Cellar Gascon

Location:  City (Smithfield Market/Clerkenwell)

Cuisine: French

Price Range: £

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 1/3

Shhhh…London Foodie Mama has stumbled upon a little London secret. Not sure we want anyone else to discover this find….It’s the lunch time bargain dish of the day served at Cellar Gascon. LFM is a big fan of the Gascon mini chain having dined at the Michelin starred (stiff and formal) Club Gascon and the more accessible gourmet bistro style Comptoir Gascon. Having spent a fortune at both these venues, who would have thought their baby sister restaurant, Cellar Gascon, could offer a decent dish at £6!

We devoured the Toulouse Sausage cassoulet bathed in beautiful juices and lentils. OK, the dish is on the small size but we were satisfied at lunchtime having filled up on the accompanying complimentary fresh baguette and topping up with the bargain desert (£3) of Pain Perdu (translated as Lost bread). We also tried the Signature Gascon Duck burger which you couldn’t fault – moist shredded duck, sandwiched between a toasted brioche bun (yes it could have been bigger but it was only £5!) Why can’t there be more places like this in London??

Would you bring a baby? Simple answer..No. Do you want to trek to the City/Clerkenwell area at lunchtime with the buggy on public transport and dine amongst serious looking suited and booted business men? Plus, the venue is more of a narrow wine bar with little room for buggies with no highchairs available and no baby changing facilities. Having mentioned all the above, our toddler was happily perched in a booth and staff made us feel welcome despite our noisy tag along. (Parenting tip from LFM: train your kids early on regarding restaurant behaviour and etiquette and potty train early to avoid searching from nappy changing facilities).

http://www.clubgascon.com/cellar/about.php

Advertisements

Balthazar

Location: West End

Cuisine: French

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Balthazar is a french brasserie set in the heart of Covent Garden. Lovely atmosphere and decor – great to take a date or your visiting guests from abroad.  The food is of a high standard – the duck confit was as good as we have sampled in France.  The afternoon tea was good value at £25 compared to the high end hotels such as the Ritz or Claridges; scones were delightful and the patisseries beautifully presented. The sandwiches were rather average and dry though.

During the day, the venue is casual enough for children however the acoustics of the room means it gets very noisy. There were large groups of ladies-who-lunch, sipping their tea and we felt slightly out of place in the grand settings.  Highchairs available, tables a little tightly packed to house buggies. Staff were extremely helpful and friendly – top marks there.

 

www.balthazarlondon.com/

Primeur

Location: Islington

Cuisine: European

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 1/3

Firstly, the food is REALLY good here. However, the negatives have tinged our experience at Primeur. Firstly, it was so cold in the restaurant despite the heaters being on. We had to keep our coats on (and baby’s entire pram suit on). The restaurant is a converted car garage but that’s no excuse. Secondly, the portions are small. We are not big eaters but we felt hungry afterwards – main dishes came with zero carbs. Also, my razor clams were tasty but gritty with sand. Pricey for a neighbourhood restaurant. Lastly, bizarre booking system: I had to ‘tweet’ them via twitter to get a reservation!

http://primeurn5.co.uk/