Eating out with children can be daunting, what with most restaurants providing no child-friendly amenities other than high chairs and a children’s menu. But over the last few years, a clutch of restaurants in Mumbai have changed their ways and started treating children not as a nuisance but as welcome additions to their clientele.
Baby bites: Tendulkar’s has a kids’ room with a toy house.
For instance, the Bombay Blue chain has been projecting a family-friendly image—not through in-house entertainers or elaborate kids’ menus—but simply through its level of tolerance. There are paper table mats with puzzles printed on them to keep children (and adults) busy. “When kids come, they bring their parents,” says Shibu Kurialkose, floor manager at the Bombay Blue outlet in Kala Ghoda. “They bring us business. Often parents tell us that the main reason they come here again and again is because their kids love the place.” Their menu has a page dedicated to children’s food and the most popular item is Bombay Kids— a meal with nachos, onion rings, fries, garlic roll, corn-cheese balls and pasta.
Tendulkar’s in Colaba goes a notch higher. The restaurant, co-owned by cricketer Sachin Tendulkar, is a huge hit because of its kids’ room. It is equipped with a toy house, a slide, an activity corner and a television that screens cartoons. There’s even a nanny to mind the children. The washroom has been designed keeping a toddler’s height in mind. “It was Sachin’s idea when he built the restaurant,” says Orlando Vaz, the restaurant manager. “He really loves kids and thought they should have their own space to play in.”
Self-service restaurants are popular too. Service is quick and parents don’t have to deal with snooty waiters or condescending patrons when their children get unruly. At Candies on St Andrew’s Road in Bandra, you’ll find children sitting at the table, enchanted by the twisty straw in their Wildberry Cooler drink. Others run amok on the ground floor or play on the terrace. The menu has plenty of finger food such as chicken lollipops so children don’t need to wield a fork and knife. Mad Over Donuts is another self-service establishment that’s popular, and has over 25 variations of sugar snacks.
Other restaurants open their doors to children once a week. At the Sunday brunch spread at Blue Frog, parents unwind to the beats of a band while their children are ushered into Mini Frog, the play area next door. The spread includes tapas, pancakes, waffles, eggs, grills and desserts. 180 Degrees at the Grand Sarovar Premiere has a Sunday kids’ zone complete with jugglers and life-size cartoon characters. The Baby Loves to Rock brunch at Hard Rock Café is like a party where children can get fake tattoos, paint their faces or shake a leg. Shinibali Mitra Saigal, mother of two-year-old Miraya, is pleased with these efforts but maintains that restaurants in Mumbai have a long way to go before they can live up to the child-friendly tag. She sees these efforts as more of a marketing strategy. “It’s just a one-off thing. It’s not like these restaurants are geared for kids on other days of the week.”
Take your kids to these restaurants:
• 180 Degrees: 12.30-4pm, Sunday. Grand Sarovar Premiere, AK Plaza, Veer Savarkar Flyover, SV Road, Goregaon (W) (28718000). Rs625 per person.
• Blue Frog: 11am-4pm, Sunday. Mathuradas Mills Compound, Tulsi Pipe Road, Lower Parel (40332300). Rs2,000 per adult; Rs1,000 per child.
• Bombay Blue: 12.30-3pm and 7-11.30pm, daily. 1220, Hargovindas Building, K Dubhash Marg, Kala Ghoda (22022555/22022444). Daily childrens’ meal, Rs200. Also at Lower Parel, Khar and Andheri.
• Candies: 8.30am-10.30pm, daily. MacRonnels, 5AA, Pali Hill, St Andrew’s Road (26424124). Also at ONGC Complex, Bandra Reclamation (26423512) and Union Park, Pali Hill, Bandra (W) (26481686).
• Hard Rock Café: Noon-4pm, Sunday. Bombay Dyeing Mill Compound, Pandurang Budhkar Marg, Lower Parel (66155959). Adults, Rs500 plus taxes. Children, Rs250 plus taxes.
• Mad Over Donuts: 11am-11pm, daily. Level 3, Oberoi Mall, Film City Road, Goregaon (E) (40034668). Rs35 onwards. Also at Carter Road and Bhulabhai Desai Road.
• Tendulkar’s: 12-3pm and 7.30-11.45pm, daily. Narang House, first floor, 34, Apollo Bunder, Colaba (22829934/22829935). Daily children’s meals, Rs65 onwards.
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