Before we arrived in London, I did a little research as to where to eat, and came across an interesting article (albeit a little dated) to get a feel of which of London’s restaurants might welcome children since we would have Mittens with us. Mittens generally has a good temperament (especially when his little brother is not around to fight with him) and he loves to eat, so I packed a few shirts for him and figured we should be able to make it through a meal without too much drama.
The article starts with this quote:
The sound was of a baby crying.
“That’s something you don’t hear often enough in restaurants.”
Wow (I emphasised the “enough” myself). In retrospect after our dinner, that line reflects everything that Daniel Boulud and Bar Boulud@Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park is about. On our tour of London which included only a small handful of restaurants (we’ll be back for more, for sure!), our best experience was at Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental. I know what you’re thinking, Daniel Boulud, Michelin starred celebrity chef, Mandarin Oriental, it all sounds very chi-chi (stuffy?) and expensive. But Toptable, a restaurant reservation system/company, often has very reasonably priced deals, for example a 4-course meal at £27 at some Michelin starred-restaurants, for decent portions. So we practically planned our itinerary around the offers featured on the website.
We made a last minute reservation at Bar Boulud as we were in the area, actually while we were window shopping in the Harrods toy department, and when I enquired about dress code, they said they recommend smart casual but “We welcome everyone”. Me (still a little unsure): Would a polo shirt and jeans be ok? Them: “Definitely!”.
From the minute we stepped in, we felt so invited. They quickly sorted Mittens out with a coloring page and put his special order of fish and sides of fries and mashed potato (they sure know what kids love) through to the kitchen before taking our order. They have a kids menu of several items, and it cost £10 for his meal, which I think is a very reasonable price (especially by London’s standards) for a meal coming from a DB kitchen.
I cannot fault the service, they were extremely warm and always extremely quick on their feet. And the food, oh the food! Unpretentious and homely and not compromising on quality, or presentation. We loved everything about this place. Of course we loved it more that we could bring Mittens, and the atmosphere is busy but relaxed, which is great for bringing kids since they could be noisy and other diners wouldn’t notice much.
We definitely will be back, and this is definitely my top recommendation for everyone in London, and if you have kids, just remember the quote above, and what our server told us – “We love kids!”. Enjoy yourself for me if you’re there!
P.s. Thanks to my friend M for this wonderful recommendation.