‘The Place to Eat’ – John Lewis Cafe – Southampton

Faced with the impossibility of getting a table at lunchtime in West Quay shopping centre on a Saturday, and knowing we could at least get a table, we headed off to the cafe, err, sorry, restaurant, at the top of John Lewis in Southampton. It’s just a shame they do such crap coffee, although this is clearly not a worry for Weasel, more for her poor, tired-out parents who quite frankly deserve more than the burnt coffee-coloured liquid that they seem to serve. The food is good, the cakes are good, the furniture is trendy, so why on earth does my cappuccino have to taste like it came from an old lady ‘caff’ in Llandudno? Rant over, onto the Weasel experience.

Food: As you can see, she seems to be thanking some higher being for her teddy bear crisps. Clearly she should be as Husband keeps reminding me ‘I would never have gotten those in my day!’. There were some hot options at the children’s counter, but we went for the typical kids’ bag with 6 items for a set price. Beats me if I remember the price (I’ve recently had a baby, I’m thankful if I can remember to leave the house with all necessary items of clothing present), but it seemed normal at the time. We got some kind of special bonus bag with 2, oh yes 2, sets of crayons in there. Now I can feel like wonder-mum having those in my handbag all the time and waiting for that perfect moment to save the day with colouring utensils (so exciting that I remembered this bit…).

Changing: Of course the facilities are decent, it’s John Lewis. They are conveniently next to the restaurant and have plenty of mats. Husband did claim that he walked in and got loads of dirty looks from nursing mums and therefore I would have to go change the nappy (these mums all mysteriously had disappeared by the end of the 10 minute stand-off that followed). I then went in to find one couple of very new parents very confused as to feeding a newborn in public (ah bless). I proceeded to horrify them with a squirming, loud, totally not wanting a nappy change toddler who had done a poo instead of the expected wee, prompting a scream from me as I tried to do a stealth standing nappy change. Oops. I think they saw the next 2 years of ‘fun’ flash before their eyes.

Verdict: With craploads of tables and even more highchairs, you at least can find somewhere to park yourself on a busy shopping day. You’ll have to queue repeatedly as everything is served at different counters annoyingly, but at least you will find somewhere to sit and with plenty of pram space around your table. If lucky you can get a window over-looking the docks and kiddies can point out containerships and cruise liners. Ooh, thrilling.

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