When first-time mum and food-lover, Tina Powell, got over the initial shock of her 5-month- old daughter being diagnosed with multiple food allergies, she decided to start focusing on the wide variety of food that her daughter could eat, rather than on what she couldn’t eat. It was time to grab life by the soya beans and Gourmet Baby UK was born! Designed to share easy, fun, nutritious recipes so that her daughter never feels like she is missing out – Tina’s creations are not only friendly on tiny tums but also an absolute picture.
In this month’s Table Talk, Tina shares her favourite special-diet dishes in London which will not only sate small appetites but the whole family…
1. I’d like a table for…
My uni girls! We are spread all over the UK, and with so many children between us – we now need a register to keep track. That makes it is near on impossible to get us all in the same room at once. There are 7 of us so ideally it would be somewhere we could eat and chat and lose track of time. I’d probably opt for a boozy brunch at Hawksmoor…and let the morning blur into the afternoon.
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
Kaffiene, their cappuccinos are like black treacle filled, pre-work pick-me- ups.
3. Best brunch with kids?
I got lucky with my 4-year- old, she loves nothing more than a ‘lazy morning’, which features brunch whilst we flick through our favourite magazines! (She is a little more Peppa Pig than Vogue). Our go-to place is The Galley in Greenwich. As a mum dealing with my daughter’s multiple food allergies it has been really important to find trusted places to eat. I need to know if I ask for food to be prepared in a certain way that I can absolutely rely on it. It’s also much easier for us to go to a café rather than a high-street shop as they can prep yummy bespoke meals for us like our favourite – avocado and tomato on toast.
4. Children’s menu must-visits…
A firm favourite for us is Jamie’s Italian – it’s so refreshing to go to a place that serves age appropriate portions. They are also offer yummy nutritious food with lots of allergy-friendly options. When we have family over this is an easy win, as my daughter and my nephews always leave happy.
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
Plumtree Café in Greenwich is always a safe bet. They have a varied menu, and a play area built in. Job done!
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
For a special sweet treat, we make our way through the hustle and bustle of Greenwich Market and head straight for the Ruby’s of London stall. They serve up scrumptious cakes that are vegan, and wheat and refined sugar free. My daughter considers ‘sprinkles’ to be their own food group, so it’s perfect for her.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
Throw out the rule book in terms of timings. If you want a happy meal time, work with times that work for your family…it’s worth it I promise – even if it means occasionally sitting in an empty restaurant at 5pm! Also take a small colouring in book or sticker book – a welcome distraction for all.
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?Take me out! Mama needs the chance to wear her much neglected heels once in a while. Romancing = Roka, a tasting menu full of delish Japanese delights, finished off with a Tate Modern-worthy dessert platter…oh, and did I mention their cocktails!
9. My earliest food memory…
My mum cooked a lot when I was young – I think that is where my passion for food comes from. She always made food an event, and it was always fun. I remember having a sleepover when I was little, and she constructed a little tray that I could wear to pretend to be an usher in a theatre. She filled it full of individual pots of homemade ice cream and popcorn. Mum goals.
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
I would bring together some of my favourite women from my creative ‘happy place’ – Instagram. Me, Clemmie Hooper (@motherofdaughters), Hollie de Cruz (@theyesmummum), Davina McCall (@davinamccall) and Marisa Alvarsso (@missmarzipancom).