Tanya Enberg: Unexpected Mother


Should Fine Dining and Babies Mix?


No, we are not those people.

You know, the ones who inappropriately cart their misbehaving kids to high-end restaurants where guests pay big bucks to feast on gourmet entrées in peace.

Indeed, some places are sacred child-free zones.

So, when my partner and I took our then three-and-a-half month old son to the kind of establishment best reserved for hushed conversation and expensive wine while traveling in Glasgow, Scotland, I was terrified.

Pre-baby, this would’ve been unthinkable. Post-baby, well, it’s still pretty much unthinkable, actually. The first and only rule of bringing children to really nice restos is this: Don’t.

After successfully traipsing around this fun city, we probably shouldn’t have pushed our luck. But, this place was special. It’s called the Ubiquitous Chip and it’s a quirky Scottish gem that looks like an elegant tropical rainforest inside and is hailed one of the best restaurants in the city. What were we thinking? I suspect we weren’t.

Sadly, since becoming parents, eating out typically means wolfing down grub that involves syrup, some greasy potato side dish and limp slices of tomato. Here we were away, and we wanted to live it up, dammit! For one precious evening, we ate like civilized adults — steak for me, and grilled Carsphairn roe deer for him.

We savoured a bottle of red as though every drop was adorned with flecks of pure gold. We talked and laughed and — gasp! — shared a leisurely dessert. It was heaven.

As for our son, he miraculously slept. Fellow diners even complimented us on his good behavior. Thing is, they didn’t know he had spent the months prior screaming his little head off, responding to both his crib and stroller as if we’d lined them with nails. Had they known the selfish risk we’d taken — that with one false move the relaxing atmosphere would’ve come to a screeching halt — they would’ve demanded our heads.

Yes, the kid could’ve brought down the house. But, he didn’t.

Maybe he knew we needed time to be us again but, more likely, we lucked out.

To be clear, bringing kids to places where the napkins are made of linen and the kitchen is outfitted with an actual chef is about as smart as poking a grizzly bear with a sharp stick or trying to pet the head of an alligator.

That said, should you decide to be those people, I advise you save it for when you’re far, far from home. That way, should things go awry, you’ll never have to see the faces of those very angry diners ever again.