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

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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

Saigon Saigon

Location: Ravenscourt Park (West London)

Cuisine: Vietnamese

Price Range: ££

LFM Score: 5/5

Bebe Friendly Score: 2/3

Local residents of the Ravenscourt Park/Hammersmith area in West London are treated to top quality, authentic Vietnamese cuisine at Saigon Saigon. This family run establishment have tastefully decorated their spacious restaurant with trinkets and memorabilia directly imported from Vietnam, adding to the classy dark wood ambience.

Stand out dishes were the soft shell crab appetisers and beef mince wrapped in wild betel leaves. Also worth a try is the spicy glass noodles with king prawns, scallops and squid, served in clay pot.

Staff were extremely polite and helped cater for our tag along babies – two types of high chairs available, suitable for even the smallest young munchers. Staff provided equipment to heat a baby’s milk bottle which is always a bonus. Large enough spaces between tables to slot in buggies and the owners pointed out that baby changing facilities will be installed in the near future.

Worth a trek out to West London – far more refined than than the cookie cutter Vietnamese restaurants found on Kingsland Road.

http://www.saigon-saigon.co.uk/

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/