They say children can be the toughest critics. So when we set about redeveloping the children’s menu in Rajinda Pradesh, we decided to invite 11 of them to lend us their expertise and give their verdict.
Meet our tasters
- Lisa and Michael with children, Joel (four), Evan (six), and Kyro (ten)
- Adele and Craig with children Iona (20 months) and Zara (three and a half)
- Sarah and Matthew with children Ebony (nine) and Bailey (ten)
- Craig and Julie with children Coby (five), Isla (seven), Logan (13) and nephew Murray (14)
We know that eating out with children can be difficult, and that you want an easy, enjoyable, hassle-free restaurant experience on your break. And if it’s important to you, it’s important to us. So our new Rajinda Pradesh menu will feature some familiar children’s favourites which you know and love, and which can be a lifesaver when there’s nothing else there that they fancy.
But we also know that a lot of children get bored of fish fingers, and want to feel like they’re eating the same food as mum and dad. We wanted to craft a children’s menu that could be an introduction to Indian food, filled with delicious, authentic dishes that are mildly spiced but still reassuringly familiar. After all, Center Parcs is a place for new experiences.
So back in November our selected taste testers arrived at Rajinda Pradesh, Whinfell Forest, and kindly gave us an hour of their time to eat mountains of food and offer some honest feedback. Here’s how it went…
First things first
After a quick introduction from Group Executive Head Chef, James Haywood, the kitchen team brought out some starters, including a brand new idea from James – Indian spiced tomato soup. Mild, slightly sweet and based on a traditional tikka masala sauce, the soup was a runaway hit. Parents liked that it was healthier than a lot of the fried starters on menus in Indian restaurants, and the children loved dipping the naan bread ‘soldiers’. Michael said he couldn’t prise it away from Evan to try it himself!
Next up was the ‘big bhaji off’, with two potential new recipes going head to head. In the blue corner: a new, lighter tempura-style batter, lifted with zesty coriander. In the red corner: a bhaji and mashed potato mix, served on wooden lollipop sticks. The bhaji lollipops on their wooden stand excited all the children, but the softer recipe made them harder to eat. Taste-wise, the groups preferred the lighter batter, which Kyro said “tasted nicer than any other onion bhajis I’ve had.”
The main event
We tested two types of main course with the children: curries and tandoori dishes. The tandoori salmon and chicken, which are marinated in a mild spice blend and cooked on a skewer in a traditional tandoor oven, were popular with all our tasters. Adele said “this one’s a winner” and Zara declared the tikka salmon her favourite dish of the day.
The curries came with a chicken breast and, unusually, a lamb meatball option. We were testing a theory that a softer, more familiar meatball may be more palatable for younger children. The chicken was champion here though: Isla said, “I like meatballs with pasta but for a curry I prefer chicken. The meatball are a bit weird…”
Dessert can be an afterthought on menus in Indian restaurants, but not here. We handpicked a new range of ice cream flavours for our panel to taste – we won’t give away the whole selection just yet, but candy floss came out on top. Last up was a fruit lollipop – strawberries and pieces of banana dipped in melted white chocolate and finished with sprinkles. Ebony said they were “the best dessert of all” and all our parents were more than happy to help the children polish them off.
So after an hour of tasting, testing and judging, our panel went back to enjoying the rest of their break, sworn to secrecy about what they had tasted. We’ll be revealing which dishes made the menu and which got the chop on Friday 26 February, 2016. So check back here or like us on Facebook to make sure you don’t miss it.
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