Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Jamie's Italian Leeds

So it's no secret that we love eating out as a family. It's something we did regularly together well before we had children and as soon as Son 1 was born, we introduced him to the joys of eating out early on. All our children are used to sitting in restaurants - they are not always 100% perfectly well behaved but they know the score; they know they have to sit still and can't go running round, they know they have to use their manners and they know we expect them to eat what they choose. We always ensure they choose their own main course so that way they cannot complain! We love going into Leeds and trying the new restaurants that keep popping up all the time, and one of our favourites is Jamie's Italian on Park Row, Leeds. We've been a few times but to be honest never with the children before, so when we were invited along, it seemed like a good chance to try it out en famille!

We booked for midday but owing to an unexpected fun run in Bradford - we were stuck there for over an hour with a screaming baby which was fun - we were AN HOUR late. We rang Jamie's who were very accommodating and told us to not stress and just to get there when we could. I hate being late so this calmed me a little. When we got there I was impressed to see a sign outside that said, "kids eat free" - brilliant idea. But what would the Jamie's Italian Kid's Menu be like? The children were given a pack each full of goodies and fun stuff. Someone really knows their stuff as the contents were perfect for children of 4 and 7. We got stickers, crayons, a puzzle, a game and good colouring. Win!

Now for the really fun stuff and something I have NEVER seen before - the kid's menu could be viewed through this slide viewer (I cannot work out what they are called!) which you "click" to get to the next photo of food! The kids had never seen one before and we had a lot of fun flicking through and explaining to them how it worked. Genius! There is also a paper menu for those who do not like clicking.

Son 2 chose meatballs and pasta for his main course - the waiter was great and let them have as much parmasan as they wanted (they are obsessed with it!) the food tasted great and was perfect for someone his age. He was even given age appropriate cutlery which restaurants NEVER do - but really is quite obvious. Again, genius.

Our five month old baby (I could NOT get a picture of her keeping still so apologies for the blur!) tried out a brand new high chair which was probably one of the best I have seen - I hate those cheap wooden ones you usually see in restaurants - this one had obviously been chosen by someone who actually has experience of eating out with kids - maybe Jamie himself? Who knows? She damaged many serviettes but the waiter kindly replaced them and was not grossed out by the dribbling. Luckily.

Right behind us was this awesome looking servery with delicious breads and oils - sort of sums up Jamie's Italian really. The smell is intoxicating, makes you hungry as soon as you walk in...

Son 1 chose salmon in a bag which came with a "shake me" salad. I had to keep reminding myself that the kids meals were free - the quality was absolutely awesome. He wolfed down the salmon but was less keen on the green beans - maybe peas could have been an option?

I was really impressed by the kids salad - it had ribbons of carrot, grapes, lettuce and tomato. It was a really cute idea and the boys loved it. Anything in a mysterious jar is always a crowd pleaser with kids eh?

Both hubby and I ordered the porchetta which was amazing. It's the sauces and dressings that really set this place apart - the attention to detail is second to none. Yet it's informal and relaxed at the same time as being quite posh if that makes sense?

For pudding the boys chose ice cream which again, was divine. I thoroughly recommend the caramel flavour which was RIGHT on.

For child friendliness you really can't beat Jamies. There were actually loads of families in there - maybe we would have felt slightly more comfortable if the families had been sitting together, I think we would have felt less self conscious about the toilet related jokes that our sons are currently into...

I asked the boys a few questions about their experience...
1. What did you do until your food arrived, "we messed around with this red thing and I drew a lot of pictures of Angry Birds. Only they are secret so do not show ANYONE."
2. What did you eat and did you like it? "I had salmon which was very tasty and healthy at the same time. Salmon makes you live longer so I always order it. Plus it's my favourite. I liked the carrot ribbon I have never had one of those before".
3. Where do you think Italian food comes from? "Obviously it comes from Italy. My best friend is Italian so I know a lot about it. He makes his own pizzas, he didn't like our pizza when he came over to our house to play. He likes playing Fifa on our computer. I also like pasta, in fact salmon with pasta is my most favourite meal ever."
4. Do you like eating out in restaurants? "Yes I do, I like being altogether as a family and we spend time together and chat. Sometimes we play noughts and crosses or spot the difference which is fun. I like sitting next to my mummy. My favourite food is pizza and pasta so I like coming to Italian restaurants. I wish I could have coca cola but mummy said no."

So there you have it! A success! We will be back...

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