Monday, 10 September 2012

Eating out where children are celebrated & not just tolerated

A couple of months back two of my five boys had birthdays.

Their birthdays are a week apart.

One was turning 6.

The other 14.

My parents were travelling from interstate to celebrate both of these occasions with us.

I wanted to to do something special.

We don't do a whole lot of eating in restaurants with our big family.

There is the expense but there is also the trying to get 5...FIVE boys sitting still in environments which are not very kid friendly.

The wrangling of them tends to overtake the pleasure of the dining.

Yum Cha has been our 'go to'eating out experience.

The instantaneous arrival of the food & the already loud chatter of other large groups masking the noise of a busy family, as well as the fact that it is relatively cheap.

But this time we wanted to do something a bit more special.  And I felt as if our kids were just about ready to try out a 'real' restaurant experience.

We booked St. Katherines after hearing many great reviews about their attitude to children.

What I wasn't expecting was not just tolerance but celebration of the younger variety of humans.

What an absolute delight.

We had the most fabulous experience.

The boys felt like kings.

Taken into the inner workings of the kitchen.  They chatted with the chefs, watched as the orders were delivered to the pass & service was called. Saw the behind scenes of what brings the magic to the table.

They were invited to make their own desserts with the pastry chef.  Can you imagine how my kids reacted to this?  I mean really?! Yes, really!

The most amazing experience for my kids.  They savoured it all.

It was perfect.

We all came away feeling so so happy.  The kind of memory making that a good restaurant meal should be.  But so much more than is usually offered to children.

Not a nugget to be seen- and you know how ecstatic this makes me don't you?!

I have said it before but I will say it again- Children are capable of so much more than they are given credit for.

Congrats St. Kats on being a place that allows them to do just that.

NB: I was not paid in any way to write this post but am so happy to recommend a family friendly restaurant that does not DUMB down the food for the kids but instead treats them with the dignity they deserve.
Well done to the crew at St.Kats! 
We will definitely be back. 

In that pic above is a photo of the most amazing salad I have had the pleasure to eat in recent times. 
Shane Delia's famous Smoked Almond & Corn salad
Apparently it is his most asked after recipe. I get why...I really really do.
I was told by my good friend to look out for it. That is was something very very special.
Boy was she right.
I could have eaten only that and left feeling like a Queen. 
AH-MAZING!...or perhaps that should be aMAIZEing. *groan*
Here is my cheats method to do this at home.
An easier way of replicating this fine dish at home- although I highly recommend you go and eat the real deal at St. Katherines.
It goes with most things- or simply on it's own.
Absolutely delicious.
We had it last night to accompany a roast chook. 
It was part of my 'emptying out the fridge/freezer/pantry' challenge that I wrote about last post. 

  • 2 cans of Corn kernels, drained well
  • 3/4 cup almonds (skin on)
  • a handful of chopped chives (i used mint yesterday as I had some in the garden but didn't have chives)
  • 3 tablespoons light olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Red Wine Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup puffed Corn ( I found this at the Health food store)
  • 1/2 red onion, shaved finely
  • S & P

In a heavy pan heat the olive oil to medium temperature and add the almonds. 
Toast them in the oil till they are dark-don't be tempted to speed up the process by turning up the heat. You are better off taking it slow or you will burn the almonds. 
Remove and drain on paper towel and let cool.
Set the oil aside to cool for the dressing.

Add the corn kernels to a large salad bowl.  Add the onion and the chives (or mint).

Add the red wine vinegar to the cool oil and toss through the salad.

Pop the almonds in a mortar & pestle & crunch. I like to leave them all different sizes, some bug, some small.

Then add them and the puffed corn to the corn salad, toss through, add S & P and SERVE.

Here's the new video from Melbourne's very fabulous Tiger & Me, turn it up and cook a salad why don't ya?!!!


  1. BEST ever! I shall make the ruth version of the st kats corn tonight.

    PS: I only order the corn salad. I eat the whole plate and love every morsel. I feel like a queen every time. (probs the fancy cocktail also helps with the queen feeling). xx

  2. WOW! That is unheard of, and we can only hope more places take a leaf out of their book and start realising kids are actually real people.

  3. Oh I hate those chicken nuggets! when eating out i never order 'kids meals' my children won't eat them, and I don't blame them. St Kats sounds fabulous, looks like you all had a very special time, love that they let the little ones in the kitchen! that's where we'll be heading next special occasion, Thanks Ruth! x

  4. What a brilliant experience!!
    We will be trying this salad recipe too, have just bought some delish almonds!

  5. Great post Ruth. Nice to see that kid's meals are perhaps a bit smaller versions of real food rather than rubbish. Also loving the dessert treatment - how cool!

  6. Great stuff Ruth, this place sounds amazing and thank goodness for no nuggets.

  7. Glad to hear my team turned on the bells and whistles for your family Ruth. St Kat's is a celebration of mine and George's childhood, so you hit the nail on the head when you say that we don't just welcome them, we celebrate the little ones in our lives and around our tables. Thanks for linking to my website and corn salad recipe.

  8. Making this tomorrow night Ruth!!!

    I love that St Kath's embraced your kids - I'll definitely take my boys there for lunch very soon.

  9. Isn't St Kat's great.
    We had a big family lunch there a while back and they took all the kidlets into the kitchen. I was so surprised and impressed. Working in restaurants for 10 years, I kinda felt like we weren't supposed to be there (as customers). They made us all feel at home though. The food was delicious too.
    I'm intrigued by this corn salad. I think I'll have to give it a go.

    And on the chicken nugget thing... can't stand them. I couldn't ever bring myself to serve them to my kids, let alone PAY someone else to! So not food.
    Ok, rant over.

    Have a great week!

  10. That's just fabulous wish we were closer to be able to go there. And I'm with you on the chicken nugget thing!

  11. St Kats sounds fantastic. Will have to seek out something similar in Canberra (for my 9 nieces and nephews, and for when I have my own kidlets!). LOve the sound of that salad, too - guess what I'm making this week? :D

  12. That salad looks delish. Def gonna make it with BBQ on the meat. You gotta try the Calombaris Cypriot salad too- its in his kids cookbook, full meal and wonderful flavours...speaking of which we have always been treated well at St Kats and the Hellenic Republic for big fam celebrations, 4 girls teen to preschooler, parents and grandparents, everyone chowing down, talking and having a good time.
    Thanks for sharing yet again.

  13. Wow, what a fantastic experience! Such a market for real children friendly cafes and restaurants in every town/city. I completely agree that children are given a bad wrap! If people were more tolerant and understanding of little ones they would be blown away by what they have to offer! Our only real child friendly restaurant just closed down and I will be sad for a long time :(

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  15. I had to come back to comment again as I've made this twice already this week and may go for a third this weekend - it is AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Loved it! I used frozen corn kernels but will use fresh corn when it's growing in the garden this summer. I love that most of the ingredients are in the pantry, freezer or garden so it means I can make it at any time with no preparation. Yummy, healthy and awesome! Makes for good leftovers for lunch the next too when you keep the crispy parts separate.

  16. thankyou for sharing :) I have booked us in for dinner when we are in melbourne next month, I love having amazing dining experiences with the kids. Think I might make the salad tomorrow...will just have to track down some puffed corn on my market trip in the morning. Tatum xx

  17. Hi there! I have 5 boys too and we eat out very very rarely. Alas we don't live in Melbourne. What an amazing place. Whenever I suggest eating out with the children my husband always says "remember, that sounds much nicer than it's going to be" it can be so unenjoyable. Worrying about other diners etc etc. Anyway, I am new to your blog, found you via IG and I'm looking forward to digging in. Thank you for that recipe. It is a definite must-make.

    See you soon, Sarah from Brighton in the uk x

  18. I'm making this recipe this week & can't wait to come to Melbs & try St Kat's...anywhere that celebrates kids like that deserves to be packed to the rafters every night! I love this post in every way Ruth. Thanks for sharing it. Xxx

  19. what a remarkable place - their name needs to be shouted from the rooftops! The best we used to manage when ours were younger was the local Italian - they always welcome kids.

  20. Wow. now that certainly is something! Sounds absolutely wonderful.

    And I will definitely be trying out that recipe! xxx


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