The River Cafe

Location:  South West (Hammersmith)

Cuisine: Italian

Price Range: ££££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Bring two kids under the age of 3 to a Michelin starred restaurant? Are you crazy LFM? The River Cafe was at the top of LFM’s wish list, but with 2 young kids in tow, could we enjoy this luxurious treat? Answer: YES!

Firstly, being a Michelin starred venue, The River Cafe doesn’t feel stuffy or stiff. In fact, it feels quite trendy and slick; the staff were particularly well trained and treated our mini guests well. There is outdoor space just outside, over looking the River Thames, perfect to take a restless toddler out if need be. Tables are quite closely packed, however, one can request a table to fit a buggy beside.

So how can this infamous restaurant charge £40 for one main course? The prices are not completely justified, but you can taste the high quality produce. Selected ingredients really could sing..LFM was particularly impressed by a simple dish of homemade pasta in a lemon and rocket sauce – sounds plain but really was moreish. And if I need to choose my last dessert ever, let me please have their chocolate nemesis cake again – an intense, gooey type mousse. Bliss! Nice touch offered by the restaurant, adding a candle for LFM’s plus one who was celebrating his birthday.

In summary, do go, especially if someone else can pay!

http://www.rivercafe.co.uk/

Railhouse Cafe

Location:  South West (Victoria)

Cuisine: Modern European

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

London Foodie Mama was excited to check out the soft launch of the Railhouse Cafe in Victoria. They launched with an interesting concept: The “Honesty Policy” – only pay for the dish if you think it was worth it…so how much did LFM end up paying?….

First we sampled the salmon tartare (£8.50)  for starters – sadly this was disappointing with too much olive oil lathered on top and lacking any zingy flavour. For mains we tried the Crab Royale (£14) which consisted of a generous portion of tasty crab cakes on a bed of English muffins topped with a Hollandaise sauce. We also sampled the buttermilk fried chicken sandwich which was moist but with so much salt added, our tastebuds were frazzled to extinction.

So the food was completely outshone by the decor and groovy fixtures. We particularly liked the toilets and the ‘vintage’ (but new) pull down cistern lavatories. Also, the varied seating areas are great if you have kids – from booths to sofas. Plus, unusual for central Lomdon, lots of room for buggies and high chairs a plenty.

So what did LFM end up paying? That’s a secret Shhhhh

www.railhouse.cafe

Polpo (Notting Hill)

Location:  South West (Notting Hill)

Cuisine: Italian

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

The mini-chain of Polpo continues to impress and quality standards are thankfully maintained throughout their branches. LFM headed to the Notting Hill branch and perched on bar stools to admire/scrutinise the impressive venue and floating staff.

The standout dish were the infamous Polpo meatballs served with an intense tomato sauce. The rabbit ragu pasta was particularly lush, however the croquette portion sizes were a little menial. In comparison to other restaurants in this pricey end of London, Polpo offers OK value for money and saves a trek into central London.

The venue is spacious and there is plenty of room for those Notting Hill Bugaboos, although the restaurant feels a little grown up in the evening to bring the sprogs.

http://www.polpo.co.uk/

Selesa

Location:  West London (South Kensington)

Cuisine: Asian (Malaysian)

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Never to keen on basement hotel restaurants in those less established hotels in West London (Park City Grand Plaza Hotel), however, when Timeout ran an offer on Malaysian restaurant, Selesa, LFM snapped up the chance.

Malaysian restaurants in London are rare and the cuisine hasn’t really hit the English tastebuds like Thai dishes have. This is disappointing as Malaysian food has so much to offer. The best dish Selesa showcased was the Assam Laksa  – a spicy, pungent, sour  soup based noodle dish with mackerel  which really hit the spot and was truly authentic. With this high, came a low – starter dish of prawn fritters was raw inside (the chef provided a replacement but I was dubious of their standards by this point).

Selesa is worth the trek to South Kensington if you have that Malaysian food craving. However, the restaurant lacks ambience; there was only one other table on a Saturday afternoon. The premises are spacious for buggies but there are no highchairs available – odd for a hotel (where are families suppose to dine??). No baby changing facilities but you could probably find a spot in the hotel lobby to do the business.

http://www.parkcitylondon.com/selesa-restaurant-2

Ichiryu Udon

Location:  West End

Cuisine: Japanese

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

When you’ve been trekking the shops of Oxford Street and fancy some decent Asian food and can’t face the walk to Soho, head to nearby Ichiryu  because you won’t be disappointed.

The udon noodles are made on the premises – they are bouncy and have just the right bite factor. Favourite dish was the prawn carbonara hot udon – don’t let the fusion novelty put you off..the flavours are perfect and the prawns were plump and juicy. The curry udon noodles were tasty and the soft oozing egg yolk was beautifully orange and reflected the high quality of ingredients.

Bit cramped for buggies but the staff were helpful to keep it out of the way for us. Highchairs available but no baby changing facilities (but a very clean toilet is maintained).

A bit on the pricey side for a noodle joint, but the slick décor and innovative flavour combos, somehow,  justifies the price.

http://ichiryuudon.com/