As Mother's Day approaches, it's time to start thinking about how to celebrate the first lady in your life. Show her you care and treat her to lunch on 22 March. From picture-perfect patisserie under a tree canopy to starched white tablecloths in SW3, shellfish cruises across Paddington Basin and sky-high dining after some serious retail therapy — there’s a meal to spoil her.
The restaurant to really wow her: Spring
Ex-Vogue food writer Skye Gyngell's Somerset House restaurant is a delight, with its elegant produce-driven modern British/Italian menu in stunning surrounds. After all, a 19th century dining room set in the New Wing can't fail to impress. Make your choice from the daily changing a la carte menu, where dishes are hyper-seasonal and Gyngell's signature cookery style allows the carefully-sourced ingredients to shine. Previous dishes have included tortellini with sheep's milk ricotta, black pepper, pecorino and culatello salami; and fillet of beef with Jerusalem artichoke, grilled shiitake and red wine butter. With starters hovering around £20 and mains at £30ish (sides extra) this is definitely somewhere for celebrating. If money's tight, you could always guide mum towards the extremely reasonable daily set lunch at £31.50 for three courses. Quite the steal.
Spring, Somerset House, New Wing, Lancaster Place, WC2R 1LA
Take in the sights over tea and cake: B Bakery Covent Garden and Bus Tours
Play tourists for the day aboard Brigit's Bakery Bus, the mobile version of Covent Garden's much-Instagrammed B Bakery, and shout mum a luxurious themed afternoon tea while you soak up all the sights. The tea features a dizzying list of freshly prepared sweets and savouries; we like the sound of the pastrami burger with tomato salad and mustardy mayo, closely followed by the grapefruit meringue tart — plus the usual finger sandwiches and scones to accompany your choice of seven teas (prosecco and champagne is also available) from £57 per person.
Expect pretty, chintzy china, floral arrangements and an awful lot of pink as you wind your way past some of London's signature sights: stops include the Houses of Parliament, Marble Arch and Downing Street.
B Bakery Covent Garden and Bus Tours, 6-7 Chandos Place, WC2N 4HU
A lunchtime seafood cruise: London Shell Co
If you've yet to take a voyage on London Shell Co's Prince Regent, then we highly recommend you book immediately — Mother's Day is the ideal occasion. Setting off from Paddington Basin, the floating restaurant purrs along Regent's Canal while you eat superb seafood and enjoy delicious wines from white clothed tables as you take in the sights of Little Venice and peek at the animals as you chug past London Zoo.
Check the website for cruise days and timings (you’ll need to book) as a stationary service is also available (the permanently moored barge, The Grand Duchess, is adjacent if you prefer). Either way, you’ll dine on five courses of finely prepared fish: torched stonebass, blood orange, monks beard and smoked garlic anchovy sauce is currently floating our boat and at £50 all in (drinks extra) it's good value too.
London Shell Co, The Prince Regent, Sheldon Square, W2 6PY
The Restaurant to visit after you've shopped till you've dropped: Allegra
If you and your mum are planning a spot of retail therapy at Westfield together, there is an excellently restorative — and stylish — lunch to be had at The Stratford hotel's 7th floor restaurant and bar, Allegra. Since opening in late 2019, Allegra has impressed critics with its high end modern European cuisine from ex-Chiltern Firehouse chef Patrick Powell — dreaming up dishes like smoked eel pithivier with parsley, garlic and a chilli vinegar or whole roast hay aged duck with rhubarb compote, hazelnut and confit leg ragu with salt baked celeriac.
Throw in luxe Nordic interiors, a snazzy roof deck and some frankly phenomenal cocktails (the beetroot mezcal is to die for) and you've got all the ingredients for a fabulous Mother's Day lunch. The three course set lunch is only £35.
Allegra at The Stratford, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, 20 International Way, E20 1FD
Old school Italian glamour: Daphne's
Channel Princess Diana by heading to one of her favourite old haunts, lovely Daphne's in Chelsea. Here, seasonal, polished Italian country cooking has stood the test of time. Choose from traditional antipasti like gamberoni with chilli, garlic and parsley, melanzane alla parmigiana and burrata with datterini tomatoes and focaccia, then move on to duck ravioli with wild mushrooms or lobster spaghetti for primi, saving space for something from the grill. There's currently a tempting selection of dishes showcasing the prized Norcia black truffles.
It's SW3 and prices reflect the location with dishes around the mid teens for starters and £20-£35 thereafter. But the high level of cooking, top notch service and airy conservatory setting soften the blow a tad.
Daphne's, 112 Draycott Avenue, Chelsea, SW3 3AE
A pleasingly plant-based lunch: Redemption
Health-conscious mums will enjoy being treated to a virtuous lunch at Redemption where the entire menu is vegan, sugar-free, wheat-free and alcohol-free but, crucially, not fun-free. Tuck into super-nutritious Korean spicy bbq jackfruit with kimchi slaw in a charcoal brioche bun and chunky rosemary potatoes, or keep that halo intact with a roasted roots winter caesar and their popular banoffee pie, chased down with what is surely one of the best matcha lattes in town.
The mocktail game is strong, with adventurous and imaginative ingredients making up the list of spritzes, kombuchas and tonics. Décor at our favourite Notting Hill restaurant is natural and moody, with dark toned woods, lots of plants and twinkly lighting making it a good option for a casual and cruelty-free lunch stop that won't break the bank.
Redemption: Notting Hill, Shoreditch and Covent Garden
Treetop treats: Dominique Ansel's Treehouse
Cronut creator and all-round patisserie whiz kid Dominique Ansel has been drawing in the crowds with his bakery for some time now, so fans should run not walk to his newest venture, Dominique Ansel Treehouse, in Covent Garden. Here, you'll find a two-storey treehouse where you can dine on Dominique's exploration of all things pastry under an Instagram-worthy treetop canopy festooned with fairy lights and flowers, or head down the trunk to the first floor bakery and shop to take away some beautiful bakes for later.
Dining in you’ll find a menu of small or larger plates featuring every patisserie technique you can think of: chicken liver mousse mille feuille is a must try, as the camembert fondue with croissant crisps. The sharing bowl of wickedly decadent chocolate mousse and DIY toppings is a showstopper too. It's as Wonka-esque as you'd expect; sweet-toothed mums will love every minute of it.
Dominique Ansel's Treehouse, 24 Floral Street, Covent Garden, WC2E 9DP
For Michelin-loving mums: The Glasshouse
Taking a turn around Kew Gardens on 22 March? Once you've worked up an appetite, advance to neighbourhood restaurant The Glasshouse for a sophisticated yet laid-back lunch that any mum would surely love.
As the younger sibling of Wandsworth and Michelin-favourite Chez Bruce, The Glasshouse offers equally accomplished cooking and boasts a star of its own, with a diverse menu of globally-inspired dishes such as salmon sashimi with pickled rhubarb, ginger, white soy, pistachio and crème fraiche. Pumpkin and sweet potato empanadas with jalapeno dressing, avocado and lime are just one of the stunningly good meat-free options. Three courses can be yours at lunchtime for the reasonable price of £39.50, with a longer menu at dinner coming in at £57.50. The cheese board (requires a supplement) is painstakingly curated and something to behold too. Be sure to save room.
The Glasshouse, 14 Station Parade, Kew, TW9 3PZ
Chic French food: Provender
Wanstead-dwellers are particularly lucky to be blessed with the Gallic charms of Provender on their doorstep. This unpretentious, buzzy bistro ticks all the boxes for an affordably delicious Mother's Day lunch with the menu spanning all the big names from hand chopped tartare, a sparklingly good selection of charcuterie, classic escargots and steak frites up to more unusual items like chevre and black pepper popcorn or cod, prawn and scallop vol au vents. It's a sizeable menu but we have it on good authority that everything is excellent. There's not much over the £15 mark and the wine menu is equally as interesting and approachable.
Provender, 17 High Street, Wanstead, E11 2AA
The restaurant to cosy up in after a walk on the heath: 28 Church Row
A bracing stomp around Hampstead Heath is the perfect Sunday activity, and can only be improved on with a visit to 28 Church Row afterwards. Hampstead isn't known for its restaurants (it's very chainy) but this cute underground eatery is worth travelling for.
Set in the basement of a Georgian townhouse in one of NW3's prettiest and most historic streets, 28 Church Row is a welcoming cluster of cosy tables surrounding an open kitchen turning out excellent small plates of creative Mediterranean cooking with prices from £5-£15 per plate. The menu changes frequently, but we've previously enjoyed tender octopus with chickpeas, and some of the best pluma iberica we've eaten. Staff are knowledgeable and friendly and the atmosphere is warmly convivial; we're big fans.
28 Church Row, Hampstead, NW3 6UP.