We made the somewhat rash decision to eat in a restaurant this afternoon. In part because Paul felt guilty about the number of times the girls used their loo at the street market, but mostly because they ran out of rosemary and sea salt bread at their market stall and he wanted to try it. I say the decision was rash because we always eat in family friendly pizza restaurants, or very quick service carveries. That wasn’t always the case of course, but that was in a time before children, when you didn’t have to eat at breakneck speed and weren’t terrified about the future of the crockery on the table.

We went to eat at Artisan in Crosspool. It’s a beautiful grown up restaurant so we entered with slight trepidation bringing Jasmine the Disney Princess and a flower fairy in with us. I stashed our market haul (rhubarb and ginger preserve for Dad, marmalade, granary and treacle loaf and three types of exciting cheese) under the table. Clearly we were keen to have a palate expanding afternoon.
We were the only people in the restaurant which wasn’t really a surprise at 4.30pm. They were totally happy to have us there with the girls and I didn’t get the impression that was only because they were empty. We entered a discussion about food and established early on that the only thing Tilly and Phoebe really wanted was a yorkshire pudding each.
We ordered the food, including yorkshire puddings, and Paul decided, a little unwisely since he was a bit sun affected, to order beer. Maybe the effect of the beer was the reason he spent most of the meal laughing.
The usual agony of pre food childsplay commenced and they did mess about a bit. Paul ended up with seventeen pieces of cutlery but the large quantity of glassware remained intact so all in all pretty good.
The food started arriving. Two types of bread, houmous, crackers and beetroot soup in shot glasses. The girls ate mostly bread but it was all very tasty.
Starters followed with mushrooms on brioche for us and an enormous yorkshire pudding with gravy each for the girls. Most of the yorkshire pudding ended up inside them, with only a limited amount splattering the tablecloth and some landing in the lit candle table decoration.
I have to say it was all delicious, the only problem was the food kept coming. Roast chicken for the girls, pork for Paul and fish pie for me. And then loads of veg arrived along with four enormous yorkshire puddings. We were left questioning why the waitress hadn’t warned us that yorkshire puddings were a key part of every meal at the restaurant. By this time even our hardy girls were a little yorkshire pudding weary.
We left before dessert. After eighteen rounds of “I Spy with My Little Eye” the eye that Tilly insists on closing during the game became a bit tired and Phoebe still hadn’t worked out that a clue wasn’t actually the answer.
At the end the waitress came with a special crumb brush which she valiantly used to clean the tablecloth. She diplomatically didn’t mention the vast pools of gravy.
All in all it was a lovely experience. Even though I saw the inside of the ladies loos a bit too often since Phoebe decided to break the habit of a lifetime and request to use it at every available opportunity.
I really hope Paul and I can go back at a more reasonable time of night for a grown up meal. One where I don’t have to think of things beginning with b.

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