Maybe it’s my fault for having a child who doesn’t really eat sandwiches, or perhaps I’m just not going to the right places, but it appears to be increasingly difficult to find somewhere to take E for lunch on a Monday. We usually come into the city, sometimes to go swimming, sometimes for shopping or mooching. Near the swimming pool is a greasy spoon cafe where we sometimes go for beans on toast (her) and something else (me). But I don’t want to go there every week, especially if we’re not swimming, which we weren’t this week. We were shopping.
As I said, she doesn’t really do sandwiches, and if I’m honest, I’m not keen either. I love bread but am wary of it as a weight inducing nightmare and it’s also incredibly boring. When I used to travel about a lot in a previous job, if I’d been out and about a lot in one week I’d actually get cravings for salad – something I didn’t believe was possible. So no sandwiches for lunch rules out practically every coffee shop in the city.
Aubrey’s and Alley Cafe are out because they’re upstairs. Jam Cafe is shut on Mondays (I think). I used to take her to the Broadway but last time we went I discovered they’d got rid of their children’s menu, leaving fewer choices in general – many of which were sandwiches and most of which involved chilli in some form. The Malt Cross, while looking great since the refurb, doesn’t have a broad menu (again sandwiches/ burgers make up the bulk). This country appears to be running on sandwiches. No wonder there’s an obesity problem.
We occasionally go to Thea Caffea but I find the delicate china cups and table service to be offputting and the range of things isn’t always great. I once took her to Sobar and ordered meatballs in tomato sauce which came heavily chilli-ed. I had to wipe the sauce off before feeding her – I couldn’t get something else because they don’t take cards and I didn’t have any more cash.
Later edit: went in Sobar yesterday & they do take cards now & do have a children’s menu! Aha!
So I turned to the reliable stalwarts of the high street. We went to M&S cafe, which I’d not been in before. Not only was it full of older ladies, it was tiny and guess what? They only sold sandwiches. And soup (with a bread roll).
We ended up in John Lewis where I read E the options from the children’s menu, bought her the preferred one whereupon she sat down and only ate 4 forkfuls of peas and half a chip. I ate the rest…
What I’m looking for is somewhere that does small versions of something reliable – a mild curry, a pasta dish, stew, stroganoff, that kind of thing. I don’t want fancy table service, I don’t want to pay a lot, I don’t want to cart around some cheese and a banana everywhere we go. This shouldn’t be hard to solve – where am I not looking? Suggestions please!