Family Friendly Outings: Sticks’n’Sushi – Greenwich

Flipping heck it’s been a while since I posted anything, let alone an edition of the Family Friendly Outings…I promise we have been taking the little Madam out!

Adelyn recently learned how to say “sushi” so we figured we’d take her out to have her first taste and treat ourselves at the same time. Combined with a trot through Greenwich Park and a good old play in the playground – it was a lovely (albeit grey/windy) Sunday afternoon out.

Ambience: Big square (some communal) style tables with comfy, cushioned and wide-backed supportive chairs for the grown-ups in a corner area at the front of the restaurant – window-side views to keep little ones occupied and shouting “BUS!” every so often. People with young families were seated in this section, and it was nice and chilled. No worrying about where to put your pram or your child dropping food on the floor – because other kiddos were doing the same! (Further back in the restaurant is the “grown-up” area nearer to the kitchen, with the harder, more style-inclined chairs).

Facilities: Ladies & Gents loos down the stairs, very nicely appointed. Easily accessible and clean/spacious changing facilities located on the main restaurant floor. Standard wooden high-chair supplied. Children’s activities included in the menu and a tub of crayon-pens to keep little fingers occupied before the sticks n’ sushi-eating begins. 


Table was a little suspiciously sticky but nothing a good anti-bac wipe-down couldn’t handle – bonus of being a parent, you’ll never be caught without tissues/wet-wipes of some description.

Food: Bit of something for everyone here really, a nice variety of meat on sticks and a great variety of both traditional (salmon and avocado) and non-traditional (salmon and cream cheese?!) sushi on offer. Impressed by the Children’s menu at about £7.50. We went for the Chicken meatball skewer and salmon maki rolls (also came with choice of small drink and a little chocolate fish). 

 

Less impressed by the Hotate Kataifi (scallops served in a little crispy kataifi bowl), which at £10.80, we were expecting significantly bigger potions of scallop instead of what seemed like one scallop cut up into 6 pieces. Didn’t bother photographing it but in hindsight, wish I had to share the dismay!

Enjoyed the Table for 2 sushi platter, which consisted of Nigiri: Salmon, tuna, shrimp, salmon New York (i.e. with a bit of minced garlic on top) inari and sea bass,  Maki: Pink Alaska, spicy tuna and gypsy roll.



Overall: Nice for a family treat and the restaurant was suitably child-friendly, though truth be told, Adelyn was way more interested in popping the edamame beans than actually eating anything. Oh well, we’ll just have to try her on more sushi some other time 🙂

 

Family Friendly Outings: Flat Iron, Henrietta St

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The Flat Iron steak, with sides of Roast Aubergine and Dripping Cooked Chips – served with Peppercorn Sauce*

Environment: This is the only Flat Iron I’ve been to and I hear it’s the biggest of the three locations. Beautiful frontage, with a window to have a nose at the Butcher butchering away and the ice cream counter at the front (more on that later). You can just about wheel a Bugaboo around in there, if you don’t mind being glared at by other patrons. They don’t take reservations though so if you’re hungry and heading there with a little one in tow, you might want to plan to get there shortly after midday to get a table. They’ll only seat you if all of your party are present too.

There’s a tempting bar to wait at, should you find yourself waiting for a table and you’re not, y’know – breastfeeding. Ginger beer for me then…

Facilities: The grown-up loos are located downstairs, but there is a changing table in the disabled toilet to be found on the ground floor. Please note that no matter how nicely you ask (we tried!) they are unable to provide hot water in which to warm milk with. Health and Safety *rolls eyes*

High chair: your standard wooden high chair.

Food: Ah the food – this is what you’re coming here for! My eyes are often bigger than my stomach – so when the flat iron steak was placed in front of me, I wilted a teensy bit if I’m perfectly honest BUT it was actually a great size to enjoy – as you’ll want to partake of the sides on offer and have space for that freebie ice cream at the end of your meal. Actually – looking at the photo, it looks substantial so perhaps I had my husband goggles on as I know he would want to demolish this x3.

So the flat iron (US) steak, aka the butler’s (UK) or oyster blade (Aussie/Kiwi) steak – to be found in the shoulder. It’s a cheaper cut, thus the most excellent price point. Rich in flavour and delicious when eaten Medium/Medium-Rare (cooked any more and I expect your jaw would be in for a bit of a workout).

The chips were crisp and more-ish – as you should well expect as they’re cooked in beef dripping! And I loved the creamed spinach over the aubergine. Went really well with the steak, as did my fave steak sauce – Peppercorn.  At £10 for a flat iron steak, including a little pot of salad leaves – I’ve not felt the need to try the other cuts that they also have on offer  yet.

This is also the only branch that gives you a free ice cream cone at the end of your meal, just take your receipt to the counter on your way out and they’ll give you a scoop. Salt Caramel, dunked into dark chocolate shavings – oh my. There’s a whole history to it too – I believe historically there used to be a fella who would give out ice cream in this part of Covent Garden, so Flat Iron have honoured his generosity.

Overall: I’m going to say this because I am one – there were a hilarious amount of Asians in there both times I’ve been.  What can I say – we love good food at good prices! I’m a fan of Flat Iron – the service is friendly, even on New Years Day. The food comes quickly – perfect for is your infant is having one of those days. I wouldn’t place it as an immediately family friendly restaurant however, because of the no-hot-water thing. Also because you have mini cleavers on your table, so watch those tiny wandering hands if they’re within grabbing distance. If you have slightly older children though, the whole family will be able to enjoy an affordable steak, with free ice cream to boot – what a treat!

*photo courtesy of my dear friend Lucy – because I have not gotten the quick snapping of food thing down yet mostly because I am hungry a lot of the time, as is Adelyn!

Warming Pot of Butternut Squash Chilli for the Family

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Christmas is coming, the Lee Family are getting fat. Sometimes, you just want to know that you have something virtuous but stonkingly yummy waiting for you, and I think this is one of those warming dishes that can be as naughty or nice as you like.

My instinct is to carb load and then add cheese on top (see later) so I wanted to try out cooking up something that would, at it’s heart, be healthy, one-pot and easily modified to suit the needs of the family, and act as a great base for Christmas dinner leftovers.

This dish is a Butternut Squash Chilli recipe, with a decent portion taken out of the main pot before you add the spices for the grown-ups and then cooked separately to include a cooked chicken thigh so that the little one gets a good dose of all important protein.

Serves 2-3 famished grown ups, and 2-3 portions for a hungry baby

Base Ingredients:

2 tbsp olive oil

Half of a decent-sized Butternut Squash, deseeded and cut into 2cm cubes (freeze the other half)

1 Red and 1 Yellow Pepper, deseeded and diced

1 courgette (or more if it’s teeny), diced

1 Onion, diced

2 cloves of garlic, minced

2x Tinned Tomatoes

1/2 a can of sweetcorn

400g red kidney beans

2 handfuls of Spinach, chopped roughly

250ml low-sodium vegetable or chicken stock

Additions for Baby:

1/4 tsp ground cumin

1 chicken thigh, boneless and skinless, sliced in half so that you have two thinner fillets

Finishing Touches for Grown-Ups:

Pinch of dried chilli (or more, to taste)

1 tsp ground cumin

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

1 tsp of cocoa powder

In a large, heavy pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Fry the onions, peppers and garlic till softened for a few minutes.

Add the courgette and sweetcorn, and cook till the courgette softens for another few minutes.

Add the tinned tomatoes, beans and the stock then mix well. Allow to boil and then lower to a simmer for 15- 20 minutes. Add the spinach and simmer for another few minutes till wilted.

At this point you then take out about 4-5 ladle scoops of the mix to pop into a small saucepan – this will become your Baby mix.

To the main pot – this is when you add the flavour and spice to make it palatable for grown-ups! Add the chilli, cumin, cayenne and cocoa powder. Season to taste with salt and pepper and voila – finished. By all means, if you have leftovers from your Christmas meal, they’d make a tasty addition to the chilli.

I served this with a sprinkling of Tabasco, garlic bread, avocado and cheese on top.

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Baby Mix: (as seen in the photo at the top)

Pop the small saucepan containing the Baby mix back onto a low-to-medium heat and add the 1/4 tsp cumin. It might seem a little strange to put a relatively strong tasting spice into baby food but babies apparently enjoy strong flavours – I can attest that Adelyn usually noms this down with gusto.

Add the chicken too and allow to cook for another 10 minutes. I like to just place this on top of the mix, slightly submerged. Once it’s cooked, I can then easily scoop the chicken out and chop it up finely (if your baby is on Stage 3 weaning/can deal with texture/lumps). If your baby prefers a smoother texture, blitz the lot up and serve up a portion.

Freezes well, just defrost and heat gently to eat.


Kx