It was a day of lunching sophistication. Not even an American (me) could damper that. We headed over to Hotel du Vin, Cannizaro House. Hotel du Vin is a chain of luxury boutique hotels scattered throughout London. Olly's family lives in Wimbledon so we walked over to Cannizaro Park, a massive park that is amazing for kids to run around in (did I mention it is GRASS and NOT concrete?!), feed the ducks, look at flowers and see a mini aviary of birds. On these grounds sits the large mansion-hotel that has a windowed bistro that sits on the park grounds. Before we had lunch, we walked around, fed the ducks and tried in vain to tire out Jenson. Once we walked into the restaurant, I noticed something immediately. There were no kids except for Jenson and my 7-year-old-niece...
How disruptive will my kids be?
A bit disruptive. The atmosphere is a bit more sophisticated. Sophistication and toddler don't typically belong in the same sentence. My 7-year-old niece was completely fine here, but she's definitely more mature than most high schoolers. Or maybe it's just her accent that gives her airs. Regardless, if your child is high energy and rambunctious, this is not the spot for you. Jenson started to scope the scene a bit, which involved him going up table-side to a lot of older British ladies and he did not receive the hero's welcome he thought he'd receive. What can I say....it's a tougher crowd over there. I encourage families with wee ones to go dayside as I imagine the dinner hour is best left for the older set.
Can I bring a stroller into the restaurant?
No. It's just not that kind of a place. Even though it is rather spacious, you get the feeling like you need to/should fold down the stroller before you head in. Being that the Brits are masters of passiveness, I'm sure you could mosey on in with your stroller if your baby was sleeping and could finagle a spot that was out of the way....and noone would say boo. But there would be a high chance someone is muttering under their breath about your, "bloody stroller." The day we went it was not that busy, so if my child was sleeping in the stroller, I would've had no qualms about asking the waitstaff if we could keep it open. And since it's part of a hotel, I am sure the staff would've obliged.
Does the restaurant cater to kids in any way?
No. But then again you are on a massive park and it's the perfect place to tell your fidgeting preschooler to go run around outside and you'll be on the other side of the windows should they need anything. They do have a kid menu, which I find the UK does a much better job of than the US. Think mac and cheese out....bangers and mash in. The kid food tends to be less gimmicky across the pond which I find refreshing.
How early does the restaurant start serving dinner?
Since it's part of a hotel, you can pretty much get food all day. Dinner starts at 6PM. Afternoon tea starts at 2:30. All the Americans are going...huh? Think of it like a late lunch or a hearty snack. And breakfast starts at 8AM.
Are there food options for allergic kids?
Not specifically. But again, it's a hotel so they are there to serve.
Why? This place is picturesque. The window enclosures are amazing and it's the perfect place to let your kids run wild outside. But the actual dining area is nice and even though it's spacious, it's not one of those places where you feel comfortable letting your kids roam or feel OK should they have a meltdown. Now, the bonus is that if either of those things happen, you have a gorgeous park just steps away from where you are dining. Or even better, nab a table outside, order a pitcher of Pimm's and watch your kids chase the ducks.