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

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Bears Ice Cream

Location:  West London

Cuisine: Sweet

Price Range: £

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

Ice-cream + cutesy bear logos = kid heaven. Parent hell though, as we bow into toddler pressure to purchase an over-priced Mr Whippy type soft ice cream. OK Bear Ice cream have more of an unique selling point – a selection of toppings from apple crumble to crushed dime bars to top your ice cream, or get it whizzed up in one great mush (think McFlurry).

The ice cream was good, not amazing for the price tag (£3.50 for a ‘small glacier’). However, we like the concept and the kitsch feel of the ice cream parlour – black board/chalk tables for kids to scribble on. Bit of an odd location – stuck on a main road between Turnham Green and Shepherds Bush. They would do better on a high st so not sure it’s worth the trek unless you are a local .

http://www.bearsicecream.co.uk/

Pizza Street

Location: West London (Chiswick)

Cuisine: American

Price Range: £

LFM Score: 1/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

The thick shakes at Pizza Street were fabulous. FULLSTOP. Maybe LFM should end this review here, because frankly it goes down hill from here…

We desperately wanted Pizza Street to be good. Chiswick is crying out for venues like Pizza East – casual family dining specialising with one great dish. So we were excited as we followed the ex-grubby looking Chinese Takeaway site being transformed into an American Pizza joint with trendy hipster East London decor.

LFM attended the soft launch where Pizza Street were offering a reduced menu at half price. Perhaps we should have expected some teething issues, but surely they should have got the basic pepperoni pizza to a certain serve-able standard. The pizza was particularly blackened on the base (chefs not quite mastered the wood fired oven), pepperoni was cut too thick, the cheese was stodgy and the tomato sauce was sparse.

The restaurant layout is clever, squeezing in as many tables as possible into a relatively small floor space (not great if too many buggies present). What we did find bizarre was the vague self service instructions  – A4 paper signs with hastily typed out text – think we were  suppose to crush the pizza boxes that our pizza was served in ourselves and grab our own cutlery and water glasses, but to be honest, we thought these were signs for the staff as the self service zone was situated in the kitchen. #Confusing

Let’s hope things will get better otherwise we may have to resort to Dominos….

http://www.pizzastreet.co.uk/

Stax Diner

Location: West End

Cuisine: American

Price Range: £

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Situated just off Carnaby street in Kingly Court, this area has slowly become the place to be for decent food when you need a break from the chaotic streets of Oxford Circus. Stax American Diner comes from the creator of the best cupcakes in London (in our humble opinion), Beas of Bloomsbury. There’s been a saturation of naughty American food outlets in recent years, so we hope Stax can stand out from the rest based on their amazing fried chicken and waffle dish (the unlikely combo DO work!). The popcorn shrimp was also first class. Bit cramped for buggies but high chairs were available in this casual venue.

http://www.staxdiner.com/

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).
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Address: 39 Holloway Road, Islington, London N7 8JP, 0276979889