For this week’s dad and daughts we were determined to break new ground and via the marvel that is London Overland we decided to head for South London. And so at 10:30 we emerged at Forest Hill bound for the Horniman museum. It’s a great museum for kids (and adults) mainly because it’s got a little bit of everything all under one roof, for free. So there’s bits and bobs worthy of the V&A, a small park and garden like a miniature Kew, and a small aquarium which at £2.50 to enter saves you nigh on £15 and the hoards of the London Aquarium.
After a good two hours there matters turned to sustenance, you should by now know the theme for Dad and Daughts Day, namely a venue that suitable for pater and nipper, and has food we can both enjoy. A license to serve something stronger than coffee is welcome too. Google flagged up the Dartmouth Arms as being nearby when I checked the location of the museum before leaving the house, and a look at their website revealed a nice looking place, with a simple food-in-pub menu. So after the museum we headed there.
Are you open?
At 12:30 we were the only people in there, my spider sense was tingling, but then it was a rainy Tuesday. Bread, a carafe of wine (for me and the other Dad, Neil) Chicken sandwich and chips for the nippers and linguini with clams in chilli, garlic and white wine sauce for me. Neil opted for the baked pancakes with ratatouille and goat cheese. Getting up and having a nose around as I do, I ambled over to the chef. Now I’m a bit fussy about pasta in restaurants, here’s why. Nearly all restaurant blanch their pasta so it’s half cooked, then just finish off as the order comes in. This, at least in my experience, leads to really well cooked pasta with no bite. I asked him to cook it really al dente. ‘I’ll take it to 75% cooked’ he said.
The food arrives
And true to his word it arrived just as I like it, the clams were plump, the sauce ok, I could have taken a touch more nip from the chilli, but no matter. Also it meant that Daughts could try some, which she did (though not quite getting that if she has some of my pasta I’m allowed one of her chips – good sharing). What followed was at standard D&D lunch, forks were dropped, drinks spilled, and food eaten. We also had a short marine biology lesson about bi-valves, and then used the empty shells as castanets, like the Zingzillas do. By now one other diner had come in. On our way out I suggested to the waitress that they should flyer the local nurseries and playgroups and let people know about the place and that it’s fine for kids. ‘We used to get more mums in, but now they go to that new coffee place up the road’ she replied. Tsk, use it or loose it primary carers of Forest Hill.