Restaurants; Family favourites

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The Independent Culture
If you think that parenthood will scupper socialising for the likes of the Spices and the Saints and their new families, think again. Now that having kids is officially cool (Tatler has just brought out a special "baby" issue) more and more restaurants are welcoming little ones with open arms (and colouring books and goodie bags).

It may send shivers down the spine of non-parents who feel that weekends are their time for a bit of "R and R" at their favourite hangout, but now they're quite likely to find themselves pushing past designer buggies and stepping over baby-changing bags (rucksack style from The Gap, of course) at a growing number of places.

Momo, one of the hippest haunts in London, has just announced that it's opening a creche downstairs in the Kemia Bar on Saturdays and Sundays (see panel below) with entertainers, North African dance classes and film screenings. Restaurateur Trevor Gulliver's new Indian venture, Pukkabar, and Conran's Zinc are just two places that have launched children's menus recently. And the traditional kid's fate of fish fingers, chips and pizza don't feature. At Pukkabar it's small portions of curry, kebabs and potato balls. Head chef Kuldip Singh has been careful to make sure that the dishes aren't too hot, although many children aren't as conservative about food as he originally thought they would be. "We've had quite a few kids who've said they actually want things spicier," he reveals.

Not everyone who has opened their restaurant up to kids has, however, found the experience a picnic.

When One Lawn Terrace opened in Blackheath last year they set up a creche on Sundays, but they've recently put a stop to the idea.

"To be completely honest," said a spokeswoman, "some kids were a bit too noisy and excited and ran amok through the restaurant - which was a nightmare for staff and upset other customers.

"We still welcome children," she adds, "but now when they come we expect them to sit at the table with their parents."

Nikki Spencer