The River Cafe

Location:  South West (Hammersmith)

Cuisine: Italian

Price Range: ££££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Bring two kids under the age of 3 to a Michelin starred restaurant? Are you crazy LFM? The River Cafe was at the top of LFM’s wish list, but with 2 young kids in tow, could we enjoy this luxurious treat? Answer: YES!

Firstly, being a Michelin starred venue, The River Cafe doesn’t feel stuffy or stiff. In fact, it feels quite trendy and slick; the staff were particularly well trained and treated our mini guests well. There is outdoor space just outside, over looking the River Thames, perfect to take a restless toddler out if need be. Tables are quite closely packed, however, one can request a table to fit a buggy beside.

So how can this infamous restaurant charge £40 for one main course? The prices are not completely justified, but you can taste the high quality produce. Selected ingredients really could sing..LFM was particularly impressed by a simple dish of homemade pasta in a lemon and rocket sauce – sounds plain but really was moreish. And if I need to choose my last dessert ever, let me please have their chocolate nemesis cake again – an intense, gooey type mousse. Bliss! Nice touch offered by the restaurant, adding a candle for LFM’s plus one who was celebrating his birthday.

In summary, do go, especially if someone else can pay!

http://www.rivercafe.co.uk/

Il pampero

Location:  South West (Knightsbridge/Belgravia)

Cuisine: Italian

Price Range: £££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

Did someone whisper “Soft launch..half price..in Belgravia”?…yes please, table for 2 plus a highchair thank you..

LFM has found an almost perfect venue. The food served is exquisite….starter of seabass carpaccio was delicate and beautifully presented. We sampled the mains of ravioli of oxtail and cacciucco (seafood soup) which was amazing followed by an inventive tiramisu where the waitress  dramatically doused our dessert with an espresso shot. And must mention the tasty complimentary homemade bread basket – what a treat.

Delighted to see this upmarket restaurant had a kids menu, high chairs, room for buggies plus nappy changing facilities. However, don’t think this is a pizza express which tolerates hundreds of kids through the doors…this is a ‘nice’ place where you can bring ‘nice’ children <ahem>..if the kids get restless, they can be brought into the attached lobby of the neighbouring boutique hotel (Hari hotel).

And why not a perfect venue? Well high quality food comes at a price..so maybe save this for a family treat…

http://www.ilpampero.com/

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

Dip and Flip (Battersea)

Location:  South West (Battersea)

Cuisine: French

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 4/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 3/3

Soggy sandwiches – sound appealing? Perhaps not to everyone’s palate but somehow it works.

Dip and Flip are introducing us to the world of the French Dipped Sandwich – slicely thinned beef or lamb, dipped in gravy and served in a fresh bread roll. You get extra gravy on the side to dip the whole sandwich in and then try and stuff the sloppy mess into one’s salivating mouth. Definitely not a place to take a first date! Simple but fantastic. The burgers also impressed as did the huge American oversized thick milkshakes.

The venue is casual enough for the little ones, however we felt the Battersea branch was a little cramped for too many buggies. Highchairs available plus a separate kids menu.

http://dipandflip.co.uk/

Selesa

Location:  West London (South Kensington)

Cuisine: Asian (Malaysian)

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 3/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Never to keen on basement hotel restaurants in those less established hotels in West London (Park City Grand Plaza Hotel), however, when Timeout ran an offer on Malaysian restaurant, Selesa, LFM snapped up the chance.

Malaysian restaurants in London are rare and the cuisine hasn’t really hit the English tastebuds like Thai dishes have. This is disappointing as Malaysian food has so much to offer. The best dish Selesa showcased was the Assam Laksa  – a spicy, pungent, sour  soup based noodle dish with mackerel  which really hit the spot and was truly authentic. With this high, came a low – starter dish of prawn fritters was raw inside (the chef provided a replacement but I was dubious of their standards by this point).

Selesa is worth the trek to South Kensington if you have that Malaysian food craving. However, the restaurant lacks ambience; there was only one other table on a Saturday afternoon. The premises are spacious for buggies but there are no highchairs available – odd for a hotel (where are families suppose to dine??). No baby changing facilities but you could probably find a spot in the hotel lobby to do the business.

http://www.parkcitylondon.com/selesa-restaurant-2