Reviewed by: Mojomums Kelly
What they say: For some time, Oakman Inns – the pub group which operates five family-friendly pubs in Hertfordshire – has been concerned that the limited choices on children’s menus might be discouraging young diners from trying new dishes by offering them little more than chicken nuggets and chips.
They asked over 1,000 parents with children aged two to 12 what they would like to see on a kids’ menu which was followed by tasting days with their young customers. They combined these insights with what they know from tens of thousands of visiting children who have ordered from their pubs in the past.
The results, says Oakman Inns’ Chef Director, Ross Pike, spells the end of what he calls “Beige on a Plate.” He explained: “As well as offering healthy options that will go down well with parents and their children, we’ve tried to create family-friendly pricing with a “Formule” of three courses and one of our six side orders for just £9.” That could be Carrot & Pepper Sticks with red pepper & garlic hummus as a starter, followed by our new 5 A Day Bolognese served with Broccoli & Carrots, and an Apple Crumble and Vanilla Ice Cream to finish.”
What we say: “We haven’t visited The Akeman in Tring (Oakman Inns) before, but love going out for dinner as a family and trying new restaurants so we jumped at the chance to come along and take a look at their new kids menu. The menu has been designed to encourage young diners to try new dishes and we couldn’t wait to have a look!
My twin sons are 7 years old and love the whole experience of eating out; from choosing what to eat, completing any child-friendly table-mat activities, to watching everyone’s food being served and of course, pudding!
The kids menu options come as either a 3 course for £9 or are priced separately per menu option – handy if your child has a smaller appetite or is maybe a little fussy.
My two have neither and both chose garlic bread to start…
…and chicken burgers for their mains. With all mains you have the choice of six different sides to accompany your choice – as a parent I thought this a great idea. Oh so often sides are fries and one of my sons does not eat potato in any form (I know, what a pain!) so to have a range of alternative options was perfect (and no food wasted either). The portion sizes were generous and both finished everything on their plate and said they thoroughly enjoyed it.
As for us adults, well the menu is full of pasta, pizzas, meats and fish – so much to choose from and looking around us at the busy restaurant every dish looked mouthwatering! The calzones in particular were huge! I skipped a starter but my husband had the scotch egg and announced it perfection…!
For my main meal I opted for seabass…
Served on a bed of roasted peppers, courgettes and sweet potato hash, it was delicious.
Hubby had one of the days specials, swordfish…
Empty plates all round – always the sign of a great meal!
The restaurant itself was buzzing; we visited at 4.30pm on a Saturday evening and it was full mostly of families taking the chance for an early meal. Both my husband and I commented that although very family friendly, the atmosphere was still grown-up and we felt as though we were out for an adult meal. The service was attentive, but not at all rushed and we all were looking forward to choosing from the dessert menu…
The boys chose chocolate brownie and ice cream…
Hubby had white chocolate cheesecake which he very quickly inhaled, didn’t offer to share; blink and it was gone (sorry no photos!). Apparently the best dessert EVER!!!
I chose their Belgium chocolate and raspberry torte and expected it might be a little heavy. How wrong was I, it was light and creamy and absolutely delicious. I didn’t offer to share either!
As you can see, we all thoroughly enjoyed our meals and we will most definitely be returning to The Akeman very soon; good value, a lovely atmosphere and delicious food – what more would you want from a family friendly restaurant?!”
For more information visit www.oakmaninns.co.uk