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

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197 Chiswick Fire Station

Location: West London (Chiswick)

Cuisine: Modern European

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

London Foodie Mama was delighted to attend the soft launch of 197 Chiswick Fire Station. The former All Bar One bar (and previously an old fire station as the name suggests) has been gorgeously transformed into a restaurant/all-day-café/bar. The décor is chic yet laid back and would not look out of place in Chelsea or Mayfair. We particularly liked the different types of seating arrangements guests can choose from – cosy sofas, group tables, booths, stools around the bar or alfresco dining in the garden. Edison filament lightbulbs  a plenty and numerous cactus plants scattered around finished off the swank look.

On to the food. We settled for the beef brisket roast (bit dry sadly but generous portions) and the chicken and ham hock pie. The latter was beautifully presented, with a ceramic black bird figurine poking out of the perfectly cooked puff pastry, however the saltiness of the ham hock overpowered the entire dish leaving us gasping for hydration. Speaking of hydration, try the home made elderflower lemonade. For dessert, we opted for the banana crumble which was wholly executed with a crumbly topping, however the fruit was cooked in maple syrup which was achingly sweet, even for our sweet tooth. Perhaps serving with custard instead of the ice cream would have neutralised the sweetness.

Overall, our experience was lovely. Excellent place to chill and read the Sunday papers. Staff was attentive and the spacious nature of the restaurant meant plenty of buggies could be accommodated. High chairs were provided and the kids menu was prepared at £7.50 for a main course and dessert – only criticism was that all  main meal choices were unbalanced with no serving of vegetables (not that the little one would touch it but at least they can  be teased with the green stuff).

197 Chiswick Fire Station – we welcome you to Chiswick with open arms (now if only the prices were a bit more unemployed mama friendly, then we would be a regular).

http://www.no197chiswickfirestation.com/#home-197

Chooks (Ealing)

Location: Ealing (West London)

Cuisine: Modern European

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

Historically, Ealing in West London has been the home of ‘safe’ chain restaurants and not a destination for foodies. However, things are changing with the recent opening of Chooks which would not be out of place in more hip areas such as Shoreditch. Chooks opened in Autumn of 2015 in Ealing, previously having a successful pioneering branch in Muswell Hill. We were surrounded by cosy booths, Chooks branded arcade machines, shabby chic lighting, and polaroid camera toilet roll holders – tres cool!

The majority of the menu is based on chicken – mainly grilled but we opted for the buttermilk deep fried kind (with deep fried sweet potato fries and deep fried popcorn shrimp – OK OK the diet starts next week, honestly). The food is above average; tasty but missing that WOW knee knocking sensation (we’ve had better chicken at Bird@Old Street and ChicksnSour@Haggerston), however, we do prefer the ambience of Chooks and the spacious feel which is great for buggies. High chairs and baby changing is available and the staff were super obliging to our little one.

Definitely one to try if you find yourself in the area.

http://www.chooks.me/

Smokehouse Chiswick

Location: Chiswick

Cuisine: Modern European

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

Has London Foodie Mama stumbled across the best Sunday Roast in West London? Time will tell as we further explore our new neighbourhood of Chiswick.

We were rather impressed by the decor of Smokehouse Chiswick- a cross between country gastropub and Oxbridge professor college smoking room;  spot on for the local cliental. We were lucky enough to have a table in the spacious beer garden on a sunny October Sunday – well kept and perfect for family gatherings. In fact, on a Sunday, 90% of  tables had a sprog with them which added to the family atmosphere of the venue.

On to the food. Having previously tried the original Smokehouse in Islington following its rave reviews and being slightly disappointed, we tried to simmer our expectations for their second branch. Thankfully, they have definitely improved on the food here. Super fluffy Yorkshire puddings, soft tender juicy beef short ribs, and excellent trimmings. Highly recommend the sharing platters. Only disappointment was with the Double D tart – fun name, lack lustre dessert.

Staff were attentive and polite – kindly wrapped up our leftovers in an origami doggie bag. Nice touch.

The venue is large enough to house many buggies, high chairs were available (but apparently like gold dust due to the high demand so put in a request early). Off the beaten track from the main high street but that didn’t seem to put off the throngs of customers.

http://smokehousechiswick.co.uk/

Rotunda

Location: North London (Kings Cross)

Cuisine: Modern European

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

With time to kill whilst waiting for the Eurostar around Kings Cross, what better place to go for a Sunday roast than Rotunda. Set overlooking Regent’s canal, the nautical themed decor blends in well. The surrounding full glass windows make the venue feel bright and airy. Rotunda is a really smart venue (with reports that David Milliband celebrated his 50th birthday here), however they cater for the little ones really well with a special kids menu, colouring books and high chairs. Lots of families were here to enjoy a family roast, which was excellently executed  (so often in London, you pay up to £20 for a lack lustre roast).  Priced at around £16, I would say it was well worth it, just for the yorkshire puddings alone. The venue is spacious and kids will have plenty to look at with the passing barges outside on the canal.

http://www.rotundabarandrestaurant.co.uk/