The Victoria Pub



We have many mini-critics in and around London, and a set of our mini-critics had just moved to Barnes from Kent and their cousin, happens to now work at…as a blogger.

Having taken a weekend off to spend time with them while their parents were away, this team member thought it best they escape the family garden and go out for a meal, and after asking a neighbour where the closest family friendly restaurant was, we wound up at the beautiful Victoria Pub on 10 West Temple Sheen in London’s SW14 7RT postal code.



On a hot summer day, walking into the cool bar The Victoria pub instantly refreshes you, it is quiet, and the lighting is non intrusive. The beautiful dark wood floors, leather seating and vintage looking wooden furniture is inviting, and if it wasn’t such a lovely day, I would be inclined to spend my day indoors; it is the perfect location for a relaxed romantic meal. But, I arrived with three of our mini critics, Lily (5), Scarlett (7) and Milo (1.5) who kindly agreed to help me with our undercover review.

After cooling off and ordering some (delicious) fruit smoothies from the smiling and friendly young gentleman at the bar, we ventured towards the great outdoors, through the beautiful timber framed conservatory and out to the stunning garden. We found seating in the shade of a tree, right next to the Pub’s impressive climbing frame.  

The kids seemed content with enjoying their smoothies and we were quickly greeted by our charming waitress who handed us each menus.



The adult menu, created by award winning chef Paul Merrett and his team, had some traditional family favourites as well as some more eclectic cooking for those that like to venture into the great unknown.

The kids menu includes favourites of kids everywhere, like fish and chips, pita bread toasties, pasta, burgers, organic ice-cream and fresh fruit salad. But what the kids were most impressed about was that the menu is illustrated by ‘menu consultant’ Ellie Merrett (aged 11 ¾) and as mini critic Scarlett (age 7) is a budding artist herself, she branded the Pub the “coolest” before we had even ordered our food.

I found out after, that the menu is also incredibly environmentally friendly as The Victoria Pub only sources food from ethical suppliers:

BREAD: Baked in house with milled from Leicestershire.

MEAT & POULTRY: Comes from several farmers and small family butchers, including beef breed in South Devon, organic veal from Oxfordshire, and pork from Colchester.

FISH & SHELLFISH: Purchased from two harbour side markets in Brixham and Falmouth, and some of the fish they use, like their bass, is line caught and comes from sustainable stocks.

FRUIT & VEGETABLES: From a family run farm in Surrey.

COOKING OIL:  Is stored and recycled into bio fuel by a local company.



Lilly and Scarlett were both keen on the Pita Bread Toasties and Milo, being a bit less adventurous went for Pasta & Pesto. I ordered the Whole Char Grilled Sea Bass with a Salad of Green Beans, Black Olives, Cherry Tomatoes & Salsa Verde. As I finished saying the order, the kids snuck away from the table, having finished their smoothies, to check out the climbing structure.



As mini critic Milo was not quite old enough to ‘explore’ on his own, so I ‘escorted’ him to the play area which he independently investigated under my watchful eye. The girls climbed and screamed with some of the other children, while Milo took a wander around. He lost interest in the climbing structure after spotting a baby girl’s brightly coloured bonnet…..and started poking her in the head, which then turned into a game of peek-a-boo. The baby reacted to with giddy surprise and the other parents and minders in the area ooh-ed and aww-ed at how sweet they were.

Milo’s game was interrupted by our food arriving, which happened so fast, the mini-critics never even bothered to bicker or tease with one another, or the other children (horah!).




The mini critics and I gobbled down our food, enjoying each bite, and everyone, including the youngest mini critic (who is rather picky with his food), fully enjoyed their meals. For pudding, we all ordered Jude’s Organic Ice-Cream in all four of the flavours available and shared. It was AMAZING.

Afterwards, the two older critics announced their verdict: 5/5 for The Victoria Pub and with their duties complete ran off to the climbing structure, where they played happily for a full hour.



For all you fantastic readers, The Victoria Pub would like to offer your kids a delicious smoothie at half price this summer. Just quote “Their Little World Summer” when ordering your smoothie! (valid until September 1, 2010)

3.5 Out Of 5 for Las Iguanas from our Mini-Critics



As searches out the top London resturants for kids, we have recruited mini-critics to anonomyously accompany us on our resturant judgements.   

For our second mini-critic resturant outing, we chose to try another South American resturant, this time, one that focused on all Latin American food, resturant chain, Las Iguanas.   

he mini-critics had been at the London Aquarium before our meal, so they had worked up quite an appitite running about inside. When we arrived, there was no one in the resturant as it was not quite lunch hour for businesses.As soon as we were seated, our waiter brought us kids menus, crayons and markers and quickly took a drinks order.   

The children’s menu features smaller portions than the main menu, with prices about half of what they would be on the adults menu…they even have FREE Organic bay food for your tiniest ones.   

The colouring sheet featured Spanish and Portugugese learn-while-you-colour games and the mini-critics got stuck into learning the Spanish word for ‘sun’, doing crossword puzzles, drawing self portraits annd colouring in various themed objects.   

The menu, for both adults and children is full, we knew it would take us quite a while to decide what we would have, so we ordered Narchos to start off with and in the mean time, the kids sipped on thier child sized fizzy drinks and drew.   
The kids menu is organized into two sections, the Nino’s Menu, which includes a main course, drink and dessert and the under 12’s menu which is just a selection smaller portions off the adult menu.  

The mini-critics,aged 5 (Agent H), 10 (Agent E) and 11 (Agent J), all ordered off the kids menu.   

Agent H got ‘Pizza’ off the nino’s menu which ended up being a Quesadilla with motzerella and cheese accompanied by a small salad and chrispy curly chips. The deserts were just run of the mill resturant desserts so he followed his meal with an ice lolly.   

Agent E ordered a ‘Nino’s Burger’, which was just your average burger, again with a small salad and christpy curly chips and followed his meal up with some Chocolate icecream.   

Agent J decided to have a ‘Chicken Ceaser Salad’ off the under 12’s menu. Followed with Chocolate Cake.   

Though the food was great, for the kids, they did not really get a ‘latin experience’. There are only a few choices off the kids menu that are latin based, a lot of them are just normal ‘Western’ food with a Spanish or Portugese name. But on the upside, the kids did eat all of their food and were happy with their choices.   

The great thing about the menu was that there are icons to inform diners or caregivers of little diners if the food has nuts, is gluten free or is vegetarian friendly. This also goes for the adults menu.   

All in all, the kids were entertained, they ate all their food, learnt some new Spanish and Portugese words and there was zero fighting in the time leading up to, during or after our visit to the resturant.   

As a result of our visit, my mini-critics and I give Las Iguanas 3.5 out of 5 Stars for food taste, service and child friendly-ness!   

You can visit Las Iguanas online at or visit them at their locations throughout the U.K  






Linguini Bolognese


Lovely sauce that is easily doubled. Make extra to freeze!!

Thank you to Ruthie Chant from Menu in a Box for the great recipe idea!

Get organized in the kitchen, plan your meals and teach your kids to cook with her site

What You Will Need

6 14oz/415g Diced Italian tomatoes

2 Carrots, grated

1 lb / 500 Ground beef

8 oz / 250 g Linguini pasta

1 tsp Minced garlic

2 Tbs Olive oil

1 Onion, finely chopped

1 Red bell pepper, diced

1 Zucchini, grated   

What To Do

1. Cook pasta according to packet

2. Heat oil in pan and cook garlic, pepper and onion until brown

3. Add ground beef

4. Stir through grated vegetables

5. Add tomatoes, wine and garlic and simmer for 20 minutes

Hot Crossed Buns

Hot cross buns,
Hot cross buns,
one a’ penny,
two a’ penny,
hot cross buns.

Hot curst buns are always a sign of spring and are the perfect family breakfast during the Easter break. The kids can help out with this recipe, but will need some adult supervision!

What You will Need


1 cup Milk

1 tablespoon Milk, warmed to 110°F

1 package Dry active yeast

1 teaspoon Sugar

¾ of a cup Sugar

2 1/4 cup All-purpose flour

2 cups Bread flour

1/2 cup Black raisins

2 tablespoons Candied lemon peel, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

2 tablespoons Candied orange peel, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

1 teaspoon Salt

1/2 teaspoon Cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon Ground nutmeg

1/8 teaspoon Ground cloves

4 tablespoons Unsalted butter, melted

2 large eggs


1 large egg yolk

2/3 cup(s) confectioners’ sugar

1/4 teaspoon(s) vanilla

What To Do


  1. Coat a large bowl with oil and set aside.
  2. Let the kids combine the cold milk, yeast, and the teaspoon of sugar in a small bowl and leave it until it starts to gets bubbly.
  3. Have the kids combine the flours, remaining sugar, raisins, candied peels, salt, and spices in the bowl of a standing mixer while you fit it with a dough hook and mix on low speed.
  4. Help the kids add the butter, 2 eggs, and the yeast mixture and then continue with the mixer until a sticky dough forms, about 3 minutes.
  5. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and let the kids help knead by hand until smooth, about 5 minutes. (If dough has been combined by hand, increase kneading time to 10 minutes.)
  6. Form the dough into a ball, place it in the prepared bowl, and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume, about 1 hour.



  1. Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Punch the dough down, transfer to a lightly floured surface, and knead for 3 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces, about 3 1/2 ounces each. Shape each piece into a ball and place the balls about 1 inch apart in three rows of four on the prepared pan.
  3. Cover and let rise until the buns double in volume and touch one another, about 1 1/4 hours.



  1. Preheat oven to 260°C.
  2. In a small bowl, help your kiddies combine the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water.
  3. Have your children use a pastry brush to lightly brush the mixture on the top of each bun (you may want to show them how first).
  4. Place buns in the lower third of the oven and reduce oven temperature to 200°C. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes.
  5. Transfer to a wire rack.
  6. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners’ sugar, remaining milk, and vanilla. Stir until smooth.
  7. When buns have cooled slightly, help your kids drizzle a horizontal line across each row of buns followed by a vertical line to form a cross on the crown of each bun.
  8. To make crosses: mix together confectioners’ sugar, vanilla, and milk. Brush an X on each cooled bun.

Banners Restaurant



Banners Restaurant is a family favourite for those living in or around Crouch End, family friendly restaurant by day

and relaxing and unpretentious by night, Children of all ages are welcome.


Their children’s menu offers fresh, unprocessed food including classics like fish fingers and pasta to grown up

mini meals like grilled black tiger prawns and haloumi salad.


To keep your little ones busy, Banners provides crayons and paper, books and even a few toys.


You can find Banners Restaurant at 21 Park Road, Crouch End, London, N8 8TE, 0208 348 2930 or

online at

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