London lifestyle & travels with kids and babies
From conveyor belt sushi London to fine dining with kids, here’s a guide with our favourite sushi bars and restaurants, bottomless prosecco brunches, easy dinners and Michelin star inventive cuisine. It can’t be a coincidence that my cravings in the first pregnancy were mostly sushi. Ever since a toddler, R was so fond of sushi that even featured on BBC Fussy Eaters beating a grown up at rolls and miso soups!
1.Sticks N Sushi. Our favourite easy gourmet option, Danish Japanese chain with stylished Scandinavian vibes and carefully sourced ingredients.
We go regularly to the one in Covent Garden, Soho and Victoria with the kids, and closer to the office with friends and business partners in the Wharf. More recently opened there’s also one in Kings road, Chelsea – very handy especially after National Army Museum outings. I personally love the tuna tartar, the ebi bites (shrimps tempura), hotate kataifi (hairy scallops with alioli), the salmon menu and the inventive rolls. The kids adore the salmon sushi boxes, colouring kits, chocolate fish and even small branded umbrellas for aficionados like us ! Sticks and sushi with kids is ultimately our most regular winner!
2. Yazu sushi by lively Shepherd Market, Mayfair, a cosy conveyor belt and excellent sushi bar Kaiten style. I love the seared salmon nigiri with truffle, the kids adore the miso soups and salmon rolls. Japanese chef and team are welcoming, do stop by for a bite in here, there’s lots to suit from absolute beginner to a sushi connoisseur.
3. Yo sushi, our son’s favourite conveyor belt sushi London. The High Street Kensington and Harvey Nics are closed sadly, so we go occasionally to the one behind Bond street, there’s a cosy courtyard outdoors or Selfridges if one feels brave enough for Oxford street crowds.
4. Roka for best brunches, including bottomless proseco. My favourite Roka with kids is the one in Aldwich, but then Roka Charlotte street and its cool Shochu Lounge used to be our regular hangout place before kids, whilst Roka Canary Wharf is my regular business lunch treat.
The brunch is a exceptional treat, from bubbles flowing to a procession of 10 amazing dishes with sashimis, edamame beans, rolls, dumplings, salmon teriyaki, tempura and and a gorgeous dessert platter.
5. Chotto Matte, Soho. One of my favourite evening sushi places that probaby doesnt spring to mind as kids friendly , but I promise it caters to perfection for the young clientele, from highchairs, to friendly personnel. My 4 years old fell in love with their downstairs restrooms, dragons on the walls and food. One of the very best of Nikkei (Japanese – Peruvian) cuisine, with bold eye-catching colours and mouth-watering dishes.
We spent 2 delightful hours in here, my son indulging on edamame beans, calamari, salmon sashimi and me on ceviche and salads.
6. Zuma needs little introduction – an institution with outstanding food as well as glam and fun social scene.The 7 years old loves sitting by the robata grill and viewing the open kitchen as much as he enjoys gulping down their sushis and Buddha shaped delicate chocolate cakes.
For kids it’s also fun to observe the crowd on an early Saturday night from 2nd level and eventually run around (much more feasible on this floor than the ground one!).
8.Akira @ Japan House, Kensington – not sure if the food or restrooms mesmerised us more in here!
The lunch boxes were just amazing, impeccable aesthetics aside, the flavours are divine.
We are delighted to have Japan House in our hood, presenting the very best of Japanese art, design, gastronomy, innovation, and technology. The restrooms (you must have guessed!) come as one might expect straight with Japan high tech, so the 5 years old and I amused ourselves together testing different functions! Too cool, too hilarious and probably too much detail for this post!
9.Sushi Samba – Covent Garden opened late 2018 and it’s the perfect stop after a West end show (in our case the Peacock Theatre right after the Snowman) or family celebration lunch (January 1st 2019 !) . The location is brilliant, just above Covent Market, the décor is exuberantly tropical and the food and cocktails superb.
The 5 years old and I indulged on repeated occasions in tempura green beans with black truffle aioli, I love the sharp freshness of the tuna ceviche with pomegranates, maiz and wasabi peas and the seabass sashimi on the Himalayan salt block is just divine.
10. Ivy Asia Mayfair – a treat for all senses, perfect to celebrate the Chinese New Year, a birthday or the weekend. Forget about subtle colours or bland lines, indulge into pink blossoms, statues and mosaics, big artworks and cherry trees, luminous green agate flooring and a super ceiling.
The cuisine and dishes are all keeping up with the décor: the popcorn shrimp with spicy creamy sauce has a super light, crispy batter; the kids raved about the sushi; the service was warm and welcoming; there is also a sushi counter and bar and fab cocktails – we will be back!
11.Maze Grill – Gordon Ramsay needs little introduction. Maze Grill Park Walk also needs liitle introduction with our Chelsea friends – rare breed steaks and impeccable sushi in a casual chic setting with exposed bricks and filled with contemporary cool art.
We were invited recently for a bottomless brunch – exquisite options sushi and sahimi, versions of avocado done at perfection and a great prosecco (Fiol) flowing. We will be back with more friends in tow soon !
Sake no Hana, Mayfair. An old favourite of ours in our old Mayfair hood opened in 2008, Sake no Hana charmed us over the years but sadly closed permanently in October 2021. With kids we used to go for lunches by the bar, the food was as yum and stylished, hats off to Michelin-starred chef Hideki Hiwatashi. The boys loved the escalators and interiors designed by Kengo Kuma as well as seeing the sushi prepared just in front of them.
If you are mising Sake No Hana friendly team and innovative dishes, one could head to their former group Hakkasan in Mayfair, Fitzrovia or Yauatcha Soho – I celebrated recently the Lunar New Years with the 8 years old and he liked the ambiance and testing the dim sum menu celebrating Cantonese cuisine.
12 & 13. Kaia at The Ned is not just for members or bankers! The Asian-Pacific long bar is awesome for family with older kids or book a table if the bar seating is challenging with younger kids; the space is a sight to behold and the food is awesome: from poke bowls, to tuna tataki, rolls and popcon shrimps. It is very busy though, best we reckon for late lunch during the week-ends or early dinners. Or if you are after a conveyor belt sushi lunch in the City, cosy but still delicious, head to Kurumaya, a traditional restaurant and tatami dining experience we have been indulging for 15 years !
14. Aqua Kyoto makes a wonderful early dinner for birthday celebrations and summer and sunny days are best to make the most of the glorious rooftop above Regents Street.
15. Sachi by Belgravia’s trendy pedestrian Motcomb street; the terrace is fantastic on sunny days, whilst the lower ground floor of Pantechnicon (where the restaurant is located) is filled with Japanese minimalism: open-plan dining, tropical creepers draped around internal beans and ceiling fittings; one can choose from central tables or private booth or at the sushi counter.
Sachi translates to happiness in Japanese, and here’s to confirm we were all thrilled: me with my £25 set lunch menu : miso soup, hamachi salad with shiso and tomato ponzu and the sushi moriawase; the kids with maki rolls with trout; enoki mushroom tempura; smoked edamame.
The chefs are former Roka, Nobu and Zuma; the ingredients are sourced from independent producers in the UK, the trout organically reared in Scotland, the greens come from Sussex. The chef selection was fabulously fresh and varied: bright pink masu (trout), blood-red otoro (fatty tuna belly) and suzuki (sea bass). The service was sweet and the table setting impeccable; we will be back, this is a hidden gem for sushi fanatics like us.