Boy eating spaghettiHands up if you’d support a campaign for better food for children in restaurants? Ok, ok, no shouting stop running down the corridor to get started on those new menus either.

The Culinary Kids Campaign is the brainchild of restaurant booking platform Bookatable, working with a number of big names in the industry, including a good smattering of SRA Members. It’s come in response to a survey of parents by Bookatable showing continued disenchantment with the regular ‘family-friendly fair’ being offered in UK restaurants.

More than three quarters of British parents (78%) said they believed children were still too often being offered the same unhealthy options like nuggets and pizza.

Perhaps most eye-catching is the Kids Tasting Menu at SRA Member Tredwell’s in London’s West End. Marcus Wareing’s restaurant is believed to be the first to offer a tasting menu for children. Youngsters are being offered a dazzling array of dishes including: cheeky chorizo-jam, egg-yolk and avocado tartlets, happy heritage tomatoes, with goat’s cheese, music bread and balsamic vinegar and courgette-and-pea dumplings with a creamy coconut chili sauce.

Chantelle Nicholson, Group Operations Director for Marcus Wareing Restaurants said, We have always tried to be creative with our children’s offering and steered away from the normal chicken and chips style of food. We welcome kids of all ages at Tredwell’s and aim for our menu to be fresh and different.”

Almost a third of parents (31%) said they wanted chefs to create dedicated children’s tasting menus to encourage them to eat a greater variety of food types. It should be added that two young diners invited by the Independent on Sunday willingly tried everything on Tredwell’s tasting menu.

Top reasons parents choose a restaurant to dine at with children:

– Activities in the restaurant 61%)
– Healthy food options (59%)
– Cheap as I am on a budget (53%)
– Near lots of activities (51%)
– Fast service to avoid kids getting bored (36%)

Joe Steele, CEO of Bookatable.co.uk, comments: “There is no doubt that improvements need to be made to children’s diets across the country – whether that is in or outside the home. Having partnered with Tredwell’s to reimagine the children’s menu to offer more food diversity and now working with some of the country’s top chain restaurants to develop their menus, we really believe this could be the start of a more adventurous era of children’s dining.”

Other SRA Members signed up to the Culinary Kids Campaign include Las Iguanas and T.G.I. Friday’s.

This isn’t the first campaign to highlight the need for better children’s meals, following in the wake of the Soil Association’s Out to Lunch initiative. And with school food enjoying a renaissance, the time is right for restaurants to follow suit and offer delicious, well-sourced, healthy meals for children.

Many SRA Members are leading the way on this and we’d love to hear about your innovative offer for children. Please do let us know what you’re doing so we can help tell families across the UK where to find good children’s food.