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/

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MEATliquorN1

Location:  Islington

Cuisine: American

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Is London sick of the gourmet burger? Can we take more greasy, calorie laden American junk food of hot dogs and cheesy chips? YES says LFM! (Who is eating for 2 at the moment and pretends this is an excuse to consume 1500 calories in one dish).

LFM was left in charge of organising a large, group gathering of 15 people (and 5 babies/toddlers) on Upper St, Islington. The perfect place was Meat Liquor – Not wallet breaking, casual and they take reservations! We were lucky to be blessed with sunny weather and the staff placed our rowdy group in the outside courtyard. Not plush, more alleyway stylee but perfect to let the toddlers roam around.

The burgers were extremely tasty and moist (although we have to say Patty and Bun win the gold medal for burgers in our opinion). Give the mac ‘n’ cheese croquettes a miss (bit stodgy). Chilli fries were indulgent and pretty spicy (adults only).

Go during the day with kids. In the evening, the venue feels dark and more like a nightclub. And the kids might freak out by the uber dark, UV light only toilets..not easy to do a nappy change in that lighting!

http://meatliquor.com/n1/

Eneko @ One Aldwych

Location:  West End London

Cuisine: Spanish (Basque)

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3 (dependent on nature of bebe!)

London Foodie Mama had the pleasure of attending the soft launch (50% discount yeah!) of Eneko, a new upmarket restaurant serving food from the Basque region, fabulously located on the Strand in central  London near theatre land.

The décor of the venue is impressive, with a majestic sweeping stair case which leads guests from the bar area to the main dining room (this is lovely unless you have a buggy with you, although staff were keen to assist). It’s a place you would definitely bring your tinder date to..however we were apprehensive with our  unpredictable ticking time bomb also known as ‘the toddler’. The restaurant surprisingly provided highchairs which were clean..Remarkable! (perhaps never used before as no sane parents have dared bring a child to such a plush venue). The venue was very spacious  – but don’t even consider letting your little ones run around..it’s not that kinda place.

On to the food. We ordered the Txerri Boda Pork Festival (£15)  consisting of Mushroom & Iberico ham duxelle in milk bread, suckling pig brioche and crispy pork jowl. This was a delight, with pillow soft bread and tasty fillings encased in a charming wooden carved pig head box – our only complaint was the small size of these slider type starters for the price tag (OK this place ain’t cheap and you better get some ‘Return on Investment’ from that Tinder date). Our main course was the perfectly cooked Basque style hake in tempura (£21) – soft in the middle, crisp on the outside. We also ordered the Potatoes in herb and txakoli sauce with fried crisp egg yolks – the highlight being the ingenious bursting egg yolks..disappointing were the slightly undercooked potatoes. For dessert, we had the rice pudding (£9) –  sadly this was a low point. Chosen from the pre-made dessert trolley, it lacked the freshly prepared taste and the rice could have been cooked for longer. The flavours failed to excite and live up to the standards set by the preceding dishes. The accompanying sheep’s milk ice cream was marvellous though – not too ‘sheepy’ tasting as feared.

Overall, we had a great experience (and it was an EXPERIENCE, not just fill the tummy and go): the food, dazzling surroundings and friendly service. Would only return paying full price if someone else was treating – can’t part with £9 for one dessert (that’s like the price of ~40 nappies).  Not advised to bring the kids for dinner, perhaps lunch but only those accustomed to dining out and BEHAVING!

http://www.eneko.london/

Bone Daddies (High St Kensington)

Location: South West London

Cuisine: Chinese/Japanese

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

Ramen is a common comfort food, re-kindling memories of student hall kitchens, oblongs of dried noodles and sachets of MSG. London has come a long way from that kind of ramen thankfully.

So ramen specialists, Bone Daddies, have been highly successful and are almost a mini-chain in London. Can their standards be maintained? LFM is glad to report that the ramen served in the High St Kensington branch is spot on. The 20 hour pork broth was rich and luscious. The cherry on the top, or in this case, a deep fried soft shell crab, perfected the dish. LFM also sampled the Korean deep fried chicken wings starter which was satisfying and tasty although we’ve had better elsewhere with a less ‘industrial’ taste.

The restaurant is based in the top floor food court of Whole Foods which gives it a rather casual vibe. This is perfect for bringing the little ones with high chairs available and plenty of room for buggies. Nice (and slightly odd) touches were the additions on the table of bibs, hair ties and garlic crushers.

Extremely happy with this opening in SW London and hurrah, no need to trek into central London with the bulky buggy for that ramen fix.

http://www.bonedaddies.com/restaurant/high-st-kensington/

Snowflake Gelato @Selfridges

Location: West End

Cuisine: Sweet

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 1/3

If you have a sweet tooth like London Foodie Mama, then the terms ‘Afternoon Tea’ and ‘Ice-Cream’ certainly get the salivary glands pumping. Recently, Snowflake at Selfridges have come up with the ultimate sweet treat… Ice-Cream Afternoon Tea! #OMG

Upon arrival, we were served a tier of ice-cream treats, including ice-cream sandwiches, ice-cream macaroons and mini ice-cream cones dipped in chocolate. All rather pretty and dainty (and photogenic for those Instagram posts). However, after a few bites and slowly creeping into a diabetic coma, the novelty wore off. There was a lack of taste variation between each treat – all were vanilla ice cream  based accompanied by various forms of chocolate or biscuit. We craved for other ice cream flavours or even a sorbet diversification. <sigh> Maybe our expections had been too high.

The ambience of the venue failed to harmonise with the delicate nature of the food. Based in the noisy, crowded ground floor of the Selfridges food hall,  our destination was a few cramped tables beside a window overseeing a side street of busy Oxford Street (with an awkward structural beam in the middle).  Not the desired surroundings whilst charging  £15pp.

No high chairs and no space for buggies sadly, and even worse, the toilets were on another floor, on the other side of the building – bad news for a potty training toddler “Mama, I need the toilet NOW”.

Great idea. Execution disappointed.

https://www.facebook.com/snowflakegelato/