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

Paesan

Location: Clerkenwell (Exmouth Market)

Cuisine: Italian

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

I took a risk and brought my Italian sister-in-law to an Italian restaurant in London. But am so glad I took her to Paesan as this place is amazing (and apparently rather authentic). Forget boring pizza  – this place does proper Italian food! The fresh breads are superb and stand out dish was the Pasta Vongole (clams).

We’ve been here for lunch and early dinner ; families are a common site at Paesan – the staff are great with the kids! Plenty of high chairs (we once had 4 toddlers eating at our table). Only negative is no baby changing facilties but hey, this is central London.

http://www.paesanlondon.com/

Bonnie Gull Seafood Bar

Location: Clerkenwell

Cuisine: Modern European

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

Second branch of this seafood restaurant situated in Exmouth market. More spacious than the original Fitzvoria branch so great for a couple of prams. Mussels were plump and fries crisp and tasty. Our only gripe was the relatively limited lunch selection and highchairs which hadn’t been cleaned between little guests. Friendly staff accommodated our messy sprogs.

http://www.bonniegullseafoodbar.com/

Club Gascon

Club Gascon

Location: Clerkenwell

Cuisine: French

Price Range: ££££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 0/3

Less that 24 hours before our reservation, Club Gascon calls London Foodie Mama: “We don’t have highchairs..we don’t cater for babies..we recently had to ask a family to leave because their baby was disturbing other diners”. Hmm, not the most welcoming start. Undeterred, LFM was determined to take baby (less than 1 years old) to this 1 Michelin starred snooty restaurant.

In hindsight, we probably would have enjoyed the meal better without the wriggly worm. Pretty stressful keeping bebe quiet amongst the room of men in city suits on expense accounts.

On to the food: Maybe because we chose the limited lunch set menu (they wouldn’t let half the table go a la carte..why??), but we were not blown away by the dishes. The combinations and ingredients were, let’s say ‘traditional’ and didn’t push the boundaries. Next time, we would like to try the tasting menu but will wait to be on expenses (oh dear LFM needs to find a job first).

To the restaurant’s credit, they treated us well and the complimentary champagne and sparkler for LFM’s guest’s birthday was delightful.