Search “where to take your m” on Google and, aside from searches on mistresses, measurements, and men on holiday, all of them are related to mums. Clearly the general public need help when it comes to showing their mum a good time, so it’s a good thing we’ve got a list of London restaurants that will please any mum, mother, mama or mom.
For mums who like ordering a new outfit on next-day delivery for any ‘occasion’
Your local DHL driver gets a family Christmas card. That’s how much your mum enjoys online shopping for things you’re not entirely sure she needs. And apparently your quiet dinner has now turned into the biggest event of the season since your uncle’s fourth wedding - and she’s even bought a new dress in a colour she keeps referring to as ‘passion pink’. Book dinner at Frenchie, where everything from the beautiful modern brasserie setting to their bacon and maple syrup scone starter will give her a night worthy of her new look. Or, you know, worthy of posting to make her Facebook friends jealous. The £30 set menu actually makes this Covent Garden spot surprisingly affordable and the banoffee and caramelised pecan pie should not be missed.
For mums who think Downton Abbey is the absolute shit
If your mum had to pick a ‘specialist subject’ on Mastermind it would either be TV adaptations of Austen novels, pivotal moments within Victoria and Albert’s relationship, or realistically, the entirety of Colin Firth’s filmography. Maggie Jones’s is a ridiculously charming, old school British restaurant in Kensington that’s full of vintage church pews, candlelight, and wildflowers in wicker baskets. In the best possible way, dinner here is like stepping back in time. From their blackboard of fresh game, to their signature fish pie and apple crumble, the food here is excellent. You should also know that they do one of the best roasts in London.
For mums who like punishing you for missing their call
Your mum phoned you last week and you forgot to call her back. Shame on you. She’s now taken to referring to you as ‘the stranger’ and dropping hints that this one missed phone call is clear evidence that you’re addicted to that spicy stuff she keeps hearing about on the news. Take her to elegant Fitzrovia spot Mere, where the six course, French-meets-South Pacific tasting menu will give you plenty of time to catch up. The food here is truly excellent, and yes, also pretty expensive. The full tasting menu will set you back over £70, but, hey, maybe next time you’ll call her back.
For mums who like saying “Alexa, play my party playlist”
Oh Gloria. Whoever she may be, she’s arguably the only person who’s as fun as your mum is after her third Aperol spritz. This Italian trattoria in Shoreditch is all about good times, big pizzas, boozy cocktails, and eating carbonara out of a giant wheel of pecorino. Basically, you bring your mum here to show her a good time - whether that’s for an equally boozy and eggy weekend brunch or a dinner where far too much pasta al tartufo and negronis are consumed, is up to you. Heads up, all this fun makes Gloria popular, so be sure to book ahead.
For mums who like big personalities
Restaurants can sometimes reflect the personalities of their diners, or vice versa. People who like the idea of natural things gravitate towards natural wine bars. In big, red-tableclothed restaurants that have been serving the same thing for 15 years, you’ll find lots of people who have been eating and wearing the same thing for 15 years. These are gross generalisations of course, but, by and large, they sort of stand up. Moro is a restaurant with big, in your face North African flavours. They’re loud but they’re considered. If your mum’s the sort who’d polish off a bottle of red and speak a bit louder than she intends to, then this is your place.
For mums who like staying in west London
Santa Maria has been a great place to eat since opening in Ealing in 2010. They’ve moved inwards since then. The pizza at their Chelsea branch is excellent and is sure to make any mum happy, as will the reasonably priced cocktail menu. It’s a very easygoing place that’s confident in what it’s doing, so mum won’t have to worry about a thing.
For mums who like good reputations
Sometimes you can’t beat saying a name of a place, person or thing to your mum just so they go “oooh I’ve heard good things about that”. You know you’re doing alright when that happens, and with Bocca Di Lupo, it’s a given. This classic Italian feels like it’s been part of the London scene for years and years, when actually it’s a little’un compared to some of London’s other establishment spots. Not that that’s relevant to what they do here. This is a place where your mum will be charmed by the maitre’d and be recommended (and served) a glass of wine before you’ve even said hello to anyone. She’s bound to like that, and she’s bound to like the pastas and Bocca’s truffled radish salad even more.
For mums who like things that they already know they like
Ottolenghi may seem a bit five to ten years ago if you’re some sort of food scene obsessive, but Ottolenghi is a failsafe if your mum is into healthy shit that also tastes good. They’re almost part of the furniture in London these days, but we prefer the Spitalfields branch - mostly because it has a wine bar a few doors down for when all else fails.
For mums who like the nicer things in life
The best places, we think, to take your mum are the ones that make the whole thing effortless. Not that it’s an effort to have a nice time with your mum (seriously, mum, that’s not what we meant), rather we meant that the best places are those that allow you to have a nice time and not worry about your choice of restaurant or the food or the wine. Luca is very good at doing this. They just know how to do things right. It’s an Italian restaurant done in a very British way. It’s classy but not overly showy. The food is superb, but it’s all fairly familiar. And the service is impeccable.
For mums who like good manners
There are some places that are basically just very nice. Places that your mum will walk into and say “isn’t this nice?” and when you walk out she’ll go “oh that was just so nice”. Rochelle at the ICA is very, very nice. It’s in a gallery which is - we’re not going to say it - and the room is bright, welcoming and the sort of place a few hours will fly by in. Food here is comforting but also classy. You’ll get cheesy potatoes, only the cheese will be melted reblochon and the potatoes freshly lifted. Mum will approve.
For mums who like going out in east London geographically but not experientially
Taking your mum out to somewhere between Cambridge Heath and Victoria Park is a bit of a risky move if she’s not down with that sort of thing. Thankfully Bistrotheque carries its too-cool-for-school warehouse conversion vibe with unaffected grace. That’s to say, it’s as classy as it is cool. The menu here is a modern European and British medley - a familiar thing nowadays, but it’s reliable and tasty. And even considering the fact that it’s located slap bang in the middle of an area renowned for people who take themselves very, very seriously, it, mercifully, doesn’t.
For mums who like a different kind of laundry
We hope you’re past the point of your mum washing your clothes, but this place is for all the years she did. And even if she didn’t, she deserves it anyway. The Westerns Laundry hype has calmed down a bit now, at least we think it has, and it’s a great spot to take your old dear. For starters it’s got a very interesting natural wine list. Also for starters, it’s got some cracking jamon croquettes. It’s mostly fishy sharing plates, so as long as your mum hasn’t got a problem with things from the sea, it’s happy days.
For mums who like a bit of spice in their life
This Peckham Thai has gained a great reputation for good reason, and is a big two fingers to everyone north of the river who forgets that there are lots and lots of good things down here in these parts. It’s perfect if your mum is into all things spice and everything nice. The food here isn’t your standard pad thai approach, it’s prices are very reasonable, and it’s got a really nice neighbourhood feel about it. Even better is that it’s two minutes from the overground so you can take Mum on a trip dahn saaf if you’re coming from up there or, if you are from down here, you can stay local.