A Kid’s Playspace + A Gourmet Meal = Aura Restaurant, Boston!NEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | December 28, 2009 at 10:10 pm
I had given up eating gourmet meals with my sweetheart a while ago. If we ever did get a babysitter (as rare as that blue moon) the meter running would sure to be an incentive to gobble and go. I had resigned myself to either eating at those places with friends, forking out the big bucks for a sitter or just be content with a lifetime of Chuck-E-Cheese (no insult to them, their pizza rocks which my hips can attest to). When I was approached by Aura to be their guest, I immediately checked out their website and the moment I saw a fancy-smancy site, I thought no way are my kids going to indulge me that experience. I then learned that they had a program in place to cater for kids and my interest was piqued but not sufficiently so just yet!
Sometimes people throw a few crayons and coloring pages and think that entertainment would suffice. Well only until the bread bowl arrives, right? The other thing is the restaurant featuring gourmet food would have high prices, correct? So I really expect more, and I think rightly so. They had 2 upcoming special events in December, one for Hanukkah and one for Christmas. Since the first event was on the same week as the new job, I opted for the Christmas one. Both these events listed on detail what one could expect. That for me was the clincher. But I won’t let the cat out of the bag just yet, you would have to keep reading to see what.
Well on the day in question we ventured out with me pretty frazzled while hubby decided to take a conference call on the way there (I would have thought “The nerve of him” except those empty pockets of the past would make me bite my tongue). After easily finding the place we were more thrilled to find that there was underground parking under the Sea Port Hotel which housed the Aura Restaurant. This meant that we did not have to venture out in the cold, and when you consider Boston’s chilly winters and 2 girls who “hate” jackets this makes for an important feature. Speaking about parking, the one (pretty annoying) thing about parking in a garage in the city, is what a rip-off the costs are. Seriously if I get discounted tickets to a museum, parking is the one expensive factor to weigh in. So when I learnt that that with eating in the restaurant you get parking for $5 I was more than happy.
Anxiously I arrived at the restaurant expecting some snottiness (a blend of a classy joint peppered with the Bostonian attitude) but was greeted with many friendly, and much older faces. This might be because I am used to the high school and college kids waiting on tables at the places I normally frequent. Scanning the room I was pleased to find the medium sized crowd peppered with kids of all ages (even babies) and not one frazzled waiter. Business was going about as usual while children were walking all over. Already not a scene that is common.
After getting seated in a pretty classing setting the caroling starts and my 2 girls get right into it. They had been waiting to show off the songs they had been practicing though the restaurant had the forethought of giving everyone the lyrics to the songs. Next up was a visit from Santa with smiles and candy canes, a perfect combination. Since we don’t believe in following those (horrendous) lines at the mall for Santa we enjoyed the somewhat less chaotic visit. Being vegetarian we totally appreciated having a whole (vegetarian) menu to choose from. I wish more restaurants knew that vegetarians eat more than just salad and bread.
The food took a little longer than I would have like to get to my table. Though I gave them brownie points for some wonderful concoctions timing is really important when kids are in the mix. Luckily the kids could decorate gingerbread cookies while we waited. The gingerbread really was heavenly though the kids enjoyed the frosting a little more. The2 things I was not keen on the frosting was the strong smell, I can pretty much guess it was not natural coloring. The other was to either use washable colors/dyes in the frosting or have some type of smock available since kids are wearing holiday wear. I found all of this the hard way.
I was pretty happy to meet the chef Rachel Klein amidst my kids running amok (kudos to the waiters to not flinching once or even making us feel out of place as they merrily went about serving the best food). It was pleasing to hear Rachel Klein speak passionately about her zest for dishing up healthy food. It showed! The actual food was mind blowing and truly tasted better than it looked, not that it looked bad, in fact it looked great, it is just that with vegetarian food, especially something like tofu, you really need to add flavor to mask the blandness.
Fast forward some card decorating and a chocolate mousse for me and hot cocoa for the kids to wind up the night and even close the night with a gift for the kids. All in all it was a good night. It is important to note that a tip of 25% is included in all bills (something I personally am not a fan of). You may want to consider that what I am describing here is at a special event and on the Fridays, the day they feature as family friendly, all of these activities may not exist. Considering the high cost of the meals may not make this a place you frequent all the time but it certainly is a place to frequent if you want a special meal with the kids in tow. You can check out further pictures in my Whrrl story.
Aura Restaurant, Boston
1 Seaport Lane
Boston, MA 02210-2013
*Disclaimer: Aura hosted my family for the Christmas event.