Having long been an active participant in the delicate art of dining out with children, I can attest to the fact that some may think my high-wire balancing act (complete with spaghetti-filled safety nets), borders on the utterly stupid. Of course, young children find it a thrilling adventure, where rogue meatballs roll under neighbouring tables, crayons become precision-guided missiles, and the quiet hum of adult conversation morphs into a cacophonous symphony of giggles and impromptu wailing. But in this culinary circus, there’s hidden magic. Witnessing a child’s first encounter with an oyster is pure comedic gold, as is their enthusiasm for the pyrotechnics of an ignited sushi roll courtesy of Azabu’s infamous Volcano roll. It’s through all of this chaos that my family have shared our best moments of togetherness, a messy, marvellous spectacle where appreciation always triumphs over the proverbial spilled milk.
As a self-awarded medal bearer of the ‘teaching children how to behave’ club, I strongly recommend you step out of your comfort zone when dining with children and take the tykes beyond the usual, albeit extremely accommodating, eateries and give yourself a decent experience too. Lord knows you deserve it. Amidst the culinary adventure of savouring exquisite dishes is the chance to nurture little connoisseurs. Enjoy the process of watching your little explorers embark upon a journey of taste and decorum. It’s an opportunity to expand their palates and open their minds to new flavours, cultures and countries, while also learning the art of civilised indulgence. They’ll thank you for it later.