For a parent, the choice for a good dining out place with the kids is easy - it has to be kid and family friendly and better yet, have stuff to keep the little buggers busy so that the adults can eat in peace.
Now, being kid-friendly need not necessarily refer to those colour-on-the-wall, chicken-nuggets-for-everyone, Barney-dancing-in-the-TV-system type of places, but rather, restaurants that the entire clan can agree on, that have both spaghetti for kids and grilled steak and ribs for Dad and Mum. Or spaghetti for Dad and Mum, too. These restaurants aren't afraid of the little bit of noise that comes with a family's night out, and can typically offer distractions like crayons and toys so that you don't have to take that steak or ribs to go.
And as useful distractions, they certainly don't come any better than a sprawling open green space for kids to expend their boundless energy while parents get to dine and sip a pint just right beside.
Tucked away in a sleepy corner of Gillman Barracks, Timbre @ Gillman is exactly the sort of place where one can afford to kick back and chill the weekend away.
But chilling with the kids? Is that even really possible???
Well, it is now. Thanks to Timbre @ Gillman's newly-launched Saturday Social BBQ!
Happening every FIRST Saturday of the month, Saturday Social BBQ features an awesome Live BBQ menu but more importantly, loads of fringe activities to keep all the kiddos happy and busy.
I have to admit - when I first received the invite, I had envisioned the fringe activities to be the obligatory colouring sheets and simple craft works. But boy, was I wrong big-time. The monkies were kept so occupied with the activities that we ended up spending up two whole hours there... and that didn't include our dining time!
Here was what they got up to.
There were many art and craft activities to choose from and Ayd immediately zoomed in on getting some batik-painting done first while the other 2 monkies headed to conjure up some masks of their own.
The thing I love about the individual activity station is that there was always an instructor overseeing the proceedings so parents can feel assured to leave their kids at the stations alone. And with a little bit of help, these were the masks that the monkies ended up with.
There was a henna booth where one could choose to tattoo a henna.
Which the girls obviously could not resist.
Needless to say, the wifey and I got the opportunity to slowly savour our fruity beers while the monkies crafted away.
That was until the lure of outdoorsy fun beckoned.
This, I reckon, was the the fave part of the restaurant for my monkies, simple because it was such a sprawling piece of open land for them to run amok.
Oh, just remember to keep the kids away from the edge of the field as it slopes downwards from there. As long as they play in the middle of the green area, it should be fine. And fine would be rather apt to describe the complete shade from the evening sun that the entire area enjoys too! We were there from 5pm onwards so it certainly made playing in the outdoors a tad cooler... complete with all the playthings provided.
I guess I don't have to tell you how much all the kids - not just my monkies - enjoy rampaging on the green fields then. Photos alone will suffice.
As a bonus, instructors from the Junior Academy of Music (or JAM) - a collaboration between Timbre and Fidgets - were present to conduct drumming workshops for the little munchkins too!
Given a free rein to drum up an enormous amount of noise, how could all the kids resist?
I thought this would be the perfect moment for parents to step away from the drums to give those ears a respite and focus on the very sole objective in the first place (at least to me) - the BBQ FOOD!
Take your pick from Baby Back Ribs, Pork Sausage, Sirloin Steak, Lamb Leg, Chicken or Squid (between S$12++ to S$18++) and complement with one of Timbre's excellent beer selection, and I'm thinking of one word - shiok.
Okay, so a round of Truffle Fries (awesome stuff) and Timbre's signature Chicken Wings wouldn't hurt as well.
For the record, my monkies declared the wings to be better than those from IKEA. And coming from them, that is saying A LOT. For an added touch of novelty, the monkies were allowed to place their own orders from the Kids Menu via an iPad.
Spaghetti and Fish & Chips were what they eventually settled for, and they weren't too shabby choices.
They lapped it all up. Must have been really famished, they were. Either that, or all the activities must have worked up a raging appetite!
No prizes for guessing where they all zoomed off to the minute they polished off their plates.
Not that I am complaining of course. For once, the wifey and I could afford to enjoy our food and just relax while the monkies were off to keep themselves occupied.
As I have mentioned earlier, the Saturday Social BBQ at Timbre @ Gillman only takes place on the first Saturday of each month which means the next two upcoming ones are on 2 November and 7 December 2013. And while all of the fringe activities (crafts, bubbles, drumming) are only available then, the huge green field isn't going away... so that itself would be a great enough reason to bring your kids down for a meal if you are not able to make it for those 2 dates. Or at least that is what my monkies will tell you.
Great place, good food, fantastic ambience, ample parking and awesome activities to keep kids occupied - definitely important ingredients for a wonderful dining out experience for the whole family!
Timbre @ Gillman
Block 9A Lock Road, Singapore 108926
Tel: 6694 4201
Opening Hours: Mon – Thu 4pm to 11.30pm | Fri, Sat & eve of PH: 5pm to 12:30am | Closed on Sunday
Saturday Social BBQ Hours - 4pm til late