The Ledbury

“Listen to that,” Daniel Boulud said over dinner at the Ledbury in London last month. The sound was of a baby crying. “That’s something you don’t hear often enough in restaurants,” said the French-born chef, who plans to open a Bar Boulud at London’s Mandarin Oriental in May, expanding a dining empire that stretches from New York to Beijing.

How welcome are children in the U.K. capital’s top restaurants? I called 30 asking if a pair of kids aged 2 and 7 would be admitted, whether there were high chairs and about the availability of special menus. With few exceptions, each was child friendly. Here are the responses:

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester: “Unfortunately, children have to be the age of 14.” Do you have a special menu? “No, it would have to be from the a la carte.”

L’Anima: “Yes, we allow children. We have high chairs. When you come here we can arrange something with the chef.”

Bob Bob Ricard: “We’re not allowing children under 10 years old. There are no special menus.”

Corrigan’s Mayfair: “Children of more than five years old are welcome for dinner any day and children of any age are welcome on Sundays.” How about weekday lunches? “I’d say no one younger than five and I’d even say 11 or 12 on a weekday. There are a lot of business people around.”

Hakkasan: “They’re absolutely more than welcome. If you are bringing children, we encourage you to bring them slightly earlier in the evening because it gets noisy later on. We don’t provide high chairs but you’re more than welcome to bring your own attachments. There’s no special menu.”

Helene Darroze at the Connaught: “We are children friendly, so not to worry. The only thing is we don’t have a special menu, but we do have some high chairs.”

Hix Soho: “We’ve got high chairs and if you let us know we can try and make sure you have space, for example if you have a buggy. We can always try and make something for them.”

The Ivy: “It’s fine. Any age. We have high chairs. We can adapt dishes for children.”

Le Gavroche: “We welcome all ages. But we don’t have any high chairs. We’ve no special menus but we can be flexible.”

Launceston Place: “There are no restrictions but we don’t have high chairs. We can do smaller portions.”

The Ledbury: “Yes, of course, we do. No restrictions. But we only have one high chair. No, we don’t have special menus.”

Locanda Locatelli: “Yes, absolutely. We have high chairs. We can have a smaller portion or we can make something simple.”

Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley: “Children are welcome but if kids get a bit restless and unhappy you might be asked to take them outside for a while. We can arrange a high chair if you let us know in advance. Our team can adjust the dishes for children.”

Maze: “Children are absolutely fine. We have high chairs. We could do simple things for the children.”

Murano: “They are allowed, but unfortunately we don’t have any children’s menus. We can get a high chair but we’d need to know in advance.”

Nobu: “We have babies up to toddlers and kids up to teenagers. We do have high chairs. There are simpler dishes we can do for children.”

Oxo Tower Restaurant: “We welcome children and we have high chairs. We only have special menus during half-term but you can speak to the chef and he’ll tell you what he can do.”

Pied a Terre: “Yes, we do. We don’t have a high chair, I’m afraid. We’ll do some simple food for kids.”

Pizza East: “Yes, of course, we do. We have high chairs, too.”

Restaurant Gordon Ramsay: “Children are welcome but babies are not recommended because the restaurant is quite small so we don’t have space for high chairs or push chairs.” What age would be OK? “I would say maybe seven or 10 years onwards. We don’t have kids’ menus but we will be able to offer something suitable.”

River Cafe: “Children are welcome. We have high chairs. We can do special kids’ dishes, which aren’t on the menu. It’s something like 4.50 pounds ($7) for a bowl of pasta.”

Rasoi Vineet Bhatia: “We allow children but we don’t have any baby facilities. No, we don’t have a special menu.”

Roka: “We have high chairs. We don’t do special menus.”

St. John: “We have high chairs. There’s always something suitable for children.”

Scott’s: “No problem at all. We have high chairs and we can do smaller portions of several dishes.”

The Square: “Of course. No, we don’t have high chairs. There’s no special menu but the chef will always do something for them.”

Tom Aikens: “Yes, of course. If we know in advance, we can arrange a high chair. There’s no special menu.”

Wolseley: “Of course we do. We have high chairs. It’s a large menu with things like roast chicken and burgers, so there’s always something children can eat.”

Zafferano: “They are welcome. We have high chairs. We can do some simple pasta.”

Zuma: “Yes. We have high chairs. It’s just the normal a la carte menu.”

By Richard Vines, Bloomberg Food Editor

Taken from the Original article from Bloomberg 23 February 2010

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