The Rock and Roses Mama household were kindly invited to sample the new menu at our local Carvery, The Inn By The Sea in Lee-On-Solent, that has recently been refurbished as a Stonehouse Pizzeria; as we are a family of foodies there was no doubt in my mind that we would accept and take Jude to test its ‘toddler-ability’ and family friendliness too! I was wary at first as Jude has recently been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder and it is sometimes a struggle taking him to places that can overstimulate him; but we are always determined to give things a go and so off we went, and we were all suitably impressed! Especially Jude when it came to that joyous time of… pudding!
The Inn By The Sea has always been a favourite of ours when it came to finding somewhere local that is child friendly and accepting of toddler-ness, and we were impressed with the refurbishments from the outset. We did worry that the spanking new-ness of it all may have affected their enthusiasm for smaller children in the premises but no no… they were just as accommodating and had lots for children to get on with while their parents tempted to eat their food while it was still hot!
There were balloons on entering and we were greeted with a friendly welcome and showed to our seats. The decor was lovely and luckily we came at a perfect time so it was quiet enough for me to grab some photos of the beautiful features without looking like a restaurant obsessive with my camera at a meal!
Our lovely waitress, Heather (who our little man took quite a shining too bless him!) grabbed small dude some crayons and a kids activity pack which kept him occupied while we perused the, very extensively delectable I must say, menu.
If you do ever visit The Inn By The Sea in particular I recommend sitting at the very back of the building as it has a beautiful view out into the garden and the ambience was really calming for our little man.
If you haven’t ever visited a Stonehouse Restaurant you are in for a TREAT as they have these fancy buzzing devices (technology of today huh…) that will go off to let you know that your food is ready for collection from the… drum roll please… PIZZA COUNTER!
I mean what more do you want…
Waiting for the buzzer meant this Mama had time to drool over the Cocktail menu; being four months pregnant this time I could not partake but knowing what they offer I know I shall be returning once I am back in the alcohol consumption game!
The Pizza itself, as hinted at by the whole ‘Stonehouse Pizza’ title…, was properly baked in a stone oven with fresh dough which means that every pizza has that amazing authentic Italian feel.
(If you haven’t already, check out our Honeymoon getaway to Italy; as you can tell we are BIG fans of all things Italian and Italian food in particular!)
We were also treated to a complimentary bowl of salad from the salad bar (… this is a general thing for anyone who purchases a main meal; not just us!) so I went to town on that too!
I must add that I did have to very quickly go to said town on the salad bar as a meltdown from the small man quickly ensued as we approached the busier end of the restaurant and after a while he did calm down and return to his seat; only from the prospect of onion rings mind!
I was so grateful to the staff for not making a fuss or treating us any differently when we were trying to calm a struggling toddler in the midst of a meltdown; it made us far more confident in the prospect of family outings to restaurants (Usually we stick to what we know and go places that are relatively open and calmer like Country Parks, National Trust Sites and Beaches)
I am a vegetarian food lover at heart and so was instantly drawn to the Goats Cheese, Spinach and Caramelised Onion Pizza; which as you can see was amazing… and the bigger man went for a Meat Feast of a pizza!
The wooden board it was served on was a nice touch I thought!
So then the time came… for pudding.
That one thing that every child looks forwards to when they enter a place that serves food, and small dudes favourite is BY FAR ice cream; Mamas favourite also happens to be Sundaes so we knew we were in for a treat when we saw THIS bad boy on the menu!
Litle man ended up finishing his off and helping me out with mine so I’m pretty sure he was extremely satisfied and incredibly full buy the time we left!
It was so refreshing to take the small man out for a luscious lunch and, despite the half time interlude of manic-ness, all enjoy ourselves! We were so impressed with the food and will definitely be returning to try out more of what the menu has to offer!
We are also very thankful to the staff who were oh so helpful and made our visit really special; I think our bellies were especially thankful too!
Stonehouse Pizza and Carvery is definitely Rock and Roses Mama approve so head to your local eatery and get stuck in to the doughy goodness!