When I was on maternity leave there were days I felt like everyone else was busy at work and I was the only person – in the world – sitting at home longing for an adult conversation. On days like those, the only way to keep my sanity, was to get out and about.
At the very least, walking down to Blackheath Village for lunch would be enough to lift my spirits a little. We have the obligatory high street eateries like Pizza Express, Cafe Rouge and Strada but I give them a wide berth. Bursting at the seams with mums, babies and children and a decibel level which would not be out of place on the flightpath of a jumbo jet, they instill in me a mortal fear that I have morphed into ‘the middle-aged mum’.
Don’t get me wrong. I like Pizza Express and other mums and their babies. Just not all in the one place at the same time. Places that specifically aim themselves at mums and children seem to assume that children will only eat plain (and sometimes downright poor) food. There is a kind of culinary lowest common denominator at work.
Thankfully, a handful of great independent cafes have established themselves in the Village. A recently reinvented Chapters is currently our bistro of choice. The food is beautifully prepared, generously proportioned and as good as you would expect in the West End. The children’s menu is well edited without compromising on taste. The staff are unfailingly friendly and helpful. The baby changing table is in the disabled loo which is also handy for toddler needs.
And best of all? On any given day, at any given time you are as likely to be eating alongside young couples, famous children’s TV presenters from the 70s, ladies (and laddies) who lunch, as you are other mums. Good enough to save your sanity.
Feeding Facilities: 4/5
Changing Facilities: 5/5
Overall rating: 21/25 £-££