What? While London isn’t exactly inundated with truly child-friendly eateries, the capital is home to a small handful of decent play cafes, from coffee shops with modest play areas tucked in corners like Streets Coffee in Finchley Road to those with dedicated playrooms like Tufnell Park’s Bear + Wolf and Highbury’s Little Highness. While all of them are endlessly amazing and deeply beloved by me for keeping my small bumbling gopher occupied while I enjoy my caffeine fix in relative peace, I think I might have just found something even better.
The Corner House is less a play cafe and more a small, well-planned city in which to play, eat, drink, meet and learn. Not only does the vast site house a multi-roomed cafe on its ground floor; it’s also home to a spacious, Instagram-ready downstairs playroom with its own luxury two-storey playhouse, a gorgeous teepee, a selection of top-of-the-range ride-ons, three dinky dens off the main play area and a separate gated play area for under-twos, all in clear view of its very own parents’ cafe. There are also two studios hosting a packed timetable of classes for people big and small, from yoga and adult ballet to children’s dance and music sessions, and both are available for hire.
Where?: Shepherd’s Bush Road, between Shepherd’s Bush Green and Brook Green. Goldhawk Road (Circle, Hammersmith & City) is an eight-minute walk away, Shepherd’s Bush (Central, Ginger) is nine and Hammersmith (Circle, Hammersmith & City, Piccadilly, District) 10.
Best Bits: The decor is extremely cool, everything is clean, the staff are an absolute delight and the food and drink is exceptional. I was also so impressed by the strong attention to detail: cute crayon-filled tumblers on all the downstairs tables, pint-sized hand-washing sinks in the toilets for kids, and free locks in the buggy park.
Worst Bits: The music was a bit dodgy. Think Papa Americano, Village People and Happy Birthday, for some reason.
What’s on the Menu?: Deliciously fresh brunches, burgers, salads and sharing plates, plus a separate kids’ menu offering favourites including eggs and soldiers, and pasta with bolognese. The coffee is top and there is a very naughty cocktail menu that we were encouraged to peruse while Bab explored the playroom.
Facilities: Baby-changing and changing facilities with showers, plus everything mentioned above.
Would We Come Back?: Definitely sooner rather than later. This place has made me incredibly jealous of every parent (and child) in Brook Green.
Bab rocks out in the play area at The Corner House, Brook Green