Tag Archives: English/Mediterranean Food

Chapters, Blackheath, London

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.

Rating:

Stylishness: 3/5

Friendliness: 5/5

Feeding Facilities: 4/5

Changing Facilities: 5/5

Food: 4/5

Overall rating: 21/25   £-££

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Filed under £ - Cheap and cheerful, ££ - Mid price, Cafe, London, Restaurant

Brompton Quarter Brasserie, London, SW3

For a while after Jack was born I had my hair cut by the beloved-of-fashion-and-beauty-journalists Hari of Hari’s in Brompton Road.  It was an incredible indulgence since it involved (not only expense but also) a Saturday morning trek from Blackheath to Knightsbridge, often accompanied by my husband who was charged with looking after Jack whilst I got pampered, followed by lunch and then the trek home.

That was how we first discovered the Brompton Quarter Brasserie.  Initially I was lured by the cakes and pastries which are so beautifully and mouthwateringly visible from the street, then it became a regular part of the haircut routine.

The Brasserie is always busy and there isn’t room to keep a buggy by your table but they do have high chairs and space by the door to park several buggies.  Despite how busy the cafe is, the staff always had time to make a fuss of Jack and indulge our requests for bottle warming, and, later, child size portions.  We found the sharing dishes a great way of introducing Jack to foods he hadn’t already tried without wasting a plateful of stuff if he turned his nose up.

The all-glass walls mean that if you’re breast feeding there aren’t many places to sit where you feel private, though there is a row of tables tucked at the back by the kitchen which are more discrete.

The English/Mediterranean food has always been delicious, simply prepared and presented.  So good, in fact, that I never had room to squeeze in one of the delectable looking cakes.

They have a changing table in the disabled loo which meant Dan had no excuse for not doing his fair share of changes.

Luckily, The Brompton Quarter Brasserie is close to the Natural History and Science Museums, so even though my days of going to Hari are now past (I change my hairdressers like… well, like things one changes. A lot.) I still have a bona fide excuse for lunch.  And who knows?  One day I might even make it to the cake…

Rating:

Stylishness: 4/5

Friendliness: 5/5

Feeding Facilities: 4/5

Changing Facilities: 5/5

Food: 4/5

Overall rating: 22/25   ££

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Filed under ££ - Mid price, Cafe, London