Story Deli

Story Deli
pizza at Story Deli

We take pizza very seriously in our family and almost always prefer our pizza the way you’d find it in a restaurant in Naples:  good, Italian, wood oven-fired pizza with the freshest of ingredients and a nice, fluffy-ish crust from slow-fermented Italian dough.

I say almost always because there is an exception, and it’s the pizza from Story Deli. This pizza is made from 100% organic ingredients and in a sense redefines the very definition of pizza.  The owner (who is incredibly kind and warm, inviting you into is restaurant with the smile of an old friend) is so committed to being 100% organic that he doesn’t even put yeast in his pizza dough, hence the flat, crispy crust. It is beyond delicious.

The restaurant itself is basic, almost like an artist’s studio or loft space: there are wooden communal tables, high ceilings, white walls, a simple, open kitchen, and big bags of organic flour scattered around the room. The menu is hand-written on the back of cardboard, wine is served in simple water glasses, and there is nothing fancy about it. Just delicious food and a wonderfully kind staff. Perfect.

p.s. They are so lovely with children — the last time I came in, he asked my eldest to write down everyone’s order and then to do the math at the end of our meal to tally up the bill. There’s also a wooden train track in a box that he’ll bring out for younger children and they’re welcome to play on the floor by your table. So sweet!

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Maltby Street Market

Maltby Street Market
donuts from st. john bakery
We love visiting food markets with the kids and have always loved visiting Borough Market on the weekend. In the past couple years, Borough Market has become busier and busier and it can sometimes be overwhelming to walk through the large market with all the kids, especially as we are quite a big group.

A couple years ago a friend told me about Maltby Street, describing it as a smaller, more condensed version of Borough Market with stalls lined up on one small street making it much easier to navigate with kids. We loved discovering Maltby Street and have become regular visitors ever since. The kids love the doughnuts from St. John and the waffles from Waffle On. We also love the smoked salmon sandwiches from Hansen & Lydersen, but really everything is delicious. It’s best to visit with an empty stomach (and to get there early to avoid the crowds)!

And if you like antiques and architectural salvage, you should definitely pop into Lassco which is located on that same stretch of stalls.

 

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Roast Restaurant

Roast Restaurant
Roast Restaurant offers a unique bird’s eye view of the bustling Borough Market below as well as an up-close view of the towering Shard above. Diners can also see St. Paul’s Cathedral in the distance and (kids will love) the overground trains regularly passing by. A wonderful, iconic London experience… and I haven’t even mentioned the food!

young diners at Roast

Using the finest seasonal produce from British farmers and producers (many of the ingredients coming from the Borough Market’s very own stalls), the restaurant offers classic British cuisine that is reliably good. It’s also extremely kid-friendly with a ‘young diners’ menu, highchairs, and a colouring page and crayons. Bonus – kids eat free during halfterm school holidays!

Ruby Violet, handmade organic ice cream


A new ice cream parlour has opened up (in my neighbourhood! hooray!), and the ice cream really is the best in town. Ruby Violet in Tufnell Park might be located on a busy and not otherwise impressive street, but this charming little shop with its tiled floors and thoughtful decor, will win you over immediately. The ice cream and sorbets are all handmade on site using the finest natural and local ingredients. You’ll find such interesting flavours like Regent’s Park Honey, Cardamon and Lemon, Flintham Damson with Sour Cream, Liquorice with Blackcurrant Ripple, etc, and the flavours are so fresh and recognisable. You can also buy tubs of their ice cream to take away, and they also make ice cream cakes and other desserts for parties and events.  They’re open every day from 11-7, sunshine or no sunshine. (more…)

Byron for proper hamburgers

It’s not easy to find good hamburgers in London. Unless you go to Byron.

Byron is a proper hamburger joint, hoping to ‘do a simple thing, and do it properly’. They source good meat from Scotland, mince it fresh every day, and then cook it medium so it’s pink and juicy. They then place it in a soft, squishy bun with minimum fuss and fanfare, and ‘serve it with a smile’. I love that.  They also serve great milkshakes, good French fries and other sides, and have a kids menu.  Byron now has several locations across London, so check their site to see which one is nearest to you.

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River Café

The River Café hardly needs an introduction. This well-known restaurant is both a celebrity hang-out and a favourite brunch locale for London families.  The prices are high, but the food is so good it’s worth it.  I once read somewhere that the best Italian food in Europe can be found at the River Café — meaning even better than Italy itself. I’m sure that made the Italians angry… and perhaps it was a generous compliment, but the food is really that good.  The restaurant is located on the Thames and has a grassy courtyard separating it from the river. On a sunny day you can sit outside and let your kids run around while you finish your meal.  Otherwise, they have paper and crayons to keep your kids entertained inside.  Perfect for family brunch on the weekend. Just make sure to book well in advance.

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Rossopomodoro Pizza

Sometimes you just feel like eating pizza. So easy, so tasty, so casual… and kids always love it! Rossopomodoro is a Naples-based pizza chain with three locations in London (Chelsea, Covent Garden and Notting Hill). All their ingredients come from the Napolitan region of Campania — even the water used in their pizza dough is rumoured to come from Naples! Pretty impressive for a Pizza chain. They also have highchairs and welcome children — they’re Italian after all.

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Borough Market

The Borough Market is not for the crowd-fearing or for the buggy-pushing — its popularity is widespread and it gets crowded! But, if you’re a food lover (and who isn’t?), it is definitely worth visiting. It is London’s largest and most renowned food market with more than 130 food stalls and culinary experts. It has been around (in this very location) for more than 250 years and continues to get better with each passing year. This is where the chefs and well-known restaurateurs can be found on Saturday morning picking from the finest fish, meat, cheese, produce, etc.  Kids will love trying all the samples, checking out all the displays (my kids love the fish stalls!), and taking in the buzz of foodie talk and knowledge.  Just don’t take a buggy if you can avoid it — carry babies in a carrier. And if you can, go on a Thursday or a Friday — Saturdays are insane! Check their website for more info. (Image from Flickr) (more…)

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Konditor & Cook

I tease my husband that one of his requirements when picking a new place of employment is that there is a Konditor & Cook within walking distance. (There are 6 locations in London and my husband has worked near to 3 of them.) Their wonderful cakes and pastries are his (not so secret) indulgence and I can’t blame him — I am yet to taste something that K&C has to offer which doesn’t blow me away. Every cake, muffin, croissant is melt-in-the-mouth heaven.

Konditor & Cook was started by German-born Gerhard Jenne, who studied to be a ‘Konditor’ (pastry chef) in Germany before coming here and learning to be a ‘cook’ in London. Other than tasting good, Gerhard’s cakes look the part too and can be customised for any occasion (I love these mini-wedding cakes pictured). He has even written a book on how to decorate Wacky Cakes & Kooky Cookies. Everything the team bakes or cooks uses organic free-range eggs and natural butter, and if you need your whistle wetting further you can see their menu here. (more…)

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Melrose & Morgan

Two years ago our Christmas got canceled on Christmas Eve — well the trip we had planned to Switzerland did anyway. It was our first Christmas with a child and you know how important they are! We were devastated. I think the only thing that saved us was Melrose & Morgan, our local deli in Primrose Hill (where we lived at the time). We turned up at 12pm to a packed store of everyone collecting their orders and they thankfully managed to make us up one of their ‘Christmas’s in a box’. It honestly saved the day.

But Melrose & Morgan is not just for Christmas, their fantastic home-cooked meals are perfect to take home, heat up and make you look like a domestic goddess. Sadly my better-half isn’t easily fooled – Melrose & Morgan’s food is just that bit too delicious for him to believe it was made by me whilst I had 2 children hanging off my arms. (more…)

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The London High Street

popFollowing on from Emilie’s recent post about places in Paris to find chic clothes at less-than-chic prices I thought I’d let you know about some of my favourite spots on a typical London High Street. Now most Mums in London will know of these national treasures but if you are visiting London they are worth checking out.

I’m a huge fan of Swedish kids clothes shop P.OP (Polarn O Pyret) which sells playful and colourful kids clothes and a small selection of maternity wear. Think lots of stripes and lots of colour. They have 4 shops in and around London (Brent Cross, Westfield, House of Fraser (Oxford Street) and Kingston) but a further 10 or so stores around the rest of the UK.

Next up: Zara Home (no, not Zara Kids): A very small selection but I love their quilts and blankets for kids and they always have a tiny rail with really sweet sleep-wear/snuggly-wear. I have had some great finds there. (more…)

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Hope & Greenwood

DSC_0095I used to keep a picture in the front of my diary of an old-fashioned sweet shop. You know the kind: shelves stacked with glass jars brimming with brightly-coloured sweets. The Juliette Binoche in me always quite fancied being a ‘purveyor of splendid confectionery’. However these days there would be little point in me following this dream as Hope & Greenwood do it so perfectly.

They have stores in Dulwich & Covent Garden (which would be perfect if you happen to be taking a trip to Benjamin Pollocks as per my last post), but they are also sold in some pretty lovely other places: Liberty, Selfridges, Fortum & Mason (to name but a few) and of course you can buy them online from their site. I find the Miss Hope’s Jolly Mixture a very exciting treat and the Sugar free Gummy Bears a good one to ensure the children don’t bounce off the ceiling with too much sugar! (more…)

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Tate Modern

Matisse at TateI haven’t been to the Tate Modern since having kids and I think I had forgotten how cool it is! I also completely underestimated how much my kids would like it. Interestingly, I think kids are really attracted to the vibrant colors, the huge paintings, ‘bizarre’ objects, etc. In some ways, it’s the kind of art that kids can relate to — art that inspires discussion.

On weekends the Tate hosts family-friendly events and interactive kid zones.  Or you can pick up a family trail sketchbook to keep kids interacted as they tour the museum (available every day of the week).

The gift shop on the bottom floor is WAY cool, and they have a great section of chilren’s books and unique toys. The café on the 2nd floor is also kid-friendly, with highchairs, crayons, etc.  But… the most impressive thing is the view from the restaurant at the top which looks out over the river Thames and offers one of the best views in London. (Even if you don’t eat there, it’s worth going up just to see!) (more…)

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Brunch at The Wolseley

the wolseleyWhenever we have family in town visiting from America we always schedule a brunch at The Wolseley. Its location in Picadilly is perfect for tourists who want to do some sightseeing, and the grand building and beautiful setting never disappoint. Plus, if you’re a breakfast person, you’ll like the range of foods available — from the fancy (caviar omelette) to basic (crispy bacon roll), it’s all quite tasty.

Originally designed in 1921 as a prestigious car showroom, the marble flooring, grand pillars, archways and staircases make for a really impressive interior. And while the restaurant isn’t particularly kitted out for children, they do have highchairs to accommodate kids and will make sure you’re well looked after.

After brunch, you can take a stroll through Green Park, or walk down St. James’s Street to Buckingham Palace, The Mall and St. James Park for a fun little London outing.

Make sure you book in advance! (more…)

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Wahaca for kid-friendly Mexican

wahaca londonUp until recently, it was really hard to find good Mexican food in London. Then, over the past few years, a handful of small Mexican restaurants popped up across town. None of them, however, were particularly kid-friendly. And then came Wahaca.

Wahaca is a vibrant and buzzing restaurant serving freshly prepared, seasonal Mexican food.  The menu is great, the staff is friendly, and they are well-equipped to accomodate kids! (You should see their collection of brightly-coloured Stokke highchairs!)

There are three locations across London including one in Covent Garden. And they don’t take reservations, so you can pop in whenever you want (and the queue moves quickly, I promise!). (more…)

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