Wednesday, September 15, 2010

5 tried and tested baby friendly restaurants in Islington for desperate parents

baby+crying

Image source: yoshimov

Having the Little One around these days make a whole lot of difference. For one, we don’t get to go out that often (“hear, hear!” say the parents) and when we actually do, it’s an major operation on its own. Would it be the Baby Bjorn or would it be the buggy? Initially, we favoured the Bjorn over the cumbersome buggy but soon realised that having the Bjorn strapped in front of you means that bits of food will land on the Little One’s crown, which is hardly appetizing.

But one thing that I do realise is that there are a whole lot more dining options if you are pushing a buggy around in London compared to in Singapore. Then again, it depends on which part of London you’re in – you would expect more baby friendly restaurants in Primrose Hill compared to the City itself.

We’re talking about babies here not toddlers/children

Of course, having a baby (or infant if you prefer) around posses different challenges compared to a toddler. That’s especially true if the little one hasn’t been trained for the bottle. No problem, I hear you say, for bebe au lait is at hand.

But you’ll be surprised how some restaurants would baulk at the first instant you start feeding your baby. Not to mention the availability of baby changing room as well as space for you to manoeuvre the pram/buggy or “travel system” as some people prefer to call it. Fortunately, there are quite a few options and they even serve decent enough food to boot.

Here are 5 baby friendly restaurants in Islington (and its vicinity).

The Canonbury

This is one of the main gathering places for parents support networks in the area. Boosting a huge outdoor seating space, The Canonbury is ideal for summer lunches. A sizable indoor seating area means that you could simply adjourn inside if it gets chilly.

Decent food served and there’s a baby changing facilities in the disabled toilet on the ground floor. My only complaint is that service can be rather slow when it gets a bit busy.

The Albion

The Albion has a deceiving narrow façade which hides its outdoor seating at the back of the pub. Nice Georgian period building with low beams and the whole works. Dedicated baby changing room with just enough room for pram parking.

For meat lovers out there, The Albion has got special steak cuts available. Oh, the service is prompt, efficient and friendly.

The Ambassador

Yes, this isn’t exactly in Islington but it’s near enough if you are based in Angel itself. Exmouth Market has got a couple of good brunch places. The Ambassador is suitable for a lazy morning brunch. Newspapers are freely available. You might find it a bit difficult to wheel your buggy around within the restaurant but you could reserve (they do reservations on weekends as well) a table that’s near the entrance for that.

Food wise, it’s nothing to shout about but like I said, it’s a nice place to hang out.

Caravan

Another Exmouth Market restaurant here. This is the place to go if you love your coffee for it has its very own coffee roaster installed in its basement. Its coffee is simply heavenly, period. In fact, its coffee has been making its rounds in the area as well and is now being served at Farringdon’s The Modern Pantry too.

Compared to The Ambassador, Caravan’s menu is more innovative and its brunch is definitely a notch up. But I don’t see it as a place where you can spend the entire morning in for there’s always people waiting for tables at its bar.

If you are with a buggy, you could always settle for outdoor seating. But do don a sweater as it can get quite chilly. Also, Caravan doesn’t accept reservations during weekends and Bank holidays.

The House Pub and Dining Room

Apparently, this gastropub isn’t known for its beer though it serves a mean fish and chips. The entire place is rather cosy (in a good way) with mismatched leather sofas as well as a mixture of wooden chairs and tables. I would imagine its outdoor seating area to be quite pleasant in autumn with a heater installed.

Other than that, it boost a full service restaurant within. The staff was playing with a customer’s toddler while his parents were tucking into breakfast when we were there. Other than that, service was prompt and friendly.

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These are my top five restaurants in the vicinity of Islington that are baby friendly. Do you know of any other baby (or child) friendly restaurants in London? What do you normally look out for in these restaurants? Also read about 6 tips when bringing your baby/toddler to restaurants

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2 comments:

Fëanor said...

Masala Zone is generally quite child-friendly - we went to the one in Islington from the time that the wife was pregnant till we left when the boy was 1.5 years old, and were always made welcome. Maybe it was my exhausted yet winning smile ;-)

C K said...

@Feanor,
Have not tried pushing the buggy into Masala Zone yet Hmm, will probably try it out this weekend.

Oh, I'm sure it's your charm. :)