Can you really do a posh London restaurant with children?

"upmarket restaurant in Kensington"

Guest post from Mummy…

Remember the Oxo Tower? The Palais du Jardin? The Ivy? Oh, erm, no – I never did manage to get a reservation there, unless you count the one for dinner on a Monday in 7 months time, at 3.47pm, table back by 4.30 please…

Anyway, those were the days, weren’t they? The days before the kids had us eschewing the fine dining in London that we were used to. Yes, those days, the ones which relied on a dual income, plenty of free time, and table manners! Going out for a meal is now more likely to involve booster seats, and me choosing pasta carbonara, so that the kids can satisfy their puny appetites by picking off my plate.

Or so I thought. We were invited to sample the new children’s menu at the Aubrey Restaurant, part of the luxury Kensington Hotel in London. We had tickets to the Lion King for the Bug’s 5th birthday, so we opted to have lunch beforehand, and nervously pitched up to the hotel foyer, complete with a pack of kids snacks for later, just in case! What happened next was rather out of the ordinary…

"fine dining with children"

As they waited for their mocktails, my children perused their menu. Drawn in by the names of the dishes, they were keen to get started on the Alice in Wonderland dessert – fruit kebabs with ice-cream and chocolate sauce. But they managed to wolf down their very child-friendly main courses first. GG is a classic simple food lover. No sauces please, and the plainer the better. Guess what? Pasta with cheese was on the menu! So was burger and chips – grown-up look, but kid-friendly, and made with great quality ingredients.

The children’s food came very quickly, the portion sizes were child-friendly, and there was no problem with them having dessert while we lingered over our wine and main courses. To sneak a peak at the menus before you book, here is the children’s menu.

Now with all this focus on making the children happy, you’d guess me and Actually Daddy would be bored, but just take a look at what was on offer for us:

"5 star dining in London"

Just like the good old days…

Disclosure – our meal was provided free of charge for the purposes of review. All opinions and editorial is our own, and subject to copyright.


6 thoughts on “Can you really do a posh London restaurant with children?”

    • You’d be fine, they were really great with the kids, and in any case, I think kids only act up in restaurants when they’re bored, usually because they just pick at the food. Mine relished the food, and were too occupied with eating and drinking to be riotous!

  1. Love the adult menu but hate the kids menu.
    My children have been brought up to eat whatever the family eats from day 1. They have never had puree, special meals, ‘kid friendly’ food, and for them kid friendly food is adult food. They eat a great variety of healthy foods, love salads, vegetables, mild and strong flavoured foods, will eat any cuisine and most foods. Like everyone they have their favourites and everyone has something they truly don’t like but not because it isn’t perceived as ‘kid friendly’ .
    That kid menu has one vegetable – peas and some meals with no vegetables, no salads, no sauces or flavours available. How limiting.
    Limiting foods to those perceived as ‘Kid friendly’ leads to fussy eating, immature taste buds and inability to try new foods.

    • I get where you’re coming from Zan, but I have to say that in a restaurant where your prime goal is to relax and enjoy the adult food, “kid-friendly” food is a real plus. I can say this as the parent of a child who claims his favourite dish is Chilli Squid!
      Both my children eat a wide variety of foods, but GG’s favourite is still plain pasta with cheese, and I think that is the case for many young children. Fab that you can get your kids to try the ginger seabass, etc, but many aren’t that adventurous, so the Aubrey provides a great option for them.
      Thanks for your input though, really great to hear different points of view on here.

      • But surely if you/or your child wants plain pasta then a good restaurant should be able to provide it.
        Children need to be exposed to different foods (and several times) to want to eat them, so limiting kids to what is perceived as to be a ‘kid friendly’ meal works against that causing children to be fussy. If they never know what is ‘kid friendly’ then they will never want to eat that. Their taste buds will mature and they will choose what they like.
        I love eating in any restaurant with my kids but we very rarely purchase the kids menu as usually it doesn’t appeal or is tasteless. But if more restaurants sold decent kids meals (ie scaled down portions of decent food) then my kids would save me a fortune!!!

  2. I wouldn’t dream of taking little man to anything more than a pub and that is bad enough….but daddy and I try at least once a year go fine dining, the Oxo tower is joint first with The Wolsley at present 🙂 x


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