Tag Archives: Spitalfields

Galvin La Chapelle, Spital Square, London E1

We first went to Galvin La Chapelle for my fortieth birthday dinner.  And what a place for a special dinner.  The setting is stunning: eglomisé mirrors, dark wood, nickel-coloured metal and some amazing lighting.   The service was impeccable, the wine and the food wonderful.

So, when I discovered that they were launching a family Sunday lunch, I was more than a little excited.   On arrival we couldn’t miss the table on which were set out a wide range of toys and games for kids of all ages.  Whilst Jack loved the cars and puzzles, we saw one family playing a game which involved putting large cards on their foreheads and guessing what was on them.  Now that is parental dedication.

Knowing we were being accompanied by a three and a half year old they had allocated us a banquette table and deliberately kept the table next to us free so he had plenty of space to play while we ordered.  There was a children’s set menu of roast chicken, green beans and creamed potato which was utterly delicious.  The waiter even bothered to check whether we wanted Jack’s food served as soon as it was ready rather than waiting for ours.

Jack’s place was laid with smaller cutlery and a smaller glass (note: a proper glass not a hideous plastic tumbler).  He loved the food and tried bits of what we were eating too and was particularly taken with my asparagus velouté.

On Sundays Fifi La Mer, a french accordion player entertains guests, which adds to the sense that you could be a million miles from the humdrum weekdays.  She even let Jack have a go at playing it, though it was almost as big as him and weighed as much.

There is a spacious (and beautifully decorated) disabled loo with a proper changing unit which is located in the Bistro area – when I asked where it was a waiter insisted on taking us there.  We didn’t have a buggy with us but I noticed others had been careful parked out of the way.

As we made our way back to our table, every single member of staff we passed said hello and made a fuss of Jack.  It is rare that the approach of the owners and Chef is consistently applied throughout, but to the staff at Galvin La Chapelle it appears to come naturally, effortlessly and with warmth.  As well as several other families, with children of varying ages, the restaurant was busy with couples and small groups of diners who all looked like they were having a delightful time.

As it approached 3 pm – we’d barely noticed the time – we managed to drag ourselves from the restaurant for a wander round the redeveloped Spitalfields.

For a chilled, leisurely, but supremely stylish place, for a Sunday lunch with your baby, toddler or older children, there is nowhere better than this.  We vowed to return. Often.

Rating:

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

Overall rating 25/25  ££-£££

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

Canteen, Royal Festival Hall, London

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

Rating:

Stylishness: 3/5

Friendliness: 4/5

Feeding Facilities: 3/5

Changing Facilities: 4/5

Food: 4/5

Overall rating: 18/25   ££

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Filed under ££ - Mid price, London, Restaurant