Anyway, parents of Brighton rejoice. There is plenty of fresh, healthy food on offer and some rather exciting stuff as well to encourage new tastes and explore cultures in restaurants we would be seen dead in before the spogs came along.
The big BUT is that not enough of the good Brighton restaurants have their children's menus on their sites so below are my favourites showing sample menus after enquiring around. Before you head over to the laminated menu places you know will accommodate you, give one of the independents or good chain restaurants a ring. Most will have something wonderful. I hope that meals created especially for children will have less salt and maybe less spice hence why I prefer them for my child's age but many restaurants will give you a smaller portion off the standard menu if you prefer that.
Start them on that food-loving journey!
Curry Leaf Cafe (Indian)
Get those tastebuds going! Curry Leaf Cafe is a great restaurant for kids. A 3 course kids' vegetarian (£6.50) or meat (£7.00) menu is available with pakora and yoghurt raita and gently spiced Makhani curry with rice or naan. They finish with a scoop of ice-cream in gorgeous flavours like coconut & lime, mango & pistachio or banana, cardamom & salted caramel.
A gold star for this menu, which is as good quality-wise as the standard menu. This is how Italians treat their children, with real food like pollo alla milanese, oven-baked salmon fillet, a small pizza (made with in-house dough) or bowl of pasta, all with either oven baked potatoes or a side salad. Fruit juices were the pulpy Italian succos and you also got fresh fruit or small portion of pannacotta for dessert. £8.25 for this represents good value. Portions are generous too.
Silo (Natural/Zero Waste)
One of Brighton's hottest new restaurant openings in 2014 has now added a children's breakfast and lunch menu. Play it safe at breakfast with bacon sandwiches or porridge or get them fully on board with activated grains and jam or Silo beans and slow cooked egg. For lunch, there are sandwiches or smaller portions of their fabulous daily menus for adventurous little taste buds.
If Junior Foodie could eat one thing, it would be noodles and broth. He loves Italian brodo! However Vietnamese Pho isn't far off it and his choice here would be the Mini Pho Noodle Soup with noodles, homemade stock and chicken or beef. Otherwise there is Mini Pho Xao (Wok fried rice noodles with bean sprouts and mange tout, a choice of chicken, beef or tofu and mushrooms), Chicken Noodles (noodles with sliced chicken breast, cucumber, carrot pickle and a sweet dipping sauce) or Wok Fried Rice with Egg (with chicken, veggies or prawns). The venue is large and buggy friendly too.
Nu Posto (Pizza)
Proper Neapolitan dough, authentic toppings and quality ingredients. They will do smaller pizzas for the kids on request too. The venue is on West Street but is huge and can accommodate buggies easily - a rare thing in Brighton! (Note: there are no baby changing facilities here which is the only negative about it.)
Fatto a Mano (Pizza)
Another decent pizzeria is Fatto a Mano on London Road. Wood-fired pizza Neapolitan pizza with good quality toppings. The bonus is that one child (under ten) per adult gets a free pizza or pasta with homemade tomato sauce, plus juice and gelato. Additional kids get all of that for just £4.50 per head.
H.EN (Chicken Shop)
If you care about ethics as well as quality, then H.EN is your place for (welfare) chicken and (sweet potato) chips. Although they are working on a specific kids menu, the food in general is very appealing to young tastes. They also win mega points for their little kids table with chalkboard top too!
Terre a Terre (Vegetarian)
This is one of the best menus for kids in Brighton. They have put as much thought and love into it as their main menu. From simple eggs on bread/eggy bread to their fabulous rostis with tomato or creamed spinach sauce or corn cakes with avocado spice smash, there is quite a lot to choose from. Starters like crudités and dips are offered as well as divine little desserts from healthy fruit plates to treats like doughnut straws with chocolate sauce. There's also an extensive kids drinks menu too. Everything is well priced from £2-£4 and they even offer free Hipp organic baby food for those starting their weaning journey. 5 stars Terre a Terre!
Sams of Brighton (British)
I've been a big fan of Sam's no nonsense fresh food and the kids menu here is in line with the ethos of the restaurant. For £5.95 you can get a soft drink, breadsticks (ALL kids love breadsticks), a homemade main like shepherds pie, pasta and sauce or fishcakes and on Sundays, a mini portion of the Roast. Price includes a portion of ice cream as well.
Ginger Fox/Ginger Pig (British)
The Gingerman Group of restaurants have always been child-friendly, even going to the lengths of raising over £26,000 for The Rocking Horse Appeal for sick children in Sussex and Surrey. £1 from every kids meal will go to this fantastic cause. The £7.50 meal includes a drink, a balanced main like pasta bake and peas, homemade fishcakes, Redlands Farm bangers and mash and a homemade ice cream in a cone with spacedust. Yeah, spacedust! They can also offer any of the main meals as a smaller portion too.
Food For Friends (Vegetarian)
Food For Friends have overhauled their kids menu to include far more interesting dishes. Mains such as soup with mini focaccia pizza, breaded risotto and mozzarella balls or homemade gnocchi and finishing with fresh strawberries with chocolate dipping sauces or a warm chocolate brownie are a welcome change to the norm. Mains are £4 and desserts £3, so decent value for money too.
Possibly the most thrilling dining venue for youngsters, Moshimo offer a really good value meal for under 10s at £4.90 including a Sushi Set, Chicken or Salmon in their home-made Teriyaki sauce or a Tempura Set served with sticky rice and salad. I can't wait to expose Baby Foodie to the different tastes and textures on offer here. He will no doubt try and grab things off the sushi conveyer belt as well though!
The Chilli Pickle is in a great central location for family dining and one of my favourite Brighton restaurants. You can add more spice for adventurous palettes but otherwise the mini thali's are mild with either chicken or vegetable curry and rice, riatta, chutney, poppodom and baby naan. There is also spiced fried chicken, Malai chicken kebab, or mini dosa. These are £5.50 each and you can add a dessert for £2.
Agua Dulce (Spanish)
Ok, no kids menu, but who needs one with tapas? Kids LOVE this style of food where they can pick and choose and help themselves, although my kid always hogs the entire plate of anchovies! Fish croquettes, hams, paella, chorizo, salads, dips, bread, cheese...it's all here. Staff are very friendly and accommodating with children too.
Crafty Chooks (Chicken shop)
A free range rotisserie chicken restaurant. A menu is available for the kids, with 2 courses and a drink for £6.95. Expect healthier alternatives like free range schnitzel and slaw.
Coggings and Co (British)
If I were to take my kid out for burgers, then it would probably be here due to the high quality of their local ingredients. For £6.50 there is a choice of mini beef burger or chargrilled chicken burger with chips or Macaroni cheese. Also included is a Downsview ice cream and juice.
La Choza (Mexican)
Kids shouldn't be left out of the street food mania sweeping Britain. La Choza offer kids a choice of taco, tostada, mini burrito/burrito bowl or baby quesedilla with any filling, nacho chips and a drink for £4.50.
Riddle & Finns (Fish)
This great fish restaurant have a set menu available for sophisticated little diners at a reasonable price of £4.95. This includes an optional espresso cup of fish soup followed by fish goujons, grilled salmon fillet, tomato & cheese pasta or fish soup with toast. Sides include fries or potatoes and green vegetables, mushy peas or salad. Dessert is a scoop of ice cream in a cone. Just be aware that tables are bar height here but it's a lovely restaurant.
Coal Shed (British)
Kids can sample the great food at The Coal Shed, cooked on those fancy Josper charcoal ovens. Although they don't have an official kids menu, for £5 they offer minute steak with chips or veg, burger and chips or salad, grilled or battered fish with veg or chips or a smaller portion of the vegetarian option from main menu. They can also offer a smaller version of any dish from the a la carte too.
Moksha Caffe (British)
Ok, so although this is a chain, they really cater so well for children I have to give a mention. As well as the fantastic Phil & Ted clip on highchairs and plenty of space, their little menu is really good too. Cod balls or simple grilled chicken or fish with rice and vegetables are on offer as well as mini versions of their Ramen, Yaki Soba or Katsu. Baby Foodie loves their noodle dishes.
Graphic Foodie Guides
A series of targeted, helpful guides for Brighton. If you would like me to create a guide on anything in particular drop me an email!