Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Parents' Paradise; Shining Example: City Types Wanting to Run Their Dream Restaurant Should Go to Lamberts First

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Parents' Paradise; Shining Example: City Types Wanting to Run Their Dream Restaurant Should Go to Lamberts First

Article excerpt

Byline: CHRIS BLACKHURST

Lamberts

Station Parade, Balham High Road, SW12 (0208 675 2233, www.lambertsrestaurant.com) A meal for two, with wine, about ?80 Tap water service: only tap water

THOSE with small children will know the things that irritate in restaurants. Likewise, those without will be all too aware how other people's children can ruin a meal.

At Lamberts, they know how to please both children and their parents. They seem to have thought of everything.

The children, aged three and one, were sat at one end of the table, not in the middle, so they could get out easily; the high chair was ready and waiting; glasses and cutlery were positioned well away from them; they had wooden cutlery; they were given puzzles and pencils, and they could fetch toys and books from a box by the door. Their food came quickly.

That's not to say Lamberts is like a branch of Giraffe or Nando's. It's a very grown-up restaurant, a superb one, that knows how to make children and their parents feel at home. The place was packed and only about a third of the parties contained children.

There was no question of the kids running riot or of the restaurant resembling a noisy playground with tables and chairs attached.

Everything was quiet and understated.

The walls are taupe, the banquettes made of soft brown velvet. The staff were efficient and entirely in tune with the diners nothing escaped their attention, nothing was too much trouble.

We took a friend who lives around the corner in Balham. At various points in the meal, he exclaimed "Balham! Balham!" as if the neighourhood and good food are not meant to go together.

Famously, in the past they have not. In the late, great Peter Sellers skit on "Bal- Ham, Gateway to the South" the comedian's poet character visits the El-Morocco tea room. It's 10 to three and this inspires him to ask: "Is there honey still for tea?" "Sorry, dear," comes the tea lady's reply. "Honey's off." Lamberts is the antithesis of the El- Morocco. Founded by former Merrill Lynch banker Mark Lambert and his brother Joe, with Chas Tapaneyasastr leading the kitchen, it is close to perfection. …

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