Tag Archives: New York

Joe Allen, Exeter Street, London

Joe Allen’s has built an enviable reputation for pre- and post-theatre dining both in London and New York. If you go late you can usually spot a West End or Broadway star or two who are likely to have come straight from the theatre. Maybe it is precisely because they are used to feeding people at slightly unusual hours and dealing with people who just want a nice meal and good company, that they are good with children and babies.

We’ve been several times with Jack since he was born and each time they’ve been welcoming and friendly. Warming a bottle posed no problem when Jack was a baby and as he’s got older and started eating ‘proper’ food, the straightforward nature of the food is perfect. No eyebrows were raised by either the use of fingers or the mess around the plate.

The only draw back is the lack of dedicated (or even make do) changing facilities. The ladies loo is not particularly large and there isn’t really a surface where you can change a baby so a changing mat is absolutely essential. When the restaurant is busy, so are the loos so you have to contend with being slightly in the way of people trying to get to the basin and the stalls (not of the theatre variety).

Needless to say if the ladies is a difficult place to change a baby the gents would be nigh on impossible. A word of warning if your tot, like Jack, has developed an absolute terror of noisy hand driers: he came back from a visit to the gents with my husband in an inconsolable state as there was nowhere to escape the noise and use the loo.

Rating:

Stylishness: 3/5

Friendliness: 5/5

Feeding Facilities: 4/5

Changing Facilities: 0/5

Food: 3/5

Overall rating: 15/25  ££

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Filed under ££ - Mid price, London, Restaurant

Mercer Hotel, Mercer Street, New York

In our baby-free days we loved the Mercer Hotel in New York’s trendy SoHo.  It has a cool bar and lounge frequented by its celebrity guests.  It’s the sort of hotel celebrities choose because they don’t get hassled – I saw the staff discretely ask an autograph hunter who had approached Clive Owen (who just happened to be sitting at the table right next to us) to leave him in peace.  As I said, we loved it

In the spirit of not going quietly into the dark night of new parenthood, we decided to stay at the Mercer on our first trip to NYC with three month old Jack.   The hip hotel staff took his needs and ours in their stride.   The crib in the room was more beautiful than the one we had at home and was filled with baby toiletries and teddies.

Whilst not strictly a dining out review, I had to include The Mercer because they bent over backwards at mealtimes to accommodate Jack – a high chair was procured, milk warmed and clothes washed and returned beautifully packed.   It’s not cheap, true.  But for sheer style and the way they made Jack feel as welcome as any other celebrity, I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Rating:

Stylishness: 5/5

Friendliness: 5/5

Feeding Facilities: 4/5

Changing Facilities: 3/5

Food: 3/5

Overall rating: 20/25  £££

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Filed under £££ - expensive, Hotel, New York

Gramercy Tavern, 42 East 20th Street, New York

We took Jack on his first trip to New York when he was three months old.  New York has played a big part in our story, so we wanted to introduce him early.  And, frankly, I wanted to reaquaint myself with the pre-baby, Sex and The City, girl about town, fantasy I had of me.

We try to make a pilgrimage to Gramercy Tavern every time we go to New York.  It holds a special place in our hearts because it was where Dan proposed to me.  It also happens to regularly make it into every list of the top ten restaurants in the world.   This time we would be three: baby, Dan and me.

We went at lunchtime.  It was fully booked and there was that warm, pleasant hubbub of chat and eating.  The friendly staff seated us on a corner banquette table.  We were the only people with a baby in the restaurant.  Jack had fallen asleep on the way so we laid him down on the banquette between us, where he slept till we were half way through our main course.

When he woke up he was on his gurgliest best behaviour.  Other diners kept sending us “ooh, he’s so adorable” looks.  Though, when he did start to cry, I took him outside to settle and came back when he was happy again, which helped ensure those looks didn’t turn to daggers.

No-one batted an eye when I breast feed him discreetly.  Sadly there were no changing facilities in the Ladies but there was a lot of floor space in the cloakroom for a changing mat.  Every lady who came in while I was changing him made a big fuss of him.

A lady, who was part of a large party seated close to us, came over at the end of their meal and kissed Jack’s feet.  “oh, he’s just so gorgeous I could eat him!” She cooed.  I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t been there.

The food, as always, was fantastic.  Whilst they are clearlynot used to people bringing babies, they were friendly and welcoming.

Rating:

Stylishness: 5/5

Friendliness: 5/5

Feeding Facilities: 4/5

Changing Facilities: 1/5

Food: 5/5

Overall rating: 20/25   £££

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Filed under £££ - expensive, New York, Restaurant