Claire Smith: Creating a friendly venue for families? Child’s play!

IT WAS pigs’ ears and champagne at the launch night of Tom Kitchin and Dominic Jack’s new pub the Scran and Scallie in Stockbridge.

The two Michelin-starred chefs have been cooking up their own bar snacks and guests were invited to try lacy pork scratchings, tripe and tongue appetisers and possibly the most meltingly delicious cheese straws ever created.

There has been a lot of chat about the new venture at the unfashionable end of Stockbridge. Is it a restaurant? Is it a pub? Is it a gastro-pub? And how are they planning to accommodate children?

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So all was revealed on Thursday night. Tom Kitchin’s Swedish wife Michaela has done a fantastic job creating an interior where you can have a drink, have a meal, have a porky snack and keep an eye on the nippers.

The “scallies” part of the new business is a little hidey- hole, set in an alcove and separated from the main restaurant by a clear glass wall. There are bean bags on the floor and a flatscreen TV showing cartoons.

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It is on the opposite side of the premises to the pub part of the space. And it is also as far away as possible from the front door, so there is no chance of the scallies escaping into the great outdoors.

It’s a brilliant design. It means once children have finished eating meals at the table they can toddle off and loll about in their own private space. The parents can keep an eye on them through the glass but the kids will inhabit a little universe of their own.

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Launch night was a real family affair. Road-testing the new kiddie corner was Kaspar Kitchin – a tiny, curly- haired, kilt-wearing carbon copy of his papa. Grandpa Ron, who also does the financial planning, had been to the shop to buy a selection of movies.

With Michaela about to give birth to twins it’s hardly surprising the family is developing a business which makes a virtue of being child-friendly. Creating a space fit for drinkers, foodies and teeny-weenies is a big challenge – but I think they may have cracked it.