Forget the kids' menu, here are some fine family-friendly restaurants where your little tots can be gourmands-in-training and nosh on the same food as you

Once upon a time, parents had children and kissed their restaurant-going habits goodbye. In fact, up until only a few years ago, taking your kids to a good restaurant with dim lighting and a bar programme was frowned upon. But in this new age of inclusivity and millennial parents, heading out to a fine restaurant with young brood in tow is all about the chance to teach young children about etiquette while making memories with an excellent dining experience.
Here are a few places where children are welcome, even if it means they must eat through a multi-course tasting menu made from ingredients with unpronounceable foreign names.

1. Odette

Award-winning French fine dining restaurant, Odette, welcomes gourmands over the age of seven as long as their parents are happy to have them nosh on one of its regular four-to-six-course tasting menus at lunch, or six-to-eight-course menus at dinner. In fact, the restaurant sees young diners from Singapore and the rest of the world visiting with their families at least four times a week. “We had a seven-year-old girl visit us a few years ago, who enjoyed a full eight-course menu and had so many questions for us,” said the restaurant’s spokesperson. “It was heartwarming to see this level of engagement and passion for food at such a young age. We always want to evoke a sense of wonder and amazement with kids and adults alike, and it was rewarding to see her eyes light up with every course.”

2. El Mero Mero

With the lush, sprawling grounds of Chijmes as its backdrop, it’s no wonder Mexican restaurant El Mero Mero sees parents come with their children in tow on weekends. A proud parent himself, founder Alejandro Blanco says it never occurred to him to not allow children in his establishment. “I think dining in a restaurant is a great experience for children,” he affirmed. “Of course, this is dependent on how open and receptive a child is to new things. But letting them dine in an environment where they can try something new is a great way to expand their horizons, especially when it comes to different types of cuisines and cultures.” With familiar, albeit more elegant versions of dishes like tacos and guacamole, children are typically happy to eat whatever their parents order here.

El Mero Mero | #01-20 Chijmes S(187996) | 9722 8171

3. Origin Grill

The swanky Origin Grill at Shangri-La Hotel, Singapore allows children of all ages to dine in its colonial-inspired dining room. They even have a dedicated kid’s menu with the likes of spaghetti carbonara, beef sliders with cheese and chips, and a 100-gram tenderloin steak with mashed potatoes and green beans. Sometimes, adults and children dine together in large groups, like when the restaurant hosted a birthday party for 40 adults and 30 children. “It was amazing to see all those lovely kids having fun, while enjoying our cuisine,” said the restaurant’s spokesperson.

4. Meta

Chef Sun Kim and his team welcome children above the age of four at their Michelin-starred restaurant, and would typically dish out a pasta or risotto, which they can enjoy while their folks dine on the Korean-accented modern European tasting menus. “We would ask the child what kind of pasta or risotto they like—whether its tomato-based, cream-based, meat or seafood,” said Kim. “Sometimes parents want to celebrate a birthday or an anniversary and would like their child to be there on the special occasion, so we welcome children. I think dining at Meta can allow children to learn good etiquette.”


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5. Rhubarb Le Restaurant

For its chef de cuisine, Paul Longworth, cooking for kids is a pleasure, especially when they are well-behaved, and appreciate the good food. This classic French restaurant sees children above the age of eight grace its dining room weekly and typically suggests they pick a main course off the a la carte menu. “We don’t have dishes like pasta, but we are happy to change things to make accommodations for the kids. We would work with dishes that are already on our menu and swap out ingredients like horseradish if it’s not something the child would eat,” said Longworth.

Rhubarb Le Restaurant | 3 Duxton Hill Singapore S(089589) | 8127 5001

6. Pollen

This airy conservatory-style restaurant in the temperature-controlled Flower Dome plays host to children on an almost daily basis. Kids can opt for the regular tasting menu or pick from the a la carte list, which executive chef Steve Allen and his team are happy to simplify to suit young palates if need be. There’s a rib eye steak that parents can order for their children, made from premium Thousand Guineas shorthorn beef, or a classic fish and chips made from the Scottish Gigha halibut, as well as pastas from Pollen’s more casual sister restaurant on the second floor. “We have the luxury of a fairly big space, so if we have children at tables, we will try to keep them away from couples celebrating anniversaries or having a romantic evening,” said Allen. “Eating in a restaurant like Pollen can hopefully teach children how finer restaurants work.”

7. Cheek Bistro and CloudStreet

“We are more than happy to have children aged five and above in our restaurants, as long as they are well-behaved and not disruptive to other diners,” shared Rishi Naleendra, chef-owner of Cheek Bistro and Cloudstreet. “I hate saying no to children, but sometimes it’s tricky at a restaurant like Cloudstreet where we only have 28 seats,” he said of his newly opened upscale establishment along Amoy Street. At his more casual Cheek Bistro, Naleendra’s team usually cooks a dish of fish or beef with potatoes for children. At Cloudstreet, kids are encouraged to order one of the tasting menus on offer. “We’ve had kids who have had the seven-course menu, and one was only five years old,” said Naleendra.

Cheek Bistro | 84 Amoy Street | 6513 7868 | CloudStreet | 21 Boon Tat Street | 6221 1911

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