Table Talk with Peta Todd

Peta
Peta Todd
may have graced a myriad of lads mags back in the naughties but since then, Peta is more likely to be found scaling the dizzying heights of Mount Kilimanjaro  as patron of Help For Heroes, penning her regular column ‘Peta Todd’s Mum Squad’ in The Sun and juggling life as a mama of four with her husband Olympic cyclist Mark Cavendish.  With a brood ranging from 4 months to pre-teen, eating out with her family can be quite the adventure but one she relishes. Whilst Zuma and Roka lure Newham native into London, it’s Essex where Peta loves to grab a bite with her kids.  From Epping to Ongar, Peta takes us on a culinary journey around Essex to explore the best family-friendly restaurants on her doorstep.

1. I’d like a table for…
I’d like a table for 6 humans. Myself and my husband Mark, as well as our 4 children- Finnbar age 12, Delilah age 6, Frey 3 and Casper 4 months.

2. Early Birds Catch coffee at…
It’s always easy to opt for a big chain for coffee, especially when you are juggling 20 things a once but if I’m local to me then I like to make the time to actually stop for a second and sit down for a coffee at Fred and Dougs in Epping. But if I’m in London it has to be Little Italy in soho.

3. Best brunch with kids…
Brunch is pretty much my favourite as I’m not a great fan of eating as soon as I’m awake so an early breakfast is never top on my list. I really like the Salway Cookhouse in Woodford, it’s quite small so huge groups might be tight but the staff are so friendly and the menu is a bit of a change from the same old avo on toast… I love their ‘Huevos a la Flamenca’.

4. Children menu must visits…
Children’s menus can be a really tired landscape of nuggets and beige. So suggesting a gastropub type restaurant as a good children’s menu might seem same same. But The Kings Head in Ongar do a great kids menu, it’s nothing to fancy so it bodes well for empty plates and full tummies. The menu has great breaded chicken and peas, pasta, pizzas cooked in the open fire pizza oven that come shaped with bunny ears and their mini roast dinners are fit for any little king or queen. Also if you are on the move Wagamama’s kids menu is ace and a real crowd pleaser!

5. Where do you grab a bite with Mums en masse…
En masse with other mums is a tricky one, between myself and my two BFFs we have 9 children! So we are not easy to accommodate and when we are all together we tend to just come to mine and co-parent as a unit, one cooking, one sorting table and another tidying up. The kids play and nobody gets stressed. But if we are going out all together we tend to head to a pub with a garden, a great one is The Green Man in Herongate, Brentwood.

6. Hidden gems for treating Tiny ones…
Right bear with me on this one, and it’s certainly not for everyday but as a treat and something different Zuma in London is amazing. The staff are incredibly accommodating and make a real fuss of your tiny diners. They took me completely by surprise with how warm they were on my first time visit with our little ones. The menu is easy to find stuff that they will devour like teriyaki chicken skewers and rice. Plus…ask for the special chocolate dessert!

7. Best advice for eating out with kids…
We have always eaten out in varying types of restaurants with our brood, even as our tribe grew I never let it put me off as eating out if one of my real pleasures in life. I also think that it’s important for the kids to get used to it to and for them to be comfortable too. My best advice is do not stress! You are there to enjoy being together as a family. Be prepared that little hands and minds wander so be prepared with drawing, books and the odd little car or character. I also always have a few little snacks with me to tide them over and deffo ask your waiting staff if the kids stuff can come as soon as it’s ready, even if you are having starters. And remember, it’s not Victorian times, children do make some noise and they will!

8. Date night – takeaway or take me out…
Take me out! Every time. We spend a lot of time apart as a couple through work and so getting to have a ‘date night’ is a treat so whisk me off! I adore sushi so get me to Roka ASAP although Mark would opt for Nando’s all day long.

9. Earliest Food memory…
I have so many good memories for being a child, but a lot of them are sitting on my grans sideboard turning the pages of her trusty cooking book. But she made the best dumplings for stew ever and I remember being so excited when I knew they were coming.

10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
I would love to have Chrissy Teigen, but I’m sure she is pretty much on everyone’s list! But my 2 best friends and my Grandmother would probably make me happiest.

 

Image credit:  The Sun

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