Restaurant website Square Meal recently voted Bar Boulud, the Mandarin Oriental Hotel’s informal brasserie style restaurant, one of its top picks for a family friendly meal with children in London. We were in the capital for a major sporting event at the O2 and thought we’d give it a whirl. We had a head start in that our twin 9 year olds had watched the TV series about the Mandarin Oriental Hotel, London, ‘A Very British Hotel’ and were keen to go beyond its famous doors themselves. A warm welcome awaited us from the friendly and charming concierge already known to my children from the TV series.
We’d booked a table for 5pm and so the early evening set menu was available. This must surely be one of the best value menus in London, with 2 courses for £20 and 3 courses for £24, including tea or coffee, available Monday – Sunday 12pm – 6.30pm. Check here for up to date prices. The children’s menu on the day we visited had a range of children’s favourites available for £9-10 with no processed food such as sausages or fish fingers, a welcome relief! They also brought some colouring for the children to do whilst waiting for their food, always a winner.
Salade d’endive was my starter and I am firmly of the view that a salad and its dressing can be the marker of a good restaurant, even though it involves no cooking. This perky, perfectly dressed endive salad was refreshing and crunchy and I loved the addition of apple and walnut. The dressing was both acidic and sweet and evenly distributed over the salad.
For main course we both had the moules a la creme with frites. The shellfish came as a hearty portion served in an earthenware bowl, these were also popular with my children, who nabbed a few. The creamy sauce tangy with mussels was scooped up with a spoon to the last drop.
For dessert we had the creme brulee served with peach sorbet and fresh mango crumble. Creamy, mellow, fruity, tangy and with a crunchy crumbly accompaniment, this was the perfect end to the meal.
The children both had the steak frites which, as you can see, was a generous portion. The steak was declared perfectly cooked. Yes – tomato ketchup came on the side.
Wines were available by the glass as well as by the bottle, which enabled us to try a couple of different ones.
The restaurant is in the basement of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and if you love wine you’ll enjoy the decor and ambience of being surrounded by many large and very large bottles of wine! They do open some of the larger bottles and you can order from them by the glass. My children enjoyed having a quick wander round the restaurant to find the largest bottle.
If you’ve watched the TV series about the hotel you’ll know that Movie legend Morgan Freeman is a regular guest and by coincidence he was also enjoying dinner in the restaurant the night we were there.
Excellent brasserie style food, an informal restaurant with good children’s options, a fantastic wine selection and a great value menu make this a terrific London option for families with well behaved children. I can’t promise Morgan Freeman mind you….
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WHERE JO GOES -CITY BREAKS WITH KIDS
Porto – Jardins do Palacio de Cristal/Porto- Food Tour/Porto City Highlights/New York/Oxford UK/London – Greenwich/HMS Belfast/British Library/O2 Arena/Royal Albert Hall/World’s Biggest Lego Store/Ham House (National Trust)/Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre/
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