Before Jack arrived my only experience of Christopher’s had been business lunches. Its American-style surf and turf menu, efficient service and great location make it a perfect choice for that kind of dining.
Not surprisingly I wasn’t convinced it would be an ideal choice with a baby in tow. We picked a weekend lunchtime which turned out to be a popular time to go with kids as we weren’t the only ones. The restaurant is up a set of spiral steps to it’s best to leave the buggy downstairs. It is advisable to take the baby with you, though.
A high chair appeared without fuss. Jack was only just starting on solids so I’d come prepared with a pot of mush which seemed to keep him happy. I didn’t ask the staff to warm it, though I didn’t get the impression that such a request would have been too much to ask.
The waiters are super efficient but not overly friendly: perhaps because they are more used to a business clientele who prefer to be left alone as much as possible.
The toilets are a challenge. They are surprisingly small for a restaurant of the calibre of Christopher’s and there is little room for changing a baby, let alone a table. This is definitely a place to go with slightly older toddlers and children who will feel like it’s a proper grown up dining experience. There are probably better places to go with a small baby.
Feeding Facilities: 3/5
Changing Facilities: 0/5
Overall rating: 12/25 ££
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.
Feeding Facilities: 4/5
Changing Facilities: 0/5
Overall rating: 15/25 ££