Can adults order from the kids' menu?

Sometimes eating out of a car is the best!
KIRK HARGREAVES/FAIRFAX NZ

Sometimes eating out of a car is the best!

Many restaurants these days have a kids' menu, often offering a variety of fried items with a side of fries. But we'll talk about those menus another time.

Today I want to talk about the kids' menus we adults totally do want to order from. If you're ordering for kids, or at least have children with you, it's all hunky-dory. But what if you crave that kids dish or just fancy a smaller portion when you don't have any children at hand?

Some eateries flat out refuse to serve adults from the kids menu, while others are totally fine with it.

For example, popular restaurant chain Mexico has an awesome kids menu with $6 treats but management tells me that it's only available for children under 12.

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In contrast, while chicken chain Nandos say that their Nandinos menu was created so that these items were a good meal size for under 12s, they also add "if an adult did want to order one of these options, that's totally up to them and we wouldn't say no".

Rachael Shadbolt from Hospitality New Zealand says that "ultimately it comes down to the individual operator as to who can and can't order from the kids menu".

"However, operators are generally really keen to give the customer what they want and are good at catering to various guest requests, including dietary requirements, portion size, sauce on the side, steak cooked extra well done, tomato sauce with everything etc."

If you're just after a smaller portion, you're not limited to the kids' menu, you can just ask for it.

"Sometimes you just don't need a three-egg omelette so there is no harm in asking for two eggs instead," she says.

The changing nature of our eating habits these days is reflected in many items on menus being offered in both entree and main sizes.

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"Be aware however that asking for a half portion does not necessarily mean the meal will be halved in price," she adds.

"There are also some meals that can't be downsized due to the pre-preparation of food. i.e. an individual creme brulee looks pretty mean and unattractive if the chef has had to scoop half the contents out of the ramekin."

Fair enough. So next time you want that small meal, just ask. Or take your kids and pretend it's for them. Or if you don't have any you can borrow mine, as long as you feed them too and bring them back.

 - Stuff

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