The only downside to this eternally popular pasta place is that you have to get there super early to grab a table. Which is exactly why it works perfectly for those with children – get in there when it opens at 5pm and you’ll be pretty much guaranteed a spot. Buggies and booster seats work best in the atmospheric basement, where kids can tuck into the likes of pappardelle with eight-hour beef shin ragu (much better than Bolognese) and fettuccine with tomatoes, garlic and basil.
6 Southwark Street, Borough, SE1 1TQ
Poppie’s Fish & Chips
Poppie’s is renowned for its authentic fish and chips – and it’s little wonder, with born and bred East-End proprietor, Pat ‘Pop’ Newland, at the helm. Pop’s career in the fish and chip business started in 1952 when, aged 11, he got a job on Roman Road cutting up copies of The Daily Mirror to wrap fish and chips in. Modern 11-year-olds can get in on the action via the £4.95 children’s menu, which includes cod bites, sausage or fishcake, all served with chips.
6-8 Hanbury Street, Spitalfields, E1 6QR and 30 Hawley Crescent, Camden, NW1 8NP
This popular neighbourhood restaurant comes from Adam Byatt, the man behind the acclaimed Clapham restaurant Trinity. Given that Bistro Union is slightly more relaxed, it makes sense that it offers an outstanding children’s menu. For £8, kids will be given cucumber sticks and sour cream to snack on, followed by a choice of steak and chips, macaroni cheese, breaded Cornish cod and chips or pigs-in-blankets and chips, followed by ice cream. Between 5:30pm and 6:30pm, kid’s meals come free with an adult main course.
40 Abbeville Road, Clapham, SW4 9NG
Caravan King’s Cross
Pizza is the name of the game when it comes to feeding children at Caravan King’s Cross – the team’s mozzarella, tomato and basil offerings is one that keeps kids happy time and time again, while adults can tuck into mains or a more acquired taste, such as spiced cauliflower, harissa and pomegranate yoghurt. The fountains outside on Granary Square will keep kids amused, and the staff here are always lovely to little ones.
1 Granary Square, King’s Cross, N1C 4AA
Stevie Parle’s Soho pasta joint, with its colourful interiors and large sharing tables, makes a great spot to take the kids for an early dinner. While adults can indulge in an Aperol Spritz or prosecco slushie, little ones will be pacified by the huge range of fresh pasta dishes: simple classics include the likes of rigatoni with slow-cooked tomato sauce, and wild mushroom tagliatelle. Two scoops of stracciatella ice-cream will keep everyone happy.
19 Ganton Street, Soho, W1F 9BN
All Star Lanes
With bowling, burgers and milkshakes on the menu, you know the kids will be kept suitably entertained at bowling hotspot All Star Lanes.
Locations in Bayswater, Brick Lane, Holborn and Stratford
Perhaps not the first place that springs to mind for a family gathering – we salute anyone brave enough to bound into Hix’s flagship Soho venue with a double buggy in tow – but when kids can eat for free with any adult à la carte course, every day until 6pm, you know you’re onto a winner.
7/9 Berwick Street, Soho W1F 0PJ
Every branch of Jamie’s Italian is kitted out for kids. They even have special bottle warmers to heat up babies' milk, should you need it. The menu is healthy and has a great selection – mini beef burgers, spaghetti Bolognese, chicken lollipops and margherita pizzas – and they also hand out activity packs to keep little ones entertained at the table, so the grown-ups can eat in peace.
For an all-American feast, you won’t find much better than Big Easy. Plus, kids under ten eat free when accompanied by an adult ordering from the bottomless brunch or à la carte menu. Adults have the option of choosing between ‘The Big Pig Gig’ Limitless Bar.B.Q or the ‘Fresh Lobster Fest’, which includes free flowing prosecco, Big Easy brew, frozen Bacardi mojito, or house wine, all for £29.50, with a limit of two free child meals per one adult.
Locations in Covent Garden, Kings Road and Canary Wharf
With dedicated children’s menus in both the Canary Wharf and Chelsea branches, Tom’s Kitchen is more than clued up when it comes to dining with kids. Little ones can choose from the likes of boiled egg and soldiers or mini berry pancakes for breakfast; crispy chicken with mash and peas or tomato and cheese pasta for mains; and for dessert, grated apple with yoghurt and sultanas, or pear and blackberry crumble with vanilla ice cream. And to wash it down, there are milkshakes, juices and smoothies to choose from, too. Kids also eat free when adults order the weekend brunch at Tom’s Kitchen Canary Wharf, where there's also a play room stacked to the rafters with toys and games to keep the kids occupied whilst you enjoy a bit of adult time.
Locations in Chelsea and Canary Wharf
Jude’s Ice Cream at Pear Tree Café
If there’s one way to keep the kids smiling over the summer, it’s a frozen ice cream fix. Head to Battersea’s Pear Tree Café where Jude’s ice cream parlour will be serving up all kinds of cool, creamy delights. Flavour combos include Jude’s Black Coconut, Salted Caramel, Strawberries & Cream, Honeycomb and Mango Sorbet.
Pear Tree Café, Lakeside Café, Battersea Park SW11 4NJ
A buzzing hotspot for pasta-loving bambinos, Carluccio’s Italian is a haven for families. Kids can colour with crayons as they wait patiently for their bowls of spaghetti Bolognese or creamy mac and cheese, and if they’re feeling particularly creative, they can even create their own pasta dish with a range of fresh ingredients. The kid’s menu includes a main, dessert and soft drink all for £7, and from now until 31st August, kids can eat for just £1 between 9am and 5pm at any participating Carluccio’s restaurant.
Good news for foodies, Jason Atherton’s New York-style eatery, Hai Cenato, is offering a new family-friendly weekend brunch. Mum and dad can tuck into the likes of Italian French toast with Amalfi lemon curd and blueberries; Cacio e pepe, smoked mackerel with butter poached potatoes, flat parsley; and Rosemary Focaccia, fried Arlington whites with nduja jam; whilst kids can enjoy a mini Margherita sourdough pizza or pasta Bolognese, plus a cone of gelato (Crème Fraiche, Salted Caramel and Vanilla) all on the house. Sounds pretty good to us.
2 Sir Simon Milton Square, Victoria SW1E 5DJ, weekend brunch available Saturday and Sunday from 11am-3pm in the restaurant and on the outside terrace.
This bustling Mexican mini-chain has a special kids’ menu offering smaller, mildly-spiced versions of their taco and quesadilla creations, with a few added extras – like homemade hibiscus cordial, babyccinos and creamy scoops of ice cream. Every branch is always busy, so you won’t have to worry about your clan making a racket, they’ll blend into the background noise easily!
From 20th July to 3rd September, Angela Hartnett’s Cafe Murano St James and Covent Garden are treating children under ten to lunch or dinner on them, when they dine with a paying parent ordering a main course. The menus are deliberately made to the same high standards as the adult a la carte selection, and feature child-friendly versions of grown-up dishes: kids have the option to pick from chicken milanese, or a selection of freshly-made pastas and sauces.
Locations in St James and Covent Garden
Granger & Co.
With outposts in Chelsea, Clerkenwell, King’s Cross and Notting Hill, Granger & Co.’s Australian-inspired fare is the perfect pit stop for a family brunch. As well as toasted sandwiches, cooked breakfasts and a selection of nutritious sweet bakes – the muffins and toasted coconut bread are divine – there’s a delicious range of smoothies and shakes packed with fresh fruit and a hit of ice cream.
Locations in Chelsea, Clerkenwell, King’s Cross and Notting Hill
Pizzas are always a winner, particularly when served up quickly in Pizza Pilgrims’ self-titled ‘Pizza Playground’. There’s no dedicated kids’ menu as such, but there are plenty of plain classics to delve into – marina, margherita and aubergine parmigiana spring to mind – and kids can watch the drama unfold as pizza doughs are tossed and thrown like magic into the gigantic wood-fired pizza ovens.