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

Tang Noodle Bar

Location: West End

Cuisine: Asian

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 2/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 1/3

Does Central London need another noodle joint? London Foodie Mama went to investigate the recently opened Tang Noodle Bar off Tottenham Court Road for their soft launch (we like a 50% discount). The team at Tang appeared to have invested some cash and thought into this venture, with a slick website and contemporary décor – exposed lightbulbs, wooden tables, bare pipes and newspaper wallpaper…you get the gist.

The venue is easy to miss…in fact it’s just a door that you can miss as you walk past the neighbouring YMCA. I felt like an agent stumbling upon a secret underground site – let’s hope they gain customers through word of mouth otherwise they may struggle with just passers-by.

On to the food. LFM had the ‘Prawn Tang’ – an enticing description of ‘spicy prawn and pork broth’. Sadly, the broth failed to live up to expectation lacking any punch or depth that we have come accustomed to from the likes of ramen bars of Tonkotsu or Kanada-Ya. They claim to offer a lighter broth but it just didn’t do it for us and the noodles lacked any bite. And at a price tag of £12 for a bowl of noodles, frankly I’d head to China Town and eat double. On a positive note, the tiger prawns were succulent and the staff were accommodating to my special dietary requirements, allowing a couple of swapsies.

Should you bring the kids? Well if you are brave enough to drag the kids to central London, then maybe. The venue is casual but pretty compact so could fit a maximum of 2 slim buggies. No high chairs or baby changing.

http://www.tanglondon.co.uk/

Saigon Saigon

Location: Ravenscourt Park (West London)

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Local residents of the Ravenscourt Park/Hammersmith area in West London are treated to top quality, authentic Vietnamese cuisine at Saigon Saigon. This family run establishment have tastefully decorated their spacious restaurant with trinkets and memorabilia directly imported from Vietnam, adding to the classy dark wood ambience.

Stand out dishes were the soft shell crab appetisers and beef mince wrapped in wild betel leaves. Also worth a try is the spicy glass noodles with king prawns, scallops and squid, served in clay pot.

Staff were extremely polite and helped cater for our tag along babies – two types of high chairs available, suitable for even the smallest young munchers. Staff provided equipment to heat a baby’s milk bottle which is always a bonus. Large enough spaces between tables to slot in buggies and the owners pointed out that baby changing facilities will be installed in the near future.

Worth a trek out to West London – far more refined than than the cookie cutter Vietnamese restaurants found on Kingsland Road.

http://www.saigon-saigon.co.uk/

Pho House

Location: Islington

Cuisine: Asian (Vietnamese)

Price Range: £

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

We are glad to welcome Pho House to our neighbourhood. Instead of trekking to the authentic but rather dishevelled establishments of ‘Little Vietnam’ on Kingsland Road, we can swing by to Pho House which not only serves bona fide Vietnamese cuisine but in a clean, spacious,  baby friendly environment. Dishes are a couple of pounds more in comparison to Kingsland Road but we think it is worth paying. Stand out dish was the ‘Bun thit nuong, cha nem’ (bbq pork with Vietnamese spring rolls).
No website yet
Address: 39 Holloway Road, Islington, London N7 8JP, 0276979889

Pond

Location: Shoreditch

Cuisine: Asian

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 3.5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 0/3

Pond is situated in a real ‘edgy’ part of London (was scared to use my mobile phone when I got lost trying to find the place), created in an old warehouse. Feels uber trendy and hip (what is foodie mama doing here?). Some dishes were hit and miss (Hits = Poke & Catfish, Misses = why so much Spam on the menu?) Great cocktails – we loved Luscius Lana’i, pineapple sorbet & Prosecco. Left baby at home as they only open in the evenings – no one wants a screaming tired baby knocking over their cocktail!

http://pond-dalston.com/