This summer we’re heading out of London for a Table Talk in Somerset to join writer and mama Emily Eades. From the glossy pages of Elle and Grazia to keeping the content flowing over at ASOS, Emily has written for a myriad of lifestyle titles both on and offline. As a mum of two, you can find her (alongside Tiny Table!) over on Ruth Crilly’s The Night Feed app sharing her brilliant tales from the mum-dating frontline.
Having left London back in July last year, Emily and her family now call Somerset home. From Frome’s most family-friendly bakeries to sinking into velvet cinema sofas and scoffing a treat or two mid-movie, we couldn’t wait to go on a culinary adventure alongside Emily to explore some of Somerset’s tastiest offerings for families…
1. I’d like a table for…
Four at The Newt in Somerset, please. I’m taking my husband and our two best friends, ordering cider apple sours, and something off every section of the kitchen garden to plate menu. Hopefully one of us had the foresight (and windfall) to book us a bedroom for after dessert, so we can continue the night with a postprandial slumber party.
2. Early-birds catch the coffee at…
If I’m sans the children then Lucca, on the pretty cobbles of Bartlett Street, Bath – as it’s one of few spots in the city offering a slice of kerbside sunshine. More likely you’ll find me at Gather in Batheaston hustling the brood into this family run gem. Strewn with fairy lights and serving wedges of cake with interesting legume-laced frosting it feels like the early morning hug you never knew you needed. Or, if you can squeeze a spot – go groovy local people watching at Walcot Street’s Landrace Bakery, the coffee is short, strong and does not mess around, while you’ll find the hunky prune-syrup glazed cinnamon-esque buns are too handsome to ignore.
3. Best brunch with kids?
Frome’s restored chapel come cafe, Rye Bakery. It scores points for its architectural eye candy, excellent coffee, and comes complete with a baby and toddler play area (think oversize wooden slide rather than primary plastic – this is Frome, after all) . It’s one of very few places to truly nail family friendly without feeling sterile or dry in the atmosphere department.
4. Children’s menu must-visits…
Worship at the altar that is Bruton’s At The Chapel. It’s definitely an adults playground (pick up something from the onsite wine cellar for later), but its sourdough pizza menu is sweet on the small folk. We order ours with a side of fries and chantanay carrots shaken with tarragon to up the daily veg quota. If you’re taking your mini, forgo a formal table and flop into a green velvet armchair in the middle instead. Whatever you’re there for, do not leave without first scoring a cloud-like all-butter croissant it’s arguably the best in Somerset.
5. Where do you grab a bite with mums en masse?
Somerset has a tonne of brilliant Farm Shops. You’ll need a vehicle to reach most – but at least then you have a car boot worth of space to fill with homegrown veg, local farm bred meat, cheese and schmancy deli type treats. (Remortgaging of house, optional). Most have outside play areas and they all have brilliant farm to table cafes attached, making them great places for lunch with your noisy brunch. Pick of the bunch IMHO is botanically-charged Lowdens.
6. Hidden gem for treating tiny ones?
Tough call. Either Castle Farm, Midford. Think barnyard setting, Hackney warehouse-esque in vibe but serving North East Somerset’s finest kedgeree. Something, as they say, for everyone. Or Bath’s The Tivoli cinema – its deep velvet sofas, big name films and food, snacks and wine delivered discreetly to your seat make it an ideal treat for any generation. Pour me a large please bartender.
7. Best piece of advice for dining out with kids?
Take toys and books. Preferably ones that they don’t use all the time at home in a bid to (hopefully) hold their attention. Get the timing right – over hungry or tired kids make for a nightmare meal. Lower expectations around sitting still and take shifts with the other parents on going on mini excursions to the loos / windows / fire etc. If all else fails. iPad.
8. Date night – takeaway or take me out?
Out. Every time. I want to dress up, drink cocktails, and forget for 2.5 hours that I’m likely to be up with a baby all night.
9. My earliest food memory…
Stealing spoonfuls of my mum’s homemade pavlova out of our childhood fridge. It’s still one of my favourite deserts. I recently made Rosie Birkett’s rhubarb and custard one, and it’s going to be hard to find a version to ever beat it.
10. Five mums, one table – who’s joining you?
Somerset plays host to loads of women doing super interesting things that just happen to also be mums – many of whom I’m yet to meet, so I’m going to use this as an excuse to get them all in one place to chew the cud. Ruth Crilly of Model Recommends and The Night Feed app, Glastonbury Festival’s Emily Eavis, my old colleague and friend Molly Gunn of Selfish Mother, lovely Brigid Moss – Red Magazine Contributing Editor and Frome dweller, and last but not least The Mum Club’s tres glamorous Bath host, Lulu Fisher.