When you go out for lunch or dinner with small children in tow, it’s always a bit of a risk. Will they like the food? Will they behave themselves? Will you get hacky looks from your fellow diners for the noise and mess your offspring are creating.
We tend to stick to the tried and tested places in our area like Pizza Express and Carluccios, along with the fab independent cafes on our local avenue. However I was meeting a working friend for lunch in Hammersmith and decided to be brave and take Arlo with me.
We got a table at Villagio, a modern Italian restaurant with four branches in and around London. I don’t normally write a lot of restaurant reviews but the experience was so positive I really wanted to share it with you, in case you’re looking for new places to try out with your kids.
Apologies for no pictures of the food, but I didn’t have a camera with me as I wasn’t intending on writing about it.
The Hammersmith branch is a minute’s walk from the tube station and is roomy and bright inside. Decked out like most modern Italians – smart and neutral with the occasional flash of colour with the art on the walls, funky lighting and cushions.
The smart office workers of Hammersmith having a big group lunch, young professionals escaping for a decent bite to eat. Not many yummy mummies here, but we didn’t feel out of place and it wasn’t as noisy as places in Ealing and Chiswick for this very reason!
We were the first customers for the lunch service and were swiftly given menus and offered drinks and bread. Arlo was made very welcome and given crayons and his own menu to colour in. The staff were absolutely lovely with him and didn’t flinch when he started running around, hurling their lovely velvet cushions on the floor.
They even bought him out a balloon on a stick to play with halfway through the meal which was just the best distraction and meant I could actually have a meaningful conversation with my friend.
There was a good mixture of pasta, pizza, risotto, salads, meat and fish on the menu – everything you’d expect, nothing groundbreaking but something for everyone.
I opted for salmon and cod fishcakes which were served with a portion of steamed spinach, tomato chutney and fries. At £9.80 this was great value as there was a decent amount of food on my plate. The quality was fantastic – large flakes of fish in the fishcake made it look and taste freshly prepared. The spinach was full of flavour and the tomato chutney was a great accompaniment. The fries were delicious.
The children’s menu was simple but covered the usual territory:
Penne in tomato sauce
Fish fingers and chips
Pizza with cheese and tomato sauce
One scoop of ice cream, of your choice
Chocolate, strawberry, vanilla
Priced at £3.95 I think this is extremely good value. Arlo opted for fish fingers and chips and he too got a really decent portion. The quality of the fish fingers was brilliant – proper flakes of cod fillet. I guess my only quibble was there was no salad or veg served with it.
The best surprise was being told at the end of the meal that they are currently running a promotion where kids eat free!
A smart modern Italian who welcome small children with open arms and serve fresh and extremely decent grub. Definitely add this one to your list of child-friendly places in London to have lunch or dinner.
206-208 Hammersmith Road, London, W6 7DH
0208 741 1317