The scene of the first date with my husband, Chez Bob is a nostalgic hangout for me. Now, a few years on, I returned to see what this old favourite could offer myhungry toddler Harry and me.
On a sunny Wednesdayat 12.30pm the outdoor seating space wasbuzzing with late risers seeking treats andyummy mummies hunting for somethingfor their little ones.
As we entered, we were greeted withbig smiles, crayons, colouring pads and menus –all very welcome as the hungrylittle man was in definite need of a distraction. I ordered Little Bob’s Mac ‘n’Cheese for Harry, which was served withfries and vegetables. For the adults, it was grilled halloumi and vegetableskewers and edamame to start, followedby the ‘sunshine brunch’, buttermilkstacked pancakes and the ‘rockin healthnut salad’.
Harry’s mac ‘n’ cheese arrived swiftly,together with the starters (any parentknows that timing is key when dining outwith toddlers). He dived straight into hiscrispy and oh-so-cheesy lunch and wasas happy as can be for the remainder of the meal. The starters were nothing short of fabulous – spicy, moreish edamameand piping hot, flavoursome halloumi.
Our lovely waiter was wonderfullyattentive without being pushy, checkingin at the right times to make sureeverything was to our liking.The mains didn’t fail to impress.
Creamy, milky pancakes stacked high, an egg dish full of interesting flavour combinations and the salad jam-packedwith colour and texture –a treat for a health nut such as myself.Polishing off the meal in true ChezBob style, we enjoyed piping hot, tastycoffees, while the little man went for ababyccino, which was as it should be.
A delicious lunch, a relaxed buzzy atmosphere and welcoming, attentiveservice. A great spot for any meal, andI’m particularly pleased to report that it isevery bit as suitable for children as it is for adults
by Stacey Jaffe
205–207 Haverstock Hill, Belsize Park, London NW3 4QG
T: 020 7435 4925 W: chezbob.biz
New Place In Town
Regular followers of this page will know that I love my food and am pretty adventurous. The only thing I won’t eat is a Brussels sprout, and I’m pretty sure that harks back to being force-fed them was a child (or so it seemed at the time). However, I’ve never been a fan of Indian food and have largely avoided the stuff, gladly waving my husband off as he happily trots along to another boys’ night at Cannons Tandoori. But I’ve been hearing great things about a new modern Indian tapas restaurant called Bonoo in Childs Hill. I figured I could handle tapas in any form, so off we went last Sunday, with hubby grumbling that it wasn’t a ‘proper’ Indian.
How wrong he was. An Indian restaurant is a non meateater’s dream and even the carnivore that I am was drawn to the veggie dishes. Somosa Chaat (samosas to you and me) are fabulous puffed pastry parcels filled with gently spiced veg and served with chickpeas, yogurts and chutneys; Bringel Crispy are lightly fried and slightly spicy aubergine rounds served with yet more chutney and Gol Gappa are puffed mini puri filled with chickpeas and potato (pictured).
Bhindi do Pyaza – okra with onions and chillies – is a great dish and Sweetcorn Masala is a sweet and warming treat. There are no fewer than nine vegetarian curries, although we went for the Lamb Tikka Pasanda with cinnamon, almond and saffon, and the Murgh Tikka Jalfrezi (chicken). The garlic and coriander naan was ordered ostensibly to mop up all the sauces, but it was so delicious on its own that we’d long polished it off by then.
Owner Mina leads a warm and friendly team in his contemporary, sleekly designed restaurant, which has flashes of colour here and there in the cushions (placed by his wife) and the stunning wall murals painted by his artistic daughter. And the name Bonoo?
Ask him the origin yourself – he loves to tell the story.
675 Finchley Road, London NW2 2JL
T: 020 7794 8899
On the side
Peyotito is a new, sophisticated, modern Mexican restaurant in Notting Hill. It’s a sleek hideaway of contemporary furniture and exposed brick under retractable skylights (we live in hope). It’s vibrant and fresh, and late at night the lights are dimmed and the DJ decks bring the ‘Peyotito party’ to life. The Hungry Housewife recommends the Tostada de Atun – yellowfin tuna, salsa macha and guacamole purée.
AL FRESCO PLEASURES
Eating outdoors is one of life’s greatest simple pleasures. One of my favourite al fresco haunts is the little garden at Tootoomoo Crouch End, where you can enjoy first-class pan-Asian cuisine with fabulous cocktails. York and Albany’s summer wine terrace is another hidden gem. Tucked away in the secret courtyard guests can wine, dine and unwind in the sun trap under a leafy canopy by day and by candlelight at night.
The iconic Bluebird restaurant in Chelsea is having a glamorous head-to-toe makeover and will reopen on 22 September. The new look celebrates the building’s history as the first garage of the Bluebird Motor Company in 1923. The atrium’s original steel frame will be a bold red to accentuate its engineering heritage, while the dining room will be softened with trees, plants and flowers. A central illuminated bar will allow guests to see and be seen. There will also be new menus inspired by the best of modern European cooking, with many sharing dishes to encourage a sociable and buzzy vibe.
HONG KONG FLAVOURS
Cha Chaan Teng, a new Hong Kong inspired restaurant in Holborn, is offering 50 percent off food until 31 August to celebrate its official opening. Bringing together all the flavours of Hong Kong, Cha Chaan Teng is inspired by the hugely popular 1950s cha chaan tang cafés that offer Chinese comfort food infused with western influences. Renowned TV chef and creator of School of Wok Jeremy Pang is responsible for the food, while Soul Shakers create cocktails inspired by Eastern tea culture. The offer is only available through email bookings via email@example.com.