Perfect for eating out with your children, the iCandy Raspberry pushchair makes dining easy and elegant wherever the destination
Words: Jimi Famurewa Photos: Miles Willis
There is a space in the modern parental brain – right next to the worries about whether you remembered the wet wipes, perhaps – that’s almost entirely devoted to child-friendly cafés, pubs and restaurants. I’m no different, and having written Family London, a kid-focused guide to the very best activities in the capital, I have cultivated a few firm favourites. But it always makes sense to reappraise even the places we hold dearest. So in that spirit, and with an urge to bolster the arsenal of others hoping to quickly neutralise a tantrum, I took my 11-month-old son Remi to some of my top London haunts in iCandy’s brand new Raspberry pushchair. Our aim was to put these five diverse places through their paces – here’s how we did.
On the face of it, this sleek Soho stalwart doesn’t scream ‘babies welcome’. But don’t be fooled by its basement cocktail bar and moody lighting: like all of Mark Hix’s establishments, Hix offers free meals for under-10s at certain times. Using the Raspberry’s new seat elevators in lieu of a highchair, Remi and I devoured mini fish and chips alongside a chicken escalope, while the dangling pieces of modern art proved a useful distraction.
York & Albany, Camden (above)
Plonked on a corner that’s ambling distance from both Regent’s Park and London Zoo, this Gordon Ramsay-owned gastropub boasts one of the capital’s best people-watching spots. But it’s not just got location on its side. Tiny diners get the red carpet treatment here with stealthily nutritious dishes (think ‘slam dunk’ meatballs and pasta) and a box of vibrant activities curated by Ramsay’s daughter (and fellow cookbook author) Tilly.
Cafe Murano, St James’s and Covent Garden
There’s an old-fashioned Italian welcome awaiting families at Angela Hartnett’s pair of bustling central London restaurants. The headline here is a great value £10 menu for kids (slurpable authentic pasta or breaded veal, followed by excellent sorbet or ice cream), but it’s the adult offering – dangerously addictive salt cod fritters and braised rabbit tagliatelle – that makes this the perfect place for parents to recover after a run-in with the West End hordes.
Bear + Wolf, Tufnell Park
Few places pull off the magic trick of catering for both bleary-eyed childcarers and coffee-sipping freelancers like this hip north London café. The delicious menu brims with great kiddie options (buttermilk waffles or bottomless cereal, anyone?), and there are all manner of clever, parent-pleasing touches (including a buggy park that the Raspberry’s compact frame eased into with minimum fuss). The back room holds the motherlode: a toy-crammed playroom so good you’ll find yourself making repeat pilgrimages here, no matter what your postcode.
Mamma Dough, various locations (above)
London is not lacking in sourdough pizza places, but this south London chain with branches in Peckham, Brixton and Honor Oak Park, has something special. A great menu of interesting regulars (think butternut squash, feta, pine nuts and rosemary), rotating specials (pray you get the pesto-drizzled ‘New Yorker’) and a speedy, friendly approach to accommodating your tiny charges (pizza styles are adaptable and come half-size) makes for a blissful, impulsive treat dinner. The spiky, house-brewed ginger beer only seals the deal.
iCandy Raspberry costs £550 from icandyworld.com. Family London by Jimi Famurewa (Frances Lincoln, £9.99) is out now