FOOD REVIEW: Mini mad hatter teatime fun

Weston Park Cafe

Weston Park Cafe

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What do you need for the perfect Mad Hatter’s tea party?

Well obviously a Mad Hatter and White Rabbit for starters.

Then there would have to be something a little bit crazy but also lots of time for fun.

Oh, and refreshments that are tasty of course.

I took the family to Weston Park Museum on a frosty Sunday – we seem to be in line for lots of those this year.

It is indoors, warm, there is always something that grabs the kids’ attention – and it is absolutely free.

We had planned lunch there but just took a quick look inside the Magic Worlds exhibition first.

When I say a quick look, it was meant to not take long but the boys were so spellbound that we were actually in there for ages.

Billed as a family-friendly exhibition which delves into the spell-binding world of magic and illusion, it certainly grabbed the boys’ attention.

Which brings us back to Alice in Wonderland.

There are lots of costumes to dress up in and so we had six-year-old rabbit and an eight-year-old hatter whooping with delight.

It was in this slightly crazy frame of mind that we ended up finally heading into the cafe.

And if literary creations can have tea at any time, nothing was going to stop the boys heading out of season.

It really doesn’t matter what the weather is when you are a kid and fancy a treat.

So, in true childhood fashion, they picked their pudding before even thinking about something more substantial.

They opted for ice cream (£1.95 for single scoop) regardless of the fact the ground outside was more than icy enough for me.

The ice cream at the museum is Yorkshire’s very own Yorvale, in keeping with the aim of using as much local produce as possible.

Once I had focused their mind on main courses, the two boys both picked chicken nuggets, chips and beans (£4.25).

There are three cooked children’s options and, while they are not very original, they are what kids like and they were wolfed down before tucking into their long-awaited frozen delight.

I won’t go into detail about the game they played while eating. Suffice to say it was called Guess What I Just Ate!

But that is a perfect example of why Weston Park Cafe is so popular with families.

It isn’t the cosiest place but nobody minds if the kids are making a bit of noise – because practically everyone has youngsters with them.

And they are all happy, safe in the knowledge that the food is reliably good and there’s lots of entertainment just around the corner.

There are more high chairs available than I’ve ever seen in a restaurant, a big sign declaring the cafe baby friendly and a microwave to heat up baby food.

If you have picky young eaters there is also the option of a Cafe Kids Box where you pick your own sandwiches and snacks to go inside.

They also serve really nice, proper coffee for grown-ups as well as lots of sweet bakes.

Most importantly, though, when the weather is so cold, they always have delicious soup.

Howard had a large bowl of thick, yummy vegetable soup (£3.95) accompanied by a deliciously crispy roll.

I opted for a panini with bacon, cheese and cranberry sauce – it is nearly Christmas after all.

It was served with a simple salad and for £4.45 did the job.

I’m afraid I’m too nesh for frozen puddings when the temperatures are freezing so I opted for a banoffee tart instead.

It was good.

Just the right size, not too much of any one ingredient, perfectly fresh and cost just £1.45.

Weston Park Cafe is perfect if you want something fairly simple to refuel the family without much fuss and without breaking the bank.

Four of us had two courses and drinks, coming to £26.15.

At this time of year the museum shop is also a brilliant place to hunt for presents that you won’t find anywhere else and their Santa is a must!

Places where you can eat out, entertain the kids and support one of the city’s good causes are few and far between.

You’d have to be as mad as a hatter not to check out Weston Park if you have young children.

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