Where To Take Your Mum For Dinner
Your mum has done a lot for you. Think of all those after-school activities and plays and sleepovers they’d take you to. Think of all the sacrifices they made to ensure that your childhood was as safe and enjoyable as possible. Mums are brilliant and deserve to be celebrated every day of their lives. That’s why I’ve written this little guide on where to take your mum for dinner in London when you want to treat her to some tasty plates in a pleasant ambience.
Sure, it’s the perfect guide to consult on Mother’s Day but it doesn’t have to be any sort of special occasion to treat the woman who made you to a lovely meal. You can cook her something from our collection of excellent recipes (humble brag) but you can also show her how much you mean to her by taking her to a restaurant that she’d love. Both are worthy options.
Now, I’m not claiming that I know your mother or what she likes (and I’m trying very hard not to make a joke, like, "I actually know your mum really well and know exactly what she likes… me") but I do know a thing or two about London’s restaurant scene and these are the most mum-friendly places that came to mind.
Here’s where you should take your mum for dinner and hope that she doesn’t mention the fact that you haven’t settled down and got married yet.
Specialising in moreish Moorish cuisine, Moro is very much an established part of the old guard of London’s dining scene, having kept its relevancy thanks to its consistently delicious food and thoughtful service. The menu is mainly comprised of small plates but it’d be rude not to treat your mum to one of the larger dishes as well. They’re awfully good. Ingredients are all seasonally minded – meaning that wood-roasted hake with monk’s beard you had the last time might not be available on your next visit – but nearly everything is given a slight Maghreb edge. Expect labneh aplenty, and a dinner to remember.
You don’t have to buy your mother an expensive meal to show her how much she means to you. But it wouldn’t do any harm now, would it? Luca is one of the pricier Italian restaurants in London but the reason that the menu prices are high is that the standard of quality is even higher. Seasonal British is given a proper Italian treatment as plates of Hebridean lamb come served with beautifully brackish bagna càuda. I’d recommend committing fully to the bit and going for a selection of dishes from the antipasti, primi, and secondi. You won’t go home hungry. But you will go home extremely satisfied.
Located smack-bang in the middle of Fitzrovia, Avinash Shashidhara’s Pahli Hill is a restaurant that serves refined regional Indian eats in a refreshingly casual setting. Avinash is an alum of The River Café and his proficiency with Italian techniques can still be felt in plates like the osso buco-ish Chettinad-style veal shin; however, it’s his more homestyle dishes that make his restaurant so special. The food at Pahli Hill is comfortingly familiar, yet still utterly unique, and it should definitely be on your shortlist of locations to take your mum on Mother’s Day.
Holborn Dining Room
Holborn Dining Room is an extremely nice place to eat. The ambience is nice. The food is nice. The service is nice. If you take your mother here, she will very likely say, “oh, isn’t this all so nice?” at one point during the meal. The food is classic British with few deviations and the pies are rightfully the stuff of legend. This is a very good option for those that aren’t keen on restaurants where the music is so loud you can’t hear yourself think or equally-cacophonous flavours that pride themselves on being “punchy”. Understated elegance is what HDR is all about. Come here if that’s what you’re after.
Asma Khan is an incredible champion of women’s rights in the workplace, so what better way could there be to celebrate the most important woman in your life than with a meal at Asma’s Covent Garden-based restaurant? The all-woman kitchen at Darjeeling Express produces some of the best Indian cooking in the city and the £55 set menu is an absolute bargain considering just how good it is. The tamatar gosht (slow-cooked lamb) is as tender as it gets. Paul Rudd is also a big fan, so if it’s good enough for a Hollywood A-lister – it’s good enough for your mum.
Michelin-starred restaurants aren’t for everyone but if you think your mother would enjoy a spot of fine dining then Spring is a rather good option to experience a bit of luxury. Skye Gyngell’s restaurant occupies a 19th-century drawing room in Somerset House that makes you feel at ease the moment you step through the door. That ease is only furthered by the delicious produce-driven cooking which comes out of the pass. The three-course set lunch is a bargain at just £33.
If your mum isn’t really into her wine then you might want to give this one a miss. Honestly. Just have a quick scroll and move on to the next entry in this list instead. The food here is very good but it’s the combination of humble, honestly French-inflected cooking with a lengthy wine list that makes Noble Rot such a very special restaurant. Even if all you know about wine is that you like it white and cold, that should be enough information for the somms to direct you to something that will knock your socks off. It’s difficult to have a bad time here.
I dread to think how many bowls of pasta my mum made for me and my brother growing up. It’s definitely in the thousands. If you, like me, feel like paying your mum back for all those years of penne and tuna, then you might want to get yourself a booking at Legare. This Tower Bridge restaurant is a straight-to-the-point Italian that serves excellent pasta and primi in an incredibly cool and relaxed setting. You won’t find fiascos hanging from the ceiling here but you will find a wonderfully saline spaghetti alla chitarra that tastes and smells like the ocean along with mortadella croquettes that underline how everything tastes better once it’s deep-fried. A must-visit.
Good seafood restaurants can be deceptively hard to find in London. Far too many rely on gimmicks and sauces or simply forget the fact that the fish itself is what should be the star of the show. Parsons is somewhere that knows exactly how much respect to give its gilled produce, and exactly how to cook it, too. The interior is perfect for catching up with a loved one on a sunny day and it’s hard not to leave this restaurant charmed, walking into the sunlight with a smile plastered across your face and the bounty of the ocean in your stomach.
The Quality Chop House
A classic. There’s no other word to describe The Quality Chop House, really. The chops are (obviously) good, as is the rest of the aged meat on offer. I wouldn’t come here if your mum is a vegetarian but if she’s inclined to big red wines and a spot of sirloin, she will thank you heartily for introducing her to one of London’s most consistently delicious dining institutions.