I've never been tempted by posh burger joints – after all, they're a penny a dozen in London – so we've avoided Hoof on Rye's high street, which only opened at the end of summer last year and therefore felt as much a DFL as I did. But on a rainy day in March, walking a hungry toddler with an ear infection and his baby brother in search of 'pasta please, Mummy', we finally tried it, simply because it was the only place on the high street that did mac 'n' cheese.
All I can say is, YES. It's small (everywhere's small here), but they've nailed the customer experience. Exuberant waiting staff showed us to a table, smiled and spoke to my two-year-old, swooped down with crayons and a colouring-in sheet as soon as he started playing with the pepper pot. His Mini Mac and Cheese kids' meal cost a fiver and came, at my request, with sweet potato chips instead of fries (at no extra), and in a little mini saucepan, which he loved.
My Marsh Melt (burger with bacon and cheese, £11) also hit the spot, with the brioche sweet and the burger an approachable size. It comes with lightly battered seasoned courgette fries on a bed of spinach with a sprinkling of parmesan, which looked interesting enough to tempt my child to try a few. When I needed to take him to the toilet, the staff held his four-month-old brother so Mummy could give him her full attention. The final course of a chocolate ice-cream cone with lollipop garnish completed the experience.
On the table next to us was a big group of young mums having lunch. Behind us were another couple with their baby. This clearly is a great place to come with kids.