Tag Archives: Piccadilly

The Wolseley, Piccadilly, London W1

There are few places in London that manage to capture the ambience of L’ancienne Europe like The Wolseley.  One could as easily be in Vienna or Paris as Piccadilly.  When I pitched up with no booking and a weary and hungry Jack one afternoon, I had a sneaking suspicion we would be treated with a Parisian-style hauteur to match.  How wrong I was.

The lady Maitre D (or should that be Maitress?  Or is that something entirely different?) pulled us out of the small queue the moment she saw Jack, seated us in the tea salon and, with a sleight of hand which almost made me gasp, deposited a clipboard with colouring pictures and a pencil case on the table.

Whilst no specific children’s menu was provided, it didn’t matter as there is plenty of straight-forward, comfort food on the menu.  The sight of a neighbouring diner’s enormous coupe dessert prompted Jack to request ice cream from a passing waitress.  I was relieved when it arrived to see that they had automatically served a child-sized version, even though I hadn’t asked for one.  Jack was enchanted with the little silver jug of warm chocolate sauce which came with it.

Having coloured his pictures and devoured the ice cream, Jack decided it was time for a toilet break.  Nurturing his growing confidence, I encouraged him to ask a pretty waitress where the loo was.  When she offered to show him, he was chuffed.  I, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck the entire two minutes he was out of my sight.  I needn’t have worried.  She waited with him and brought him straight back afterwards.  He was so pleased with himself and with her he spontaneously gave her an enormous hug.  I melted with pride and she and the other diners were charmed.

If your tot is a little younger than Jack, they do have highchairs and a dedicated baby-changing toilet at the rear of the main restaurant.  They always have a few tables reserved for people who just turn up.  The restaurant and the tea salon were both busy but looked well-staffed and we certainly didn’t have to wait long for our food (or in my case, strong coffee).

If you need a place for tots to run off all that food, Green Park and St James’s Park are a stone’s throw away and provide respite from the crowds on Piccadilly.

Proper food, European style, child-friendly and reasonably priced?  The Wolseley delivers.  With panache.

Rating:

Stylishness: 5/5
Friendliness: 5/5
Feeding Facilities: 4/5
Changing Facilities: 5/5
Food: 4/5

Overall rating 23/25  £-££

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Filed under ££ - Mid price, Cafe, London, Restaurant

5th Floor, Waterstone’s Piccadilly, London

Browsing leisurely in a bookshop, working my way from one interest or passion to another, is a luxury I rarely have time for now I have a 3 year old as well as a job.   Occasionally, my husband and I, in some reckless desire to behave as we did BC (before child), torture ourselves by popping into Waterstone’s in Piccadilly.

The miles of books wink, whisper and call to us.  Read me.  Read me.  Read me…

Ah, if only.  As we make our way to the children’s department something displayed by the entrance or the stairs will catch my eye.  Otherwise I rely on recommendations, reviews and Amazon.

We must be doing something right though, because Jack regularly asks to go to ‘the book shop’.  He could spend hours looking at the books and demanding to be read to.

Luckily, they do have a small family room on the same floor, complete with changing table, loo and chair for feeding.  For toddlers and adults in need of refreshment the 5th floor eaterie beckons.

The tables and chairs are not too closely packed so it feels quite relaxed, even when it is busy.  The food is ok, but nothing to write home about.  Then again, one doesn’t come for the food; one comes for the books.  The staff are efficient and, sometimes, friendly.

Any minor shortcomings of the eaterie are absolutely forgiven for what it creates: the time and space to enjoy the books.

Rating:

Stylishness: 4/5 (Come on, it is a HUGE bookshop, what could be more stylish?!)

Friendliness: 3/5

Feeding Facilities: 3/5

Changing Facilities: 5/5

Food: 3/5

Overall rating: 18/25   ££

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Filed under ££ - Mid price, Cafe, Department Store, London