Journalist, editor, TV presenter, author and on top of all that, one incredible mama. Table Talk welcome food, drink and travel expert Rebecca Seal.
Published in The Guardian, Sunday Times. Glamour, Red and Grazia to name a few, Rebecca also frequents Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch as their one of their resident food and drink experts. Between raising her two daughters, Isla and Coralie, shooting videos and hosting events, Rebecca has written a string of cookbooks including the inspirational new ‘Happy One-Pot Cooking‘. From one-pan pastas to warming tagines, fragrant tray-baked fish and veg to Asian-inspired stir-fries – her latest book with family-friendly eatery LEON is the perfect go-to cookery book for delicious, fail-safe family dinners. Born out of Rebecca’s love of travel previous titles include ‘Lisbon: recipes from the heart of Portugal’, ‘Postcards from Greece: recipes from across the Greek seas’ and ‘Istanbul: recipes from the heart of Turkey’.
An advocate of taking little ones out to eat with the family from day one, we caught up with Rebecca to explore where she feasts in London with her two tiny tots and husband Steve…
1. I’d like a table for…
Five – me and my husband, Steve Joyce, and our two kids, Isla and Coralie, plus one extra adult – a grandparent (or two), an aunt or uncle, a godparent…It’s just all so much easier with one extra pair of hands!
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
St David’s Coffee House in Forest Hill, where they also serve wonderful brunches…I do wish they’d serve decaf though. I love the corn cakes, and ricotta and figs on toast.
3. Best brunch with kids?
Anywhere that understands speed is of the essence. Getting kids’ food out first is such a smart move, when it’s possible. That and coffee for the adults. I don’t mind waiting to eat as long as I’m caffeinated and the kids have got their eggs and soldiers.
4. Children’s menu must-visits…
Mamma Dough pizza in Honor Oak Park. We are lucky enough to have loads of good pizza round here (honorable mention also to Bona‘s sourdough) but Mamma Dough just edges the win.
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
I work for them, so I’m biased, but I love LEON, especially the newer ones like the one in Oxford, which have huge play areas with books and drawing for kids. Loads of space for prams, quick service and plenty of free-from options (my youngest has a dairy and soy allergy, so I’m suddenly much more interested in free-from choices).
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
Brown and Green Cafe in Mayow Park (or their Crystal Palace outpost). Great for adults and kids, with 8 or so options for small people, and all sort of gluten, dairy and soy free options.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
Do it from day one and have high expectations. We take colouring, puzzles and stickers, but when the food arrives, toys go away and we eat together. I want my girls to understand the joy of eating and talking together – even if, on occasion, it all descends into chaos and I wind up covered in hummus. In the long run, it will be worth it. My three year old is already pretty good at eating in restaurants – it’s one of her favourite treats.
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
Oh out, for sure! I’ve got two kids under three, so I rarely get to go out and since babysitters are pricy, it’s a very special treat for us to get out together. We have a long-planned dinner at Sparrow coming up, and I cannot wait.
9. My earliest food memory…
My dad making scrambled eggs when I was about three, and making Christmas cake with my mum at around the same age – I was allowed to stir and (pre-salmonella scares) lick out the bowl. Delicious.
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
In my dreams, it would be my best and oldest friends, Marian, Ellie and Olivia, plus my sister Katy, who lives in Sydney (with my baby nephew Harry, who I haven’t yet met). We are almost never in the same place at the same time, though.