The Unofficial Peninsula Guide to Dining Out with Kids

When I was a kid I used to hate going to restaurants. My parents, like most Singaporeans, love eating out and would always drag us for these excruciatingly long 9 course Chinese dinners, and if you so much as dared to wiggle a salt shaker at the pepper shaker, a pair of chopsticks attached to your mother would descend out of nowhere and swiftly thwack your knuckles. OW! Sorry, Pavlovian response.

It didn’t help that my father is an expert on mastication. (Read that last sentence properly before you send me outraged letters! ) Yes my dad can out-chew the cud of a herd of dairy cows. He starts every meal with a long squint at the offending items on his plate, then a careful assemblage of a tiny bit of each of the constituents, rolling it into one huge spoonful. Then the spoon is popped into his mouth and masticated on for AT LEAST 35 chews. And sometimes he even administers a through intestinal massage at the same time to encourage digestion. (He’s a doctor). If the meal is particularly satisfying, he will erupt occasionally with a gigantic “UR-BURP!” belch. That is is his happy sound. My father never talks while eating- it’s not polite you see.

Someday, after I finish my therapy, I’ll write my memoirs…

And as life would decree, now that I’m all grown up, there’s few things I love more than taking our kids out to restaurants! Not a restaurant again, they groan…

I resort to the fellowing strategies:

1.) Throw them outdoors to play while they wait for their food

2.) Bring along iPads just in case the weather is crap

3.) Promises of chips

4.) Entertain / threaten them with gory family history stories of Grandpa’s Masticating – complete with sound effects! Or the Irishman’s preferred fable – “How I Grew Up With Just One Potato As A Toy”…

On the Peninsula, thankfully the restaurants here have lots to offer children. Most of them have large outdoor areas, are kid and dog friendly and not too fancy. We love Tucks Ridge (nice sandpit, lots of outdoor space), Box Stallion, Montalto, Yabby Lake, Heronswood’s Fork to Fork cafe, and Whispering Vines at Trofeo Estate. Btw, to truly act like a Mornington Peninsula local, you need to check out the Official bible Love The Pen for everything Peninsula…

This weekend, our restaurant pick was the Whispering Vines at Trofeo Estate with the kids and my brother who’s visiting from Singapore.

Not another restaurant, grimaces Dylan!

Wise words on the Specials board.

The kids meals are hearty and pretty affordable, I think they’re about 7 bucks, I wasn’t paying attention but the Irishman was waxing lyrical about them. It’s the kind of thing you do when you hit your mid 40s. The kids get to make their own ice-cream cone afterwards too. Again it’s at some low price point which I’m sure the Irishman was quite impressed by. Look at Dylan’s face, every ice-cream is a miracle! The Irishman felt the same way about the kids discount.

What I was more interested in was this novel method of mowing the grass in the vineyard.

Look, they have a set a flock of sheep loose in the vineyard, and every row has a happy industrious sheep going up and down mowing the grass. That’s the way forward!

The grass is disgracefully long at our house due to unseasonably sunny winter weather and it looks pretty yummy, so much so that the greyhounds have been stuffing themselves silly on it and lying around groaning like my dad after a 36 course El Bulli degustation. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to check out who will rent us some woolly grass mowers for our property. Hope to see you on the Peninsula sometime, kids and all. Let me know if you need me to tell them a scary story or too. xxx

2 thoughts on “The Unofficial Peninsula Guide to Dining Out with Kids

  1. Hilarious as usual, Crystal! The visual on your father simultaneously masticating and massaging had me in stitches! And so totally empathize with the memories of sitting through long Chinese restaurant dinners – with frequent runs to the fish tank to make faces at fishes in between courses 🙂

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