Want to eat like a big kid, only with more grace and style? This restaurant in Kyoto offers a “Kids’ Special – for Adults”! Naturally we had to go and scoff—er, try—it for ourselves…

I don’t know about you, but when I was growing up, I was always encouraged to eat the same things my parents were eating. My unrefined little kid palate may have longed for nothing but dinosaur-shaped turkey drummers with lashings of ketchup, but I’m thankful for my upbringing now because as adult I can eat almost anything. Being a picky eater can really put a dampener on an adventurous lifestyle, especially in a country like Japan where there’s an almost endless array of delicious and not at all unusual food options available, like fermented soybeans and grilled cow intestines.

But in Japan, many restaurants offer special kids menus which are designed to cater to children’s likes and dislikes. Exotic flavourings and strong sauces are disposed of in favor of simpler fare in smaller portions. It makes things easier for parents of already picky kids, but often kids’ specials seem a little bland and boring, at least to me.

Still, many adults who also have simpler tastes can sometimes find themselves coveting the kids’ menu. “Why don’t they have kids’ specials for adults?” these people no doubt loudly lament. It seems there’s enough of them out there to have inspired a trend for restaurants to start offering “Kids’ Specials for Adults” – we sent our Japanese reporter Masami down to one such eatery in Kyoto to give us her big kid’s opinion!

▼ What a cute-looking restaurant!

Masami Headed down to Cotelette’s, a western dining cafe in the Fushimi area of Kyoto. She ordered their special kids’ lunch for adults, which consists of high-quality fare and is priced at 1,380 yen (US$11) per person. The meal consisted of hamburg steak (a rich beef/pork patty minus the buns), a deep-fried shrimp, crab cream croquette, and a deep-fried breaded pork cutlet. Plus the ubiquitous bowl of rice and miso soup, and unlimited access to the soft-drinks machine!

▼ The Kids’ Special for Adults in all its deep-fried glory. There’s even some grated cabbage thrown in so you can kid yourself you’re getting your veggies. Kid yourself, get it?

Masami reports that the hamburg steak was thick and juicy, and the crab cream croquette was filled with real crab. The breaded items, meanwhile, were pleasantly crisp and crunchy. In general, this was a top-notch meal filled with simple yet tasty items which ought to appeal to the fussiest of eaters (unless they can’t handle seafood, that is, but you don’t meet too many fish-haters in Japan—funny, that.)

▼ Mmm, crabby.

▼ Check out that juicy hamburg steak.

▼ The cutlet looks cooked to perfection.

▼ This shrimp’s super-excited to be eaten! Look, he wants to live in your tummy.

▼ Shrimp has to be one of the friendliest and most palatable seafoods, perfect even if you’re not a big fan of fishy dishes.

Perhaps it’s just me, but if I was going to eat an adult-sized version of a kid’s lunch, I’d really want them to go the whole hog and stick some colourful mini toothpick flags in there. Maybe throw in a colouring sheet and some crayons, too. Why not? Although I suppose this is supposed to be an upmarket, mature version of a kid’s lunch, and crayoning away with one hand while shovelling shrimp into your mouth with the other doesn’t exactly scream sophisticated dining. Hmph.

Restaurant information:

Location: Kyoto, Fushimi-ku, Kataharamachi 296-1
Hours: 11 :00 – 15:00, 17:00 – 22:00
Closed: Thursdays

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