12 OF THE BEST FAMILY-FRIENDLY, FINE DINING RESTAURANTS IN LONDON
By Emily Lawler
Contrary to popular belief, having small children doesn't mean your gastronomic journey through London is over. It turns out there are a number of high end, fine dining options out there, that happily cater to little people.
Here’s my guide to the 12 best family friendly fine dining restaurants In London.
Cakes + Bubbles, located on Regent Street, is fancy. Proper fancy. It's worth noting that if a restaurant is attached to a hotel, they are fully prepared for you to bring children. They have highchairs. They have to. The baby change is like going to a spa.
The Hotel Cafe Royale is no exceptions this rule. The room is beautiful - although a little tight – and they will ask to put your buggy away but after that has been organised you are in for a proper treat.
Not only is the dessert on offer here exceptional, Albert Adrià, the head chef, has been voted the best pastry chef in the world. He was previously at Barcelona’s three Michelin starred El Bulli. It’s that good and the wine list is incredible too. If you’re lucky they might even give your little person a teddy bear to keep.
Bar Boulud can be found in the basement of The Mandarin Oriental Hotel, directly underneath Heston Blumenthal’s Dinner which, for reference, does not allow children under the age of 8. Bar Boulud on the other hand, does. It is not fancy in the same way that dinner is fancy, but it is still pretty swish; it’s New York counterpart has a Michelin star.
The food is decent French bistro and they make their own charcuterie on site, with everything we consumed being thoroughly enjoyable. I cannot think of another restaurant that not only has a soufflé du jour plus crayons and a colouring in menu.
Fiume is part of the new Battersea Power Station development and because it is new, it is an easy place to get around if you’re on wheels. There’s ample space for buggies and outdoor seating which is always useful in case of tantrums. It’s a tasteful place and if you squint on a good day maybe you’re on the Amalfi Coast and not in South London.
A decent children's menu, highchairs, baby change and the fountains outside the restaurant make this an easy meal out with kids.
A modern, light, high end dining space headed up by Marcus Wareing, Tredwells is the only restaurant in London with a children's tasting menu. For £17, your child can try seven different courses and will be given their own recipe to take home.
They have a menu to colour in and options for less adventurous or younger eaters and also offer junior cocktails.
Hai Cenato is a beautifully decorated Italian-American restaurant concocted by Jason Atherton of Pollen Street Social, Berners Tavern and Social Eating House fame. The menu is high brow but includes pizza and pasta and the portions are closer to an American restaurant than a British one.
They have a great value set Lunch menu – two courses for £12.50 -and kids eat free at Saturday lunch and all day on Sunday at this lovely Victoria based restaurant.
On a sunny afternoon I can think of few better places to have a lovely little lunch with a baby or without, than Pique-Nique. The restaurant is located inside Tanner Street Park, in what I assume used to be the park’s cafe, now an upmarket but rustic French bistro. It felt almost as if we’d left London. With a sharp and concise menu, efficient, friendly service and perfectly French food, Pique-Nique is a marvel of a place. There's no specific children's menu but you have to allow concessions for a restaurant directly opposite a playground.
Oxo is light, spacious and tasteful, with a great view and excellent fine dining options when you have children in tow, especially if they’re able to sit in a highchair. With baby changing facilities and a kid’s menu, the set lunch includes a glass of sparkling wine and is excellent value at this level of dining.
The home of the infamous Cronut is worth the hype.
The bakery is bright and modern, full of incredible treats, both sweet and savoury that will please all ages. There’s enough room for buggies and highchairs are almost always available. Each month they feature a different flavour Cronut and the banoffee paella and cookie shots are particularly lovely.
A true New York institution, when Balthazar opened up shop in London I was ecstatic. Getting a reservation at the New York restaurant sometimes meant waiting three months but in London you can often walk in. Balthazar is a great option for any occasion; the staff are gracious, the service impeccable and the food, excellent.
This spacious, lively brasserie has highchairs, baby change and a kids menu. Plus the London Transport Museum is just around the corner making it a perfect day out.
A relatively new but very old school Italian restaurant is beautiful and feels wonderfully continental. Harry’s is everything you want an Italian restaurant to be. The interior is covered in framed photographs of 1960’s Sofia Loren, elegant lighting and plush seating. There’s also a strip of seating outdoors facing the street for people watching. You will need to book here as it's too popular for walk ins and when you do, just let them know if you need a highchair too. A children's menu is also available.
From the outside, HIDE could, I suppose, be mistaken for a Mayfair car showroom, but inside it feels very much like you're dining in a hollowed out tree. The staircase is incredible and the food is as you'd expect, very fine, if almost always covered in edible flowers. They are overwhelmingly and surprisingly child friendly, happy to adapt meals for children as there is no dedicated children’s menu and a member of the waitstaff will personally show you to the baby change facilities. Highchairs and a little stool for your handbag is also available.
The Wigmore is a high ceilinged, impressively green room with a lot of Art Deco lighting. With a pleasant low hum, warm, gracious and effervescent service, the restaurant is headed up by Michel Roux Jr. of La Gavroche. Delicious ‘modern tavern’ food is what’s on offer here.
There isn’t a dedicated children’s menu but the style of the menu will please all ages with the stove top XXL cheese toastie a particular favourite. Highchairs and baby change are both available.
Where’s your favourite fine-dining venue in London?
Emily Lawler is a mum who loves food. She writes at mamaneedsamimosa.com the restaurant review site for parents and runs family friendly fine dining events as well as free meet ups across London. She began her blog on maternity leave from her nursing career. She lives in Croydon with her husband Gavin and son Max who is two. She spends too much time on Instagram.