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A la Colthard: Stanmer House

I have reviewed Stanmer House before. Set in rolling acres of parkland close to Sussex University opposite the Amex Stadium, the restaurant in the main house offers reliable fare at reasonable prices with a rather country house elegance of antique tables and gallery rooms with fine portraits. It’s well worth a visit and yesterday I wen there with Carol and her adorable son Jamie for Sunday lunch.

Our enjoyment was marred by an exceptionally noisy table in the dining  room of grown ups and young children. The adults seem to encourage the kids to romp, fight and hurl in the room, so much so that we could hardly speak. When I complained to the Maitre’d, he said it was difficult as they promoted child friendliness, to which I retorted that we’re child friendly but ours sat quietly assembling his Lego Spider-Man, a model of politeness and decorum. He said it was up to the parents, but is it? When one’s dining experience is marred by excessive noise and bad behaviour the restaurant should intervene. I would be less bothered if they smoked.

The obvious solution, as they have three large dining rooms, is to have a children’s one. I showed Carol the other rooms to see the art hanging and it was an oasis of calm and relative quiet. However good a restaurant is, if you cannot hold a conversation then it affects the whole experience and it’s something that should be addressed and corrected. You cannot expect the diners themselves to do so: you do not dine out to argue. The Sunday roast was delicious, the service impeccable and the bill of £66 for three more than reasonable, but did I enjoy myself? No I did not!! As a mother of two with Carol a teacher, we have both learned the hard way how to control the excesses of children amd to be sensitive to the enjoyment of others.

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About Daphne Colthard

After graduating at RADA but finding no roles Daphne went into magazine journalism with Good Housekeeping. Widely recognised as one of the country's leading restaurant and hotel reviewers, particularly by herself, Daphne is the author of "Bedded and Breakfasted", a light hearted chick novel and Grand Hotels DC: the Daffers Dictionary. Daphne lives in West London and is married to an investment banker Oliver. They have 2 boys Humphrey and Tarquin. More Posts