Navigating our grand capital city in the height of the summer holidays can send stress levels skyrocketing. Whilst we champion the independents there’s a host of high street heroes we love for a family food fix. Check out our pick of the child-friendly chains for a picnic pitstop, bitesized burger or falafel feast…
FAST AND FRESH
Long gone are the days where a trip to a fast food joint meant glaring through the Golden Arches or bucket based bites. The clever chaps at Leon realised that fast food can mean good food and it’s a family pitstop we often rely on. With a children’s menu formulated against Children’s Food Trust guidelines, the menu is balanced, nutritious and caters for a myriad of dietary requirements. Whether morning pots of porridge or toast and banana kickstart a day trip or it’s virtuous lunch of falafel, rice and peas & broccoli, portions are the perfect size and full of flavour. Served up with a drink and activity pack, who need Happy Meals when Leon’s serves up smile worthy suppers.
Naturally Fast Food across the capital
The brainchild of Tony Kitous, is the man credited with putting the glamour into Middle East cuisine, Comptoir Libinais’ wholesome and healthy Lebanese food in as colourful as it’s souk-inspired interiors. Healthy, honest and affordable, Comptoir’s Children’s menu is a true feast at only £5.95 – main, dessert and drink. Dishes include moreish grilled chicken wraps, lamb kofta, halloumi cheese Man’ousha, oodles of falafels, fries and hummus. Sweet Lebanese milk pudding with rose water and pistachio is a dream as is the chocolate and tahina fudge brownie. Flavoursome, fun family dining across London and beyond.
Various locations across the UK
In our opinion when it comes to burgers there’s only one place – Honest. Chicken, beef or veg – the offering is pared back but deliciously executed. The Tribute – a juicy stack of beef, bacon, American cheese, mustard, pickles and lettuce is seriously something and our fail-safe favourite. Whilst we can greedily gobble down a burger in record time, for kids, the menu is the same as the adults just served in children’s sized portions. The mini burgers come with our rosemary salted chips, and cost 50% less than the grown up sized dishes. Gluten-free goodness can also be whipped up as the ask of a hat.
Restaurants across London
The Ivy Cafe
Popping up across the capital, The Ivy Cafe is a slice of chic cafe society decked out in jaw-dropping decor. This accessible high-street offshoot of The Ivy is a popular haunt with mamas who brunch and families looking for a trusted British bite in tourist spots around town. For breakfast, Toasted Crumpets oozing with Marmite, mustard and parsley butter are a childhood dream, whilst eggs a-plenty will have you giddy with choice, for us – the avocado, tomato and poached eggs rich with a sesame dressing is a winner. Menu winners for the family include crowd pleasing Ivy classics – Shepherd’s Pie, Chicken Milanese and Steak, Egg & Chips. Plates are perfect for sharing with toddlers, although brilliant staff are more than happy to heat up baby food.
Stylish suppers around London
It’s been a whopping 13 years since Gail’s first fired up their ovens in Hampstead. Now with a string of bakeries across the capital alongside Brighton and Oxford, founder Tom Molnar has remained true to his original vision – good, unpretentious food with minimum fuss and few ingredients, with bread at the heart of their offering. A neighbourhood family favourite, Gail’s are marking their bakers dozen by whipping up mini versions of their most adored cakes – flourless chocolate, baked cheesecake, a vegan chocolate and tahini bite, to name a few. Reduced sugar recipes, small enough bites for babes and a sweet treat for mamas looking for a mid-morning treat with a cup of Joe.
Cakes across the capital
Designed around the notion that meat-free needn’t mean taste-free, Wagamama’s vegan and vegetarian menu features six flavoursome family-friendly dishes – four sides and two fruit loaded sorbets for dessert. Kid’s will adore the Yasai Gyoza packed with vegetables and a moorish dipping sauce and the Yaskai Yaki Soba is a noodle dream packed with mushrooms, peppers, beansprouts and spring onions – a plate is perfect for two little ones to tuck in and share. Discover the full menu here.
Various locations around London
Melrose and Morgan
Heading to the park but haven’t got time to pull together a picnic? Worry not at North West London delicatessen Melrose and Morgan have summertime dining sussed with their ingenious picnic hampers. With 3 varieties – British, Veggie or Continental, the hampers are plentiful for under £60 generously feed a family of four. Classics such as scotch eggs, sausage rolls and cheese & crackers fill the British box whilst the Veggie is a super mix of olive, tomato and feta stuffed peppers and spinach, chilli and feta puffed roll smattered with salads and strawberries. Pre-order your picnic and get ready to grab and go in their chic cool bags with eco-friendly paper plates, cutlery, napkins and drinks.
Primrose Hill and Hampstead
A SLICE OF THE PIE
From humble beginnings in Brixton Market to capital wide favourite, Franco Manca is as honest as their slow-rising sourdough bases. Whether your kids fly the tricolour – tomato, mozzarella and basil or fancy a grown-up slice of pepperoni – the number six with cured organic chorizo, this no gimmicks menu will not disappoint. Our favourite, number 5 – a salty anchovy, capers and olive combo smattered atop tomato, garlic and mozzarella. If you’re lucky enough to spot the burrata chalked up on daily specials, snap up a plate of this heavenly ball of creamy goodness – you can thank us later!
Slices across London
SPICE UP YOUR LIFE
If a trusty Thai is what your kids crave then Busaba Eathai is just the ticket. The brainchild Wagamama creator of Alan Yau, Busaba Eathai has flourished since opening in the heart of London’s Soho in the late nineties. Founded on the principle of ‘Sookjai’, centring the soul to avoid everyday chaos and focusing on taking life as it comes, Busaba offers a welcome restbite from the craziness of family life and serves up a moment of mealtime bliss. For under a tenner, your little ones can explore the culinary delights of Thai food, from the crunch of prawn crackers, noodling their way through Pad Thai, dippy delight with satay chicken and Bangkok ice cream dreams are smattered with strawberry popping candy for a final hoorah. Oh and we absolutely love the child-friendly colloquialisms of the menu boasting ‘little broccoli trees’ and pick up veggies.
Restaurants across London
PLEASE SIR CAN I HAVE SOME ‘MOOR?
If you’re in search of a family-friendly steak supper look no further than Hawksmoor. Their Express Menu serves up 2 course for an affordable £25 and with portions on the generous side, little ones can sneak a slice or two of mamas meal. How does a 35 day dry-aged rump and triple cooked chips with a sticky toffee sundae sound? Or will you go all out with the fillet tail and beef dripping fries and a lip-smacking peanut butter shortbread? Either way, the steak is ace and the staff super friendly.
Steaks across town
Image credits: Wagamamas, Honest Burger, Gail’s Bakery & Melrose and Morgan