London: Foodie parents with kids
Boston family will be in London for just one night, in West End. Parents take their food seriously and want a dinner option that is fun, contemporary and tasty, with a vibe, yet where we won't feel our kids (ages 5 and 7) are an eyesore. Dinner would have to be early evening. Any recommendations for an enjoyable meal (no chain restaurants) please? Many thanks.
I really want to help you but am not coming up with anything that's a definite. Take a look at Imli though...it looks interesting and the kids might think it's cool.
You don't mention budget so it's hard to give specific restaurant recs but also look at Mohti Mahal in Covent Garden (I often find that Indian restaurants are very kid-friendly). Also, I'm thinking Yauatcha on Berwick Street might be a possibility. But I'm iffy on their service.
Lastly, Le Cafe Anglais in Bayswater strikes me as a pretty family-oriented place. (It's the type of place you'd take your parents or grandparents to if they were visiting. Very classic and dependable.) It's not exactly in the West End, but it's not far at all. (Make sure you get the anchovy toasts with parmesan custard.) When you book, ask for one of the booths.
We just had dinner at St. John a couple weeks ago with our 6 year old. We went early (6:30). It is most definitely a foodie destination and was buzzing even at that early hour. SInce our son was not into the bone marrow and parsley salad app that his mom and dad swooned over, the staff were very accomodating and offered various items for him to eat. No one seemed bothered by a child in there. It is in Clerkenwell, which is a reasonably short taxi ride from the West End or you can take the tube. (We're from Boston too, have fun!).
Yauatcha is a good choice. Be sure to make reservations for the upstairs, not the downstairs (which is more popular). Last time I was there quite a few tables had small children at them. The service upstairs seems to be better also due to some people just having tea and their fantastic macaroons.
We also took our three kids (16,14,9) to St. John and they loved it! The waiter was terrific and happy to bring out another portion of veal heart with pickled walnut dressing when the kids devoured the first.
We all also loved Anchor and Hope. The whole kid leg saltambocca for the whole table along with chips and aioli was delicious. We went back another night for dessert. Great place. Don't miss it. Good luck!!