This is particularly important since Ieuan has the eating habits of an 80 year old, toothless dowager duchess and Caitlin is still in the throes of her 'ice cream with everything' phase. (Please remain calm dental hygenists - the riot act is read regularly about the risks to your teeth about enjoying desserts a little too much).
Happily we were invited by Brewers Fayre to reacquaint ourselves with our local restaurant just a stones' throw (unless you're rubbish at throwing, like I am) from Barry Island (or Barrybados as we almost locals like to think of it). It is also, handily, right next door to a Premier Inn.
What I like about this particular Brewers Fayre is that it is spacious, immaculately clean and the staff are friendly, upbeat and genuinely look like they are happy to be there. The restaurant is designed with clearly designated areas, a 'zone' for coffee or fizzy drinks, a large bar and a separate area for the carvery.
The menu is vast and it took us a good quarter of an hour to decide what we'd like. This was also because the kids were happily colouring their Beano Comics and regaling us with the jokes inside.
Because it was a Saturday, the weekly meal deals were not available but even so, everything was reasonably priced.
The kids menu is very good value and, sensibly, is priced according to the number of courses. Given the generous portion sizes, this means that you're not ordering food that then goes to waste. You can have a main meal for £3.99, 2 courses for £4.49 or 3 courses for £4.99.
Caitlin chose a strawberry Starslush (like a Slush Puppy) and Ieuan had a chocolate Yazoo (which, 80's pop fans, made me think of Alison Moyet). Caitlin had tomato soup with crusty bread as her starter and Ieuan had the Gn-achos, cheesy nachos with a tomato dip.
Is it just me or do other parents only discover their kids' tastes in meals have changed when they go out to eat? Caitlin's soup was rapidly dispatched whilst I sat there saying "but you don't usually like soup". "Well," she announced, "I have had it before you know".
For main courses, Caitlin had Popin Chicken (chicken, chips and baked beans) and Ieuan had the Cod-apult (love the Dennis The Menace inspired names) which was crispy cod bites, chips and beans (substituted for peas). Both meals came piping hot and with a generous portion size.
Cousin Georgia chose the Ultimate Sausage & Mash from the main menu which was a giant Yorkshire filled with Smithfield pork sausages, mash and caramelised onions, all served up with cabbage and gravy (£8.29).
The Husband had Hand Battered Atlantic Cod & Chips, the fish being hand battered to order and served with tartare sauce and a choice of garden or mushy peas (£8.99). The fish came wrapped in its own paper which I thought was a fun touch.
I was feeling rather delicate and it was one of those days when only comfort food would do so I chose Sausage, Egg & Chips, 3 sausages, 2 fried eggs, chips and garden peas (£6.49). The sausages were good quality and meaty and the eggs fried just the right side of runny.
For dessert, Caitlin had a strawberry sundae (of course) and Ieuan has the Tricky Mini Doughnuts which came with a dish of melted chocolate sauce and a dish of sprinkles (or hundreds and thousands as we used to call them before we unfortunately had to go metric). This was also a surprise as, usually, nothing but a chocolate brownie will do.
Georgia had been beaten by the Ultimate Sausage & Mash so I had a cappuccino and was allowed to share the Husband's treacle tart which came nicely warmed and was served with vanilla ice cream (£3.99).
We also had a Diet 7-up, a Diet Coke and the Husband had a pint of Stella. My Diet Coke came with unlimited refills, as did my cappuccino (which was a Costa coffee).
|Ieuan pretending to be Usain Bolt.|
If I had any quibbles at all, it would be that there are a couple of vending machines aimed at kids which meant that Ieuan had a minor strop because we wouldn't let him play with them, and the radio is piped into the Ladies Toilet quite loudly which is ever so slightly off-putting, although singing along to Katy Perry is a bit of a novelty in that situation.
I would definitely recommend Brewers Fayre as a no-fuss, clean and welcoming eaterie for the family - including the kids! Good food and great value. We'll be back.
Further information is available on the Brewers Fayre website at www.brewersfayre.co.uk, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/brewersfayre or on Twitter at www.twitter.com/brewersfayre.
We were invited to dine as guests of Brewers Fayre but all opinions are our own.