If you’re travelling to or from South London via Waterloo Station the revamped area around the Royal Festival Hall is a great place for a pit stop. Canteen is located round the back of the Festival Hall away from the melee of the riverside, which is a relief if you’ve spent the last few hours fighting your way through crowded streets with a buggy.
I’ve been with Jack several times now, from just before he was a year old onwards. The food is always yummy and they will do starter size portions for children. The vibe is distinctly not that of a children’s restaurant (unlike places like Giraffe, of which more in a later post) since you’re as likely to find trendy 30-somethings working over lunch as you are mums with toddlers.
The staff have always happily found space to park the buggy and magic up a highchair. The toilets have loads of decent changing space as well as a dedicated disabled loo which has a changing table.
Whilst the service is generally pretty quick – always helpful when you have a hungry toddler – on one recent occasion when they were, admittedly, very busy we had to ask after the food several times. This produced an exasperated reaction from the waitress. The result: I went from one stressed mum who needed to feed her child to one very angry one. Not good if you expect a tip.
Don’t let this put you off though, because overall it’s a great place to go with babies and toddlers if you want a more, pleasant, adult experience than you’ll get in a place dedicated solely to feeding kids. They also have branches in Spitalfields, Baker Street and Canary Wharf
Feeding Facilities: 3/5
Changing Facilities: 4/5
Overall rating: 18/25 ££