It’s never too soon to book a restaurant for Mother’s Day, which is coming up on Sunday 26 March. Arranging that all-important dinner comes with a lot of pressure but, luckily for you, we’ve got a selection of restaurants to suit every category of mother, broken down even further into scrimp or splurge alternatives. Genius, if we do say so ourselves. So get booking and smother your mother (with love and food only, obviously).
Words: Eamonn Crowe and India Dowley
Scrimp: Brasserie Zédel, Soho (above)
What: Corbin & King (The Wolseley, The Delaunay et al) have lavished all their customary care and attention on this Piccadilly Circus behemoth, and the gold-plated rococo basement is a jaw-dropper of film-set proportions, where food of purist Gallic standards are served at prices last seen in our student days.
Where: 20 Sherwood Street, W1F 7ED
Splurge: OXO Restaurant, South Bank
What: Looking down on the Thames from eight floors up, OXO restaurant is perfect for mums who like a classy afternoon out. You and Mummy will get to enjoy a three-course set menu for £65, featuring the likes of Scottish venison steak with polenta and green peppercorn sauce, and blood orange cake with almond ice cream. There’s even a glass of Champers thrown in on arrival.
Where: Oxo Tower Wharf, Barge House Street, SE1 9PH
Scrimp: Blacklock, Soho (above)
What: If you’re in the market for a dark and moody basement restaurant serving affordable food against a boisterous soundtrack, this Soho chophouse delivers. Tricked out in rough-and-ready mufti (with atmosphere to match), Blacklock is characterised by muted colours, candles and shadows – in keeping with the dubious pleasure of being housed in a former brothel.
Where: The Basement, 24 Great Windmill Street, W1D 7LG
Splurge: The Clove Club, Shoreditch
What: Our Restaurant of the Year 2015 continues to dazzle diners with its experimental use of seasonal British produce. Isaac McHale’s cooking revolves around daringly modern tasting menus, reflecting London in all its cosmopolitan dynamism. Beware: pre-payment is required when booking for dinner.
When: 380 Old Street, EC1V 9LT
Scrimp: Park Chinois, Mayfair (above)
What: Ok, so this luxe Chinese isn’t normally found next to the word ‘scrimp’, but hear us out: It’s launching an afternoon tea menu just in time for Mother’s Day, for a relatively affordable £39 per person. That includes traditional sandwiches, a range of scones and a selection of sweet pastries. Loose-leaf tea is sourced from China, while live music from The Orchestre de Chinois adds a sense of occasion.
Where: 17 Berkeley Street, W1J 8EA
Splurge: Fera at Claridge’s, Mayfair
What: Simon Rogan’s Fera has created a special Taste of Fera Mother’s Day lunch menu for £85 per person, featuring eight dishes. Lucky mums get to enjoy bites including stewed rabbit with lovage and Yorkshire rhubarb with roses, while there’s a glass of Champagne each included too.
Where: Claridge's, Brook Street, W1K 4HR
Scrimp: Black Axe Mangal, Highbury
What: When you take a hipster who’s spent 10 years working at St John Bread & Wine, a pop-up restaurant, a Copenhagen nightclub and a swish version of Turkish kebabbery, the result is bound to be pretty cool. Lee Tiernan and his wife Kate have created their own selection of kebabs, beers and ‘other tasty junk’.
Where: 156 Canonbury Road, N1 2UP
Splurge: Paradise Garage, Bethnal Green (above)
What: Chef Robin Gill spent four years at Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and had a stint at Noma, but it’s the latter’s new Nordic Kitchen influence that’s evident in his predilection for smoking, curing and fermenting. The concrete floor, white tiles and filament-bulb look epitomises the modern energetic East London eatery, as do the waiting staff’s colourful tattoos.
Where: 254 Paradise Row, E2 9LE
Scrimp: Meatliquor, Brixton, Covent Garden, Hoxton, Islington and Marylebone (above)
What: Reliably crowded, dark and loud, Meatliquor’s burger-led swagger has taken it far beyond niche. The menu’s core appeal is in the purist butter-grilled cheeseburger, mustardy double-decker Dead Hippie, house chilli dogs and extravagantly pimped sides (fried pickles, chilli cheese fries and the like).
Where: Various locations
Splurge: Hawksmoor, Borough, Covent Garden, Knightsbridge, Mayfair and Spitalfields
What: Fantastic steaks, food-porn burgers, triple-cooked chips and that homemade tomato ketchup – need we say more? A lack of pretension adds to the charm of Hawksmoor, as do the calorific puds and strong cocktail list.
Where: Various locations
Scrimp: Farm Girl, Notting Hill (above)
What: Inspired by the laidback Aussie lifestyle and a love of travel, the interior sees floor-to-ceiling windows meet a communal farmhouse-style table, while an alfresco courtyard provides respite from Portobello Market. Naturopathic Doctor Melly Lou (founder of Liquorice Lifestyle) has advised on nutritional aspects of the menu.
Where: 59a Portobello Road, W11 3DB
Splurge: Nopi, Soho
What: This gorgeous spin-off from the Ottolenghi deli chain serves myriad obscure ingredients in the zingy, mouth-watering combinations that have become his trademark. The gleaming all-day brasserie is done out in shades of white and gold, while sharing is encouraged and there’s much to rave about.
Where: 21-22 Warwick Street, W1B 5NE
Scrimp: Inamo, Camden, Covent Garden and Soho (above)
What: ‘Interactive oriental fusion’ is the deal at these futuristic, neon-lit restaurants, which have silenced those naysayers who claimed the gimmicky idea of ordering your meal via the interactive tables would soon wear thin. Instead, diners love this Pan-Asian concept with its entertaining novelty – you can even order a taxi home from your table.
Where: 265 Hampstead Road, NW1 7QX, 11-14 Hanover Place, WC2E 9JP and 134-136 Wardour Street, W1F 8ZP
Splurge: Sea Containers, South Bank
What: Part of a large brood? Sea Containers is marking the day by offering brunch or dinner on the house, to any mum dining with a party of four or more. With views of The Thames and a swanky setting, this is a good one for social media gloating about how you’re just the best child.
Where: 20 Upper Ground, SE1 9PD
Scrimp: Hoppers, Soho (above)
What: If you can’t afford Gymkhana, this worthy offspring is a fab alternative for the flash-pack. For Mother’s Day, there’s even the rare chance to book a table here: a £40 ticket includes six courses, each from a recipe that has been contributed by a mother of team Hoppers. Sittings are available at 12.30pm, 2.30pm, 5.30pm or 8pm and tickets can be purchased at Hopperslondon.tocktix.com.
Where: 49 Frith Street, W1D 4SG
Splurge: Restaurant Ours, Chelsea
What: Tom Seller’s (Restaurant Story) Chelsea hotspot has played host to several big names (Lindsay Lohan, anyone?) so makes for a perfectly flashy dinner spot. For Mother’s Day, it’s offering a glass of fizz for mums on arrival, as well as gifting them a selection of petit fours to take home.
Where: 264 Brompton Road, SW3 2AS
Scrimp: Talli Joe, Covent Garden (above)
What: This Covent Garden Indian is going all-out for Mother’s Day by launching a month-long menu. Head chef Sameer Taneja has teamed up with fellow cooks Romy Gill, Maunika Gowardhan, Asma Khan and Rebecca Seal to create a menu of treats inspired by their food memories. On the menu, there’s fish curry served with steamed rice and mango pickle, as well as baked cottage cheese dumplings encased in a chocolate shell.
Where: 152-156 Shaftesbury Avenue, WC2H 8HL
Splurge: Benares, Mayfair
What: This Michelin-starred Mayfair Indian is celebrating with a limited-edition menu. Mums will be feasting on a six-course tasting menu (£105 per person), featuring five-spice pickled prawns and tandoori chicken tikka pie. They’ll also bag a box of Benares chocolates to take home, while those who quote 'Mum's the word' will receive a complimentary cocktail on arrival.
Where: 12a Berkeley Square House, Berkeley Square, W1J 6BS
More interested in someone else’s mum than your own? Have a browse of our selection of London’s most romantic restaurants, so you can really impress – you filthy, filthy human.
For even more Mother’s Day ideas, take a look at our selection of London restaurants with Mother’s Day menus here, then click through to the ‘menu’ tab on each to browse the offering
This article was published 14 March 2017