Restaurant Hell

Tonight we took the kids and my Mum out for Holly’s birthday and also Mum is going back to Australia this week so it was a farewell dinner as well. We thought we’d kill two birds with one stone because my nerves simply don’t have the fortitude for two restaurant visits within a week.

Holly wanted to go to our local Thai place that we’ve been going to since we moved to London and I figured it was a good choice because if you go when they open at 5.30pm it’s usually empty. With four kids it’s all about minimising public embarrassment, so we got there at 5.31pm.

When we first went to this restaurant back in 2007, we only had Holly and she was a delightful three year old who knew how to behave in restaurants because back then we ate out a lot. She and I would get there early and do some colouring at the table while we waited for Rob to join us after work. The owners would always make such a fuss of Holly and loved having us there.

That is all but a distant memory now.

We’ve since had three boys and the owners have seen our family morph into the tornado of chaos that it is. We no longer get the lovely warm welcome we used to because the waiters know they’ll be picking eighty five billion pieces of rice off the floor later on. And possibly the walls.

After we’d parked our massive car over two parking spaces out the front, and before they could flip the ‘open’ sign to ‘closed’, we walked in and the boys bee-lined it straight for the candles they had on the table. I stood there with octopus baby flapping about trying to squish him into a high chair and Rob knocked an enormous pot plant of orchids off a shelf and onto the floor. We had arrived.

The restaurant manager was visibly irritated and I could tell he recognised me from our last visit. The one where Luca threw his seafood dumplings into their lovely Buddhist water fountain.

In case you were wondering seafood dumplings don’t float

After about seventeen trips to the toilet with the kids we sat down to eat. The usual stuff happened – Luca refused to eat anything but rice, Jude refused to eat anything but prawn crackers, Charlie refused to eat anything but popcorn (we took that with us) and Holly refused to eat anything except rice and sauce plus a couple of dumplings.

Jude was feral so I gave him whatever the hell he liked to play with, which was two forks. I really hope they don’t need too much wood filler to repair the table. Upside is I’m thinking he may have a bit of musical talent!

Once we removed the naked flames from reach of my budding pyromaniacs, Charlie and Luca made a pyramid out of popcorn on the table and then ate the lot before rolling all the un-popped corn onto the floor. It should add a bit of mystery when the waiters are cleaning up the rice “Arun, which curry does the popcorn come with?”.

There are positives to taking my kids out for dinner though. Restaurants can’t wait to get rid of us. The food arrives at lightning speed and you never need to ask twice for the bill.

So I’d actually classify this as a pretty successful restaurant experience as far as dining with my offspring goes.

And best part of all .. guess what time we were home?

In and out in 56 minutes. Not bad at all.




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