As anyone with young children will tell you, going out for a family meal is not always the easiest of tasks.
If your little angels decide to play up while you’re at a restaurant, it can be hard work, stressful and downright embarrassing.
So, your choice of restaurant is more often than not dictated by what your kids would like, which is why we thought we’d try out the Hampton, in, you’ve guessed it, Hampton.
I must have driven past this pub/restaurant/Premier Inn hundreds of times over the years. In that time I have never popped in, but have noticed it does have a Fun Factory for children to play in.
Now, this would immediately remove 90 per cent of any stress involved in our meals out – unsurprisingly, it’s while children are waiting for their meals that they tend to play up. However, on the day we arrived, we were told that the Fun Factory was shut as the heating was not working in there – not a good start.
Undeterred, we sat down and chose from the menu while Finlay and Nell amused themselves with the crayons and activity books that the waitress provided.
For starters, my wife opted for the prawn cocktail (£4.29) and I chose the chicken goujons (£3.99).
Ann was pleased enough with her opening dish (let’s be honest, it’s hard to go wrong with a prawn cocktail), while the goujons also did the job, although I would rather have had them served with a sweet chilli dip, rather than a tomato salsa one.
While ordering, we had requested that the kids’ meals be served at the same time as our starters, unfortunately this did not happen.
For main course, it did not take me long to decide to go for the pie night buffet (£6.49). Each night, the Hampton hosts a different buffet, including Tex Mex, Indian and Chinese.
Now, I love a good pie, so I was not going to turn down this opportunity.
Basically, you go to the buffet counter and choose a filling and topping (puff pastry, cobbler or crumble) and the chef puts it together for you, before you select your own chips, mash or veg.
I went for the leek and potato bake with a puff pastry lid, which really hit the spot.
It’s an all you can eat buffet so I followed this with the lamb hotpot with a crumble topping, which was also enjoyable.
However, the chips were a bit lukewarm, although I did like the mash I had with my second pie.
Ann went for the Mediterranean vegetable lasagne (£7.29) for her main course, which was of the usual chain pub standard. Nothing wrong with it, although it was far from spectacular.
Finlay and Nell had the pizza and roast chicken options from the kids menu (£4.49 for two courses), which they both enjoyed.
Despite being stuffed from two pies, I decided to try to squeeze in a dessert as well and had the apple pie, which was a bit of a disappointment – it was quite thin and the pastry was a bit soggy.
The rest of the puddings were more successful though, with Ann enjoying the Belgian banoffee waffle (£3.99) and the children both wolfing down their jelly and ice cream.
It was unfortunate that on the night we arrived the Fun Factory was shut.
It sounds like a great idea and would certainly have made our lives easier on the night.
Not that our children are little monsters, honestly!
7 out of 10
The Hampton, 4 Ashbourne Road, Hampton, Peterborough, PE7 8BT.
Tel: 01733 310772. Opening times: Mon-Sat: 12.00noon-11pm (Sunday: 10.30pm). Breakfast: weekdays 6:30-10:30am, weekends 7:00-11:00am.
Seasonal Soup of the Day £2.29
Chicken Liver Pâté £3.79
Garlic & Herb Breaded Mushrooms £3.29
Beef & Ale Pie £7.59
Smothered Chicken £8.59
Goan Vegetable Curry £7.49
10oz* Rump Steak £11.49
BBQ Ribs £10.79
Mixed Grill £10.79
Hand-battered Fish & Chips £7.29
Breaded Scampi £7.49
Chocolate Fudge Cake £3.29
Ultimate Sharing Sundae £5.29
Sticky Toffee Pudding £3.79
Ice cream £2.29
Caramel Apple Crumble £3.79
Belgian Banoffee Waffle £3.99
SNACKS (MONDAY TO FRIDAY)
Sandwiches & Baguettes
Prawns in Seafood Sauce £4.29
Mature Cheddar Cheese & Tomato £3.29
Mature Cheddar Cheese & Ham £3.99
Add chips & coleslaw or a bowl of soup £1.00
Hot Filled Sandwiches & Baguettes
Chicken Club Sandwich £5.29
BBQ Chicken Melt Baguette £5.29
Blackened Steak Baguette £6.29
See more reviews on our restaurants map at peterboroughtoday.co.uk/restaurants