Mother's Day Restaurants
What better way to show your Mama how much you love her than with a nice meal at a posh restaurant? We've selected ten of the best restaurants in town. Some are offering special deals for Mother's Day, others are simply the kind of place we love to take our mums.
Take London's most temperamental and talented chef, add the city's most elegant location and finish it off with some fantastic food and sublime service. Gordon Ramsay's marriage with Claridge's has proved to be a match made in gourmet heaven. The grand Art Deco dining room provides the perfect setting in which to savour the fabulous flavours of London's only triple Michelin-starred chef. Where Claridge's led, the rest of London's traditional hotel dining rooms have followed, but nobody has been able to match this superb British-themed menu for originality, intelligence and sheer gastronomic genius.
This Venetian restaurant gives you the chance to whisk your mum away to Italy without even leaving London. Polpo in Beak Street is based on the bacari - or wine bars, especially good for a glass of Prosecco - frequently found in the city famous for its gondolas and canals. And the food isn't the only Italian connection here - the building was once home to the Venetian painter Canaletto and there's a blue plaque commemorating his stay here from 1749 to 1751. Polpo's owner Russell Norman draws on years of experience at Caprice Holdings (where he was operations director) and as general manager of Zuma to give his first solo venture an air of sophisticated charm. He has done well to draw on the talents of head chef Tom Oldroyd (previously at Alastair Little and Bocca Di Lupo) whose Italian menu is typical of the type you'd find in the bacari of Venice offering small plates and traditional cicheti (read salt cod, mariated sardines and swordfish carpaccio), northern Italian wines as well as the classic Italian dishes. The attractive interior of exposed brickwork gives this early eighteenth century building a modern appeal, finished off with a tin ceiling above and Victorian tiled floor under foot.
Awarded its first Michelin star in 2010, Galvin at Windows is a very special place to take your mum if you want to spoil her on Mother's Day. The Hilton's 28th-floor restaurant is famous for its views, with three floor to ceiling windows opening up the vista over Hyde Park and Park Lane. The restuarant is run by Chris Galvin who first found fame with a wonderful bistro in Baker Street, Galvin Bistrot de Luxe, where he and younger brother Jeff serve a similar menu of traditional French cuisine (though with fewer gourmet flourishes). At the Park Lane restaurant the food is done with more finesse, 'haute bourgeois cuisine' as Chris likes to call it, with dishes like roasted partridge and fillet of sea bream presented with a flourish. But of course, this is not a restaurant where you're only paying for the food: the view is as spectacular as you would expect, making this a wonderful place to take mum on a special occasion. Just be careful about which table you are booking, because there are a couple of tables in the middle where the only view you'll get is of your fellow diners.
If your mum is a fan of Cirque du Soleil and funky design Circus is the ideal place to book for her Mother's Day dinner. This hip eaterie is more than a restaurant, you get contortionists with your main course and aerial acrobatics while you're having coffee. Enter through the discrete door - it's a bit tricky to find (hint: it's to the left of the glass door next to the Cross Keys) - and walk down a black corridor into the main dining room where the long top table has steps at either end. This provides the 'stage' for the live entertainment which comes in short, dramatic bursts throughout the evening. If this all sounds a bit surreal, it's mean to be; the style is based on the Surrealist art movement with shell chandeliers and a dancer's pole in the lounge. The menu of Pan-American dishes includes choices of soft shell crab with coriander and corn salsa, red and golden beet salad with ricotta and hazelnuts, or smoked chipotle and tamarind chicken wings for starters. For main courses you can move on to baby-back ribs with barbecue sauce or Mexican spice rubbed pork tenderloin. Desserts are all-American favourites like churros, coconut cream pie and sweet tamales. But it's the entertainment which really is the unique selling point of Circus and with the acts changing each night you'll just have to go there to find out what's in store.
When Arbutus opened in 2006, it took Soho dining in a new direction. It's gleamingly modern take on Anglo-Med peasant fare was unusual, but not as unusual as the simple, neutral, understated design, which made it an airy exception to the chintzy Soho routine. Anthony Demetre's kitchen has gone from strength to strength, winning a Michelin star and Time Out's Best Restaurant award. Mains are mostly seasonal, simple meat-and-two-veg affairs, while the kitchen really shows off on starters like the signature braised pig's head, or the fantastic squid and mackerel burger. Prices have remained quite bizarrely low for a restaurant of this quality, and the lunch and pre-theatre menus are the best value in the West End.
Treat mum to lunch or dinner at The Gun on Mother's Day and she'll get a present too in the form of homemade chocolates to take home. This delightful Thames-side Victorian gastro pub run by Tom and Ed Martin was gutted by a fire a few years back, so the interior has all been re-done with careful attention to period detail. Nelson himself was reputedly a patron in the pub's 18th century incarnation. If the weather's fine eat outside on the dockside terrace looking out across the Thames. For Sunday lunch you can treat mum to a light, soothing, spiced Bloody Mary soup, eggs Benedict, or a hearty roast rib of beef replete with Yorkshire puds and all the trimmings. Alternatively, try their fish selection which is particularly recommended - with all the fish being bought fresh from Billingsgate Market every morning. Everything is immaculately prepared and matches up to food found at far more expensive establishments. It might be out on a limb in Docklands, but the food and convivial atmosphere is excuse enough to take a trip out on the DLR.
The much loved Momo's from Mourad 'Momo' Mazouz's has been going for over a decade but it's still the best in town, serving absolutely superb, authentic North African cuisine in a convivial atmosphere. Momo's is really three in one - there's the restuarant proper, the Mo Cafe next door and Kemia Bar downstairs - all within one stretch of Heddon Street which, with its pedestrianised paving, includes a large terrace area for outdoor eating in warmer months. So whether you're looking for a substantial three course meal on Mother's Day, something more casual, or a late night cocktail bar, Momo is the place to go - and it's very central too. The main courses take a simple tagine and turn it into something special, but be warned portions are substantial and filling so if you're going for the full three courses, be careful not to gorge yourselves on the tempting starters. At the Mo Cafe mint tea is served sweet and shisha pipes are on offer but there's also a wonderful Moroccan Souk atmosphere and lunchtime is particularly laid back. Staff and service are first rate, and the food is sublime.
Harry Morgan31 St John's Wood High Street, London, NW8 7NH
This superlative kosher deli and restaurant will have more than its share of mummy's boys at the tables this Sunday - it is where a lot of North London ladies would pick if their children were dutiful enough to say "You decide". A local institution, Harry Morgan's is justly famed for its superb salt beef and other kosher delicacies, and enjoys a buzzy, gossipy atmosphere with crowds of locals at the tables and friendly staff who greet customers by name. With a deli counter to rival any in New York City and a relaxed atmosphere, this place is a haven for lovers of Heimishe food. Harry's is in a lovely corner of St John's Wood as well, perfect for a quiet stroll in Regent's Park after lunch or a drink in a local pub. The friendly staff and superior food mean this place will please even the most exacting of mums.
The best part about dining at the Bingham, a tastefully tarted up riverside townhouse-turned-boutique hotel in Richmond, is its proximity to the water. With a covered, heated balcony overlooking the Thames, separated by carefully manicured gardens, it's a chic and scenic spot to take mum and make her feel special. Shay Cooper has just been rewarded for his talents in the kitchen with a Michelin star and brings more than 15 years experience to the table including stints at Folga Polizzi's Hotel Endsleigh and at the Michelin-starred Juniper in Altrincham. If your mum is a fan of St John she'll love the modern British menu with its choices of slow cooked suckling pig and glazed veal cheek. Mains of organic spelt with poached duck egg, and roast monkfish are also among the options and on Sundays a traditional roast is served.
Tucked away in the back streets of Kensington, Launceston Place is a real hidden gem in our book and, selfishly, we're glad it's been overlooked by the Michelin star people - that way it remains 'hidden' enough for us to get a table. Head chef Tristan Welch is highly rated by his peers and previously ran the kitchen at the two Michelin starred Petrus. He's ably assisted by a strong team which includes winner of Master Chef the Professionals, Steve Groves who together create a seasonally changing menu based on traditional British cuisine. Amusing sounding dishes include drunken quail - the bird becoming inebriated after being poached in brandy - served in flamboyant style, flambeed at the table. As you'd expect from a restaurant of this quality only fresh ingredients are used. Less obvious is the way in which those ingredients are combined. Ever thought of thyme sorbet in white wine for dessert? Here you'll be tempted to try it. Experimental mains include interesting sounding dishes like nettle soup and beef cobbler with Lincolnshire Poacher cheddar. Can't decide what to have? Opt for the six course tasting menu and you'll get to sample a bit of everything. West London mums taken here for a long, lazy lunch can congratulate themselves on bringing up their children with such good taste.
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