had his first taste of solids (steamed carrot) when he was six months old, and since then it’s been a lot of fun offering him a variety of table foods and cooking for him too! It has also made bringing him out easier- previously he would have to be held while he vainly snatched at food that we had to push out of his reach. Now, he can be part of mealtimes and feed himself while we eat and maybe have a civilised conversation too. This baby has tried quite a few cuisines, from Japanese to Western to Italian!
Andrew and Jasmine: Some of our guidelines for baby-friendliness include:
Availability of High Chairs: High chairs are a given. The Ikea ones are the best at this stage as that is what we use at home. The wooden ones are meant for bigger kids and Dyl wriggles, stands and even turns around backwards in them. Helps when the restaurant is more spacious too, cos it means that people won’t keep bumping into him.
Menu: menu is baby-friendly, healthy, nutritious and allows Dyl to feed himself (so that we can eat too!)
Facilities: Proximity to washroom, and baby room. Most disastrous case was when we went to this Lebanese restaurant at Greenwood which had a miniscule toilet and I had no choice but to change him WHILE CARRYING HIM. Nonetheless he was still uncomfy and kept squirming and bawling – that was a workout on its own.
Staff: This is where Bali really stood out and we haven’t found such standards here. In one restaurant there, they didn’t have high chairs and the waitresses set up a comfortable area for him by putting 2 chairs and many cushions together. They even took turns to carry him while we were having dinner.
Play Facilities: attached playroom or garden scores MAJOR BONUS POINTS
Here are some places we’ve brought Dillie too lately (meaning the past few months) and our thoughts on their baby-friendliness:
Andrew: Service was really good here and the waiter offered to prepare some complimentary toast specially for him when they usually charge for the bread basket. Dylan enjoyed the little mini-burgers for him too. 🙂 It was quite special bringing him here, because we still had memories of celebrating one of our Valentines’ Day here.
Andrew: We really enjoyed ourselves here. However, the high chair was too big for Dillie and he kept wanting to climb out of it.
Jasmine: I was super excited about this restaurant as many bloggers had raved about it being the best Italian buffet in town, and it was! Aromatic truffle risotto, best selection of parma ams and cheeses at ANY buffet I’ve been to. However, we had not factored in the too-big high chair, which meant that Dyl always had to be closely supervised instead of left to eat on his own. However, he seemed to like the spread we prepared for him (plucked from the buffet), which included carrots, oven-roasted potatoes and cheddar and parmesan.
Jasmine: This is one of our favourite hole-in-the-wall type restaurants, with some excellent Italian pasta here. I have been here several times over the last few years and have yet to be disappointed. Dilly enjoyed it too, and spent forever gnawing on a baguette with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), while turning around backwards to smile at the girl at the next table. Pfft.
Andrew: Dillie was at a phase where he kept wanting to stand, so this was quite tough as he kept wanting to break free from the chair.
Our dear boy standing tall and proud
Nonetheless, the bread kept him really occupied and there was fantastic mashed potato which he loved and so did Mummy and Daddy. It’s always great when we can all share food as a family. Downside was the restaurant was a little squeezy and also tables were quite full of stuff, so we had to keep stopping him from reaching out for stuff.
Jasmine: Yes, Dilly also got to try my dark rye bread with cheddar. He eats a lot of bread at restaurants coz it’s easily available, he loves the taste and range of textures especially when topped with cheese or EVOO and can spend forever masticating just one slice = more eating time for me. Outside of restaurants, we rarely give him bread as it’s processed, but inside restaurants, it’s a lifesaver. Everything in moderation 🙂
DB Bistro Moderne
Andrew: We saw quite a lot of kids and babies in this restaurant. Menu was kid-friendly – burgers and fries, but not exactly baby-friendly. Nonetheless, anywhere with bread is a winner for our dear Dillie. High chair was good too! Big minus points though as the baby room was almost 10 minutes walk away and the worst part was I brought him there only to realise he hadn’t pooped!
Jasmine: Actually, there was a bathroom inside the restaurant, dear. Here’s a pic of their signature burger with foie gras in the centre!
Jasmine: I love bringing Dyl to Japanese restaurants as there is a fairly healthy range of textures and tastes. We have been to Sun with Moon, Tampopo Grand, Sushi Tei and MOF. Dyl loves cucumber sushi (yes, he eats the seaweed too), chawanmushi and green tea soba.
Jasmine: We didn’t get to go to Savour 2013 as I was in confinement then, so when we had a couple free hours that weekend between family commitments this year, we decided to go on a whim! Savour is essentially an outdoor dining carnival consisting of a gourmet village “inhabited” by different celebrity and Michelin-starred chefs from around the world, selling their signature items at fast food prices.
Andrew: Obviously this would score low on baby-friendliness index – no high chair, menu completely not for babies, and very crowded!
For this case, it’s more of us adapting to ensure he doesn’t fuss too much by bringing a banana to entertain him (while we eat food from 1-Michelin star restaurants!) and bringing his bike instead of a stroller, because of space constraints.
Jasmine: Well, we enjoyed the gourmet experience and Dilly enjoyed the breezy stroll by Marina Bay.
I wanted to let Dyl try some of the dishes (ok, just the duck breast and pork belly) but Andrew, being the more cautious parent, vetoed it, so Dyl had to settle for banana. Heh.
Andrew: Well, in conclusion, while there are certain factors that make some restaurants more baby-friendly, it’s also how you adapt to the circumstances and ensure that your child is sufficiently entertained throughout.