DUBAI: Taking your child out to a restaurant can be a frustrating experience. With kid’s menus loaded with milkshakes, fried fare and salty treats, there is very little in the way of child-friendly, healthy food on offer.
These unhealthy options led Dubai resident Hana Al-Mulla to dream up what she calls the world’s first children’s restaurant, White and the Bear, which opened at the end of July.
“From experience, I always found it a challenge when deciding where to take my children to eat. White and the Bear offers a stress-free solution for parents and a fun, creative space for children,” Al-Mulla said of her restaurant concept.
Al-Mulla partnered with Annabel Karmel — food nutritionist and UK-based author of more than 50 cookbooks, including “Complete Baby & Toddler Meal Planner” and “Baby-Led Weaning” — to design a menu that would appeal to little ones.
“I chose Annabel as she has truly set new benchmarks when it comes to cooking for children… her concern for nutrition and knack for creativity feeding children healthy but fun foods is one reason I have always followed her as a mother,” Al-Mulla said.
Karmel shared her top tips to help parents get their kids involved in choosing their own healthy meals.
“When my kids were quite young, like five or six, I used to let them cook their meals on Fridays, so they would eat what they made. I would chop things for them and allow them to do the rest. This gives them healthy cooking skills for life and they loved being part of the adult world.”
White and the Bear is a nut-free zone and offers allergy-conscious meals, carefully designed to delight hungry children and fussy eaters with no-sugar date energy balls, hamburgers made with carrots and apples and Bolognese pasta with disguised vegetables. Beyond the appetizing menu, the restaurant also features a reading area, a party zone and a cooking area where the little ones can learn valuable life skills.
“On the first floor of the restaurant, there is a cooking area where children can learn how to cook and are taught simple recipes and they can take the food they made with them” Karmel explained.