BY PALOMA LACY
Eating out with a baby is a very different experience to the days when I flew solo.
It’s either brilliant or so fraught with obstacles that you wish you’d stayed at home and had cheese on toast.
Lunch out in Streatham last week fell into the former category, thanks to the delightful Baby Spinach.
Admittedly, it wasn’t my first choice.
Minutes earlier I popped into a place nearby, which shall remain nameless and spotting the buggy I was pushing, the waitress shot me a look that said we weren’t welcome.
Undeterred, I asked if they had a high chair and she said: ‘No’. She seemed surprised by my request.
Who else apart from freelancers and the odd person on a day off is out for lunch on a Monday? Mums, that’s who.
This particular restaurant packs tables in so tightly that there’s barely enough room to swing a cat, let alone visit with a buggy.
Mildly annoyed, I turned on my heels and headed to Baby Spinach.
So called as the original restaurant is in East Dulwich, and I couldn’t have been made to feel more welcome.
Plenty of space to manoeuvre the buggy, and lots of clean high chairs which, believe me, is a rarity.
This for us was paradise. We shared a veggie burger, made from peas, broad beans and sweetcorn – not a combination I’ve had before and thoroughly enjoyable.
Aptly named Ultimate Veggie Burger, because it was just that, it came topped with roasted red pepper and grilled halloumi, served with homemade slaw and rocket.
I enquired after the seasoning combination – cumin, cayenne pepper and sesame seeds. Beetroot hummus was too good an opportunity to miss and was utterly delicious.
We both loved this concoction of beetroot, walnuts, salt, pepper, tahini, lemon, and garlic.
Highlights from the menu that we didn’t have time to try include open sandwich with roast pepper, romesco and grilled halloumi (£5.50); beetroot hummus and feta (£5); grilled chicken flatbread, marinated in orange, mustard and fennel seed (£9); and sweetcorn fritters with avocado, salsa and tzatziki (£8).
Baby Spinach occupies the same space as a yoga school, which I’m sure is responsible for the zen-like ambience.
Catering for vegans, veggies and meat eaters alike, there is an emphasis on whole food, so expect lots of fresh fruit and veg, pulses, grains and lots of yummy fresh juices and smoothies.
Everything is made from scratch and if you fancy a cuppa, there’s plenty of cake to accompany it – most are pretty healthy looking – to choose from.
Tea wise, there’s everything from breakfast tea, through to fruit and beyond. If health is utmost on your mind, then there’s an impressive super juice menu to peruse.
If more evidence were needed that red carpet is rolled out for little people, the kids’ menu is joyful. Baked beans on toast, beetroot hummus on toast and avocado on toast are all £3.50.
There’s lots of healthy juices or, if you fancy a treat, the Cheeky Monkey is just the ticket – banana, peanut butter, almond milk and chocolate (£3).
There was a nice little note at the bottom of the menu letting us know that Baby Spinach uses ‘paper straws, biodegradable plastic cups and recyclable material as much as possible’.
It also ‘generally avoids beef menu items on advice from Sir David Attenborough’.
It’s nice to see a business with more than one eye on the future of the planet.
Thanks so much Baby Spinach for the welcome and the tastiest lunch we’ve had in a while. Now all you lovely mummies and daddies, check it out. You won’t regret it