The short answer is ‘ABSOLUTELY!’ We took a trip to Guildford’s Wagamama on Saturday. It’s one of my favourite places to eat, and I wanted to see what our DF SF two-year old thought. If I’m honest, I had my doubts as to whether there would be anything particularly young child friendly, let alone soy free on the menu.
Intolerances are a pain in the backside, especially when it comes to eating out. Most family-friendly restaurants and pubs serve what they serve and are unable to cater to specific requests. There’s never a lot on offer for those who have to avoid certain foods, ESPECIALLY when it comes to desserts. This is definitely not the case at Wagamama – who by the way, are SO welcoming of hectic young children. Thumbs up.
Wagamama were super-helpful when it came to advising about allergies and intolerances on booking. And when I unexpectedly turned up twenty minutes early cutting short our shopping trip, they’d already prepared our table. Yep, I was happily shopping the sale items in Gap Kids when all of a sudden my nine week old baby, Billy began to scream blue murder for a feed. By the sounds of him, you’d think he’d been deliberately starved for a week.
Flustered, I frantically pushed the pram down Guildford’s cobbled high street to take refuge in the restaurant while my husband and daughter followed behind. Well, that was the plan. My husband meanwhile had other ideas, and got himself lost in Guildford chasing our toddler around in circles. This was far from ideal when top up and tit out, Billy refused to breastfeed and I realised I was left unarmed – my husband had the changing bag with Neocate and bottles.
Billy really only tolerates the lying down side-boobing position, and as accommodating as the staff appeared to be on first impression, I thought I’d swerve hitting the deck with the baby for a bit of boob time. Probably wise, some people are weird about breastfeeding in public… Cue even louder screams (from the baby, honest!) and much swearing under my breath.
The staff had already set aside table conveniently tucked away, with space for everything including our rather large double buggy. A very clean (this is practically unheard of in public places!) wooden highchair was already in place and a vegan menu was placed alongside the regular menus on the table. I was impressed that they could supply a dedicated vegan menu, immediately ruling out any issue of dairy. Now onto the soy… This was a little more troublesome, but the waitress on hand was fantastic, she clearly explained exactly which safe options our daughter could have. We opted for a plate of chicken with rice, corn and cucumber.
This is something that nine times out of ten our daughter misses out on, but at Wagamama they had a choice of delicious DF-SF ice cream AND sorbet. We went for the strawberry ice cream and she loved it.
The staff were on hand to supply crayons and drawing paper, and didn’t even mind when she decided to run all the way around the restaurant and into the kitchen, with me in hot pursuit. I’ve previously been hesitant to take the kids into Wagamama because of their intolerances, but I’ve since become enlightened. It’s fantastic the restaurant are catering so fully for vegans and refreshing to find the staff well informed about allergens and intolerances. There’s also a folder detailing everything included in each meal on every menu, so you can be absolutely sure what you’re eating.
Besides the chaos of taking a toddler out for food in a public place, it made a nice change to watch her enjoying her food in a restaurant knowing there would be no nighttime pain, or snotty noses and temper tantrums in the days that followed.