We decided that we’d take Sophie out for a  birthday dinner last week. We must be getting more sophisticated – Pizza Express is pretty high brow for a 2 year old!

I wouldn’t describe her as your classic food critic. You know the types I mean? They swan on to Masterchef and run their sceptical eyes and tastebuds over food which looks amazing but, apparently, doesn’t taste anything like as delicious.

However, if she doesn’t like something, she’ll make her views known pretty clearly (just not  very eloquently)!

So a lovely restaurant like Pizza Express, especially at the end of a week where she had been quite ill, was a risky decision…


It was completely packed. 5pm on a Friday night is clearly prime time for families to dine out with their children and I had the dubious pleasure of seeing a number of pupils from school there too. We focussed our attention on sorting Sophie out – plying her with rice cakes and letting her colour everything in was the main diversionary tactic! – and made out like this was something we always get to do!

They do a great little menu for youngsters. Just £6.95 for a three course feast and our feeling was Sophie would lap it up.

Naturally her sophisticated palette liked the sound of the Napoletana pasta so that was her main course. Dough balls, essentially baked bread, was the starter on offer and I’ve always been amazed by how wonderful they taste.

To be honest, when they arrived I think Sophie was a bit non-plussed by their appearance and it took a lot of persuading to get her to try them. Once she did, she devoured them! Starter Success.

The pasta came out and initially it was scorching hot. She had to wait patiently for us to blow on it – not the most dignified of table etiquette in a restaurant, but needs must! – before it was finally chopped up and ready for her to eat.

The pasta dish was a hit

The pasta dish was a hit

We decanted it onto a plate from its serving bowl which was part of the cooling plan, and this worked well although it did spill all over the table (and the floor!) without the lip to keep it in!

Essentially though, main course was a success as well!

In the meantime, the excitable Italian waiter serving the next table had demonstrated his enjoyment in wishing children Happy Birthday and getting the entire restaurant to join in with a hearty chorus. It all looked a bit intense for our little girl who still thought that each Happy Birthday song was for her but would not have appreciated all that attention.

So when our waitress came out with a chocolate brownie pudding for her, the right call was to sing our own little song to Sophie, which she smiled along to rather cutely before plunging into chocolate cake! (It was quite a big portion so her Daddy reluctantly helped her out!)

By that time, she’d been sat for an hour and a half and eaten a huge meal so it was time to go home. We paid up quickly, said a grateful thanks and took her home to bed.

Pizza Express with a toddler? Definitely a great shout!

As for Friday at 5pm? Absolutely bonkers!