a transatlantic mommy / mummy blog – my kids say "tomato" & "to-mah-to"

Benihana in Chelsea, London – dinner and a show for the whole family

On the Kings Road in Chelsea is Benihana. A few blocks from Sloane Square tube station, Benihana is just steps away from the Marks & Spencer. Step through the glass door and down the stairs into the bar and you’re in for a whole new adventure of food and fun!

If you haven’t been to Benihana before it’s a Teppanyaki style Japanese hibachi steak house.  What is Teppanyaki you ask? Think of  grilling whilst  juggling and you’re getting close to the picture. You dine around a flat hibachi grill table and a chef prepares a meal for the table using all kinds of fabulous stage enhancements using fire, steam, chopping shrimp tails in the air and catching them.  Its’ good fun and delicious food.

The menu allows you to choose your protein and offers set multi-course meals. So for example, if you’re in the mood for a little surf & turf you can order the “Hibachi Steak & Lobster Tail.”

In addition to your protein of choice(like steak and lobster), their traditional hibachi dinner includes:

    • Japanese onion soup
    • Benihana Salad
    • Hibachi Vegetables
    • Hibachi Prawn Appetizer
    • Rice
    • Japanese tea (upon request)

Traditional hibachi lunches offer the same set course selection minus the soup. There seems to be a few less combo-options for the hibachi at lunch but more bento box meals on offer. Lunch meals are also a bit cheaper than their dinner prices. At both meals their is also sushi and other appetizers available. Here is the full Benihana Chelsea menu for your review.

Benihana ChelseaWhen visiting our group was mainly composed of Mums, but it seems like the ideal place to bring kids for a celebration dinner. Indeed they make a huge deal out of birthdays, so be prepared to be the center of attention if it’s yours. This includes balloons, singing in Japanese from the whole staff and birthday cake!

Whether you’re coming for a birthday, a celebration, lunch or dinner – there is so much going on the kids will love it.  In particular I know my boys will find it fun to sit at a “hot” table. Be entertained by the jokes, flames, and flying food/knives of our chef. Most importantly I think they’ll really enjoy the food - it’s simple yet delicious flavours will appeal to them and having 2 types of sauce to dip things in is always a plus.

Even though they have a kids menu(which doubles as a hat!), as far as kids menu prices go, at £12-£18 it’s on the medium to high range.  But in this case I think it’s worth it because I know my kids will eat it. The food is excellent and being a part of the creation process always seems to help with their appetite.

The trick will be trying to convince them not to play with their food when we return home. :0)

Top tips:

  • They have highchairs
  • Lots of stairs so leave the pram at home if you can
  • Remind the kids to keep their fingers back from the hot table – before/during your visit
  • Come hungry
  • They have a private room for parties/events/VIP’s (and a sneaky VIP exit!)
  • Ask for the Japanese tea – it’s included in the traditional lunch/dinner but you have to ask
  • Let them know if you’re celebrating a birthday

If you’re unfamiliar with Benihana Chelsea please click on their landing page and see a short clip of what Benihana is about.

Don’t just take my word on it – here are some reviews of Benihana Chelsea from other Mums & Bloggers:

Disclosure – I was treated to dinner by Benihana but the views on the food and experience and recommendation are my own.

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4 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Frankenweenie

So a few weeks back the boys saw the movie trailer for Frankweenie and found it a bit scary. I thought the movie looked like fun and not as scary as my eldest son seemed to find it (he also thought Nigel the bird from Rio was terrifying – but is good with all the Harry Potter films, go figure). In any case the boys love any opportunity to go to the movie theatre and especially see 3D movies so we prepped by watching a few more trailers and the boys were excited (if a bit apprehensive still.)

We arrived to a packed house for the Frankweenie pre-screen and while most of the audience was adults there was a good buzz going around the theatre about being excited to see the film, which is always a good sign in my mind.

As the movie started with the traditional Disney opening showing the magic kingdom/castle it quickly became dark and atmospheric (or should I say Tim Burton-ized) as lightning flashed over the castle and it appeared like a spooky haunted castle.

While Disney describes the film thusly,

From creative genius Tim Burton (“Alice in Wonderland,” The Nightmare Before Christmas”) comes “Frankenweenie,” a heartwarming tale about a boy and his dog. After unexpectedly losing his beloved dog Sparky, young Victor harnesses the power of science to bring his best friend back to life—with just a few minor adjustments. He tries to hide his home-sewn creation, but when Sparky gets out, Victor’s fellow students, teachers and the entire town all learn that getting a new “leash on life” can be monstrous.

I actually found it more heartwarming than that. It was atmospheric but not scary – and my youngest 4, laughed at all of the kid jokes (while I also chuckled at some aimed at adults). One of the unexpected parts of the film was all the references to older monster movies – it felt like a lighthearted tarantino homage to film and film school. I caught references to films like Godzilla, Gremlins, Dracula, Frankenstein, Frankenstein’s Bride, The Invisible Man, Creature from the Black Lagoon, the Mummy and there must have been more….

Most of those films (given the age of their making) were done in black and white so I think it was a good fit that Frankenweenie was done in black and white and in stop-motion animation, which created a more direct visual link to the older black and white horror films it referenced.  I’m glad this film was made in 3D we enjoyed the experience and I think it added to the film.

I think this film is a great film for families – including the younger set. Sure one of the main characters is a re-animated dog, (but don’t worry the dog’s death occurs off-screen) but it was a positive, warm film with plenty of fun. That the boys and I highly recommend checking out. See it for Halloween or any time, the boys are excited to see it again and have already asked me to buy them the DVD when it comes out.

Click here to download a free Frankenweenie Family Activity Pack
(included are spot the difference activity, cut – out masks, mazes, memory card game, pin the tale on Sparky game, Mr. Rzykruski’s science class with experiments)

 

OFFICIAL URL’s

“Like” Frankenweenie on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/frankenweenieukandireland

Subscribe to Disney’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/WaltDisneyStudiosUK

Follow Disney on Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/DisneyMoviesUK

FRANKENWEENIE

Rating: PG  UK Release Date: 17 October, 2012

Director: Tim Burton

Producers: Tim Burton, Allison Abbate

 Voice talent: Winona Ryder, Martin Short, Catherine O’Hara, Martin Landau, Charlie Tahan, Atticus Shaffer, Robert Capron, Conchata Ferrell

Disclosure – I along with my 2 sons were invited to a free screening of this movie.  While I was provided with free entry, the popcorn and sweets were purchased by me, the fun was had by all, and my views and review are those of myself and my family.

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5 years ago 0 Comments Short URL

Cinema for Kids (and how I got the fear)

Going to the movies has always been a special treat for my boys. When I was pregnant with my eldest son “J” – my husband and I went on a BabyMoon and while vacationing went and saw “Walk the Line.” Normally calm with occasional kicks, the baby in my belly would start kicking like crazy whenever one of the Johnny Cash songs in the film would play. My eldest son actually got to watch his first film (one of the XMen movies) at about 2 weeks when we went to one of those Mommy & Baby movie screenings.

Since moving to London – going to the movies as a family has become a pricey affair. We’re big fans of the KIDS AM movies at Vue Cinemas where the movies are £1.50* every Saturday and Sunday morning and every day in school holidays. 3D movies £2.75. It’s the same price for adults and kids so it’s a pretty good deal. The movies are generally a few weeks behind but that’s ok.

A few weeks back as a special treat for my eldest son “J” I took him to see a screening of Brave in 3D.  We went to a movie at Fulham Vue cinemas that started a little after noon, we got there about 15 minutes early so we could load up on snacks and find a good seat. When we went into the theater and sat down we were the only ones there. J started to get anxious saying he thought the cinema was scary with no on else in it. I said “don’t worry more people will come,” but they didn’t and he didn’t let up either – and while I did my best to calm his fears, he started to rub off on me!

So while I got him calm and settled to watch the film, I was already scanning the empty theater, noting the emergency exits… As the movie got underway I enjoyed watching the film but kept half an eye peeled on the entrances/exits and kept freaking myself out that someone was touching my hair or hiding behind our seats. So I’d start to lean forward in my seat and he’d ask me to sit back and hold his hand. Intermittently I’d look behind me as I’d really freak myself out – and he’d say “What?! What?! Who’s back there?” and I’d say “No one honey, I just dropped my phone.” Needless to say it wasn’t a relaxing movie. It was however a funny and stunningly visual film – which I’d love to watch another time when I’m not so highly strung. I think we’ll definitely be buying a copy for home.

Each of the previews we saw were for upcoming spooky kids movies that definitely look worth watching. Get ready for Halloween and check out these films and let me know what you think.

ParaNorman - A misunderstood boy, takes on ghosts, zombies and grown-ups to save his town from a centuries-old curse.

Frankenweenie – Directed by Tim Burton, in this film Young Victor conducts a science experiment to bring his beloved dog Sparky back to life, only to face unintended, sometimes monstrous, consequences. (this film is mostly black and white)

Hotel Transylvania - Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count’s teen-aged daughter

When leaving the theater – we saw the large stand-up cardboard poster for Frankenweenie and J said “Why are all movies in black and white scary ones?” I tried to answer him about how ALL old movies were in black and white but then realized they don’t really play old movies on TV like they did when I was a kid – the ones they do play are the old horror movies – so I guess the kid was kind of right….

While we’ll probably be avoiding empty cinemas for a bit to recover our nerves – going to Kid screenings or Mum & Baby screenings are always fun (and more widely attended!) and are often cheaper – so we’ll be definitely headed out to the cinema again soon.

If you’re looking for Mum & Baby  / Kid movie screenings around London here are a few I know of. Feel free to comment and add more.

Vue Cinemas (throughout London and beyond) Kids AM, Saturdays and Sundays and school holidays

Beaufort House, Chelsea does a Baby Cinema on certain Wednesday, check out their Facebook page for event dates

Electric Cinema, Notting Hill - ElectricScream! every Monday (closed until Nov)

Odeon Cinema, locations vary  Newbies, every weekday morning

And some further listings on

View London

and a great list by neighborhood on

Babes About Town

 

 

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5 years ago 1 Comment Short URL

Beaufort House in Chelsea… Our local with kids

For some time, Beaufort House in Chelsea has been our go-to place when going out to eat with the kids. Their Brasserie is a large open room, tastefully decorated – and most importantly ringed with booth seats.Parents who are reading this – I think you’ll fully appreciate the strategic advantage of this. We put the boys in the middle, and my husband and I sit at the ends so there is no escape!

Fortunately the kids love eating there as well. We’re always warmly welcomed by the staff, while there are less kids there at dinner, other families have surely felt the warm welcome for families, as on Saturdays and Sundays this place is packed with families enjoying leisurely brunch/lunch etc. Hakim, the front of house Manager is extremely welcoming to kids and families and while the waitstaff has generally been different people each time we’ve visited they’ve all been very kind and great with the kids (and their needs for extra napkins and ketchup!)

From the kids perspective – they’ve enjoyed the tasty kids meals. The kid’s menu is a nicely designed menu/placemat with scenes of London. Each child gets their own menu/placemat as well as their own set of Beaufort House colored pencils with sharpeners. There’s enough to color to last the whole meal! On one visit, their delight – the boys were even given Beaufort House boys. This has happened once, so I’m not sure if it was a one off thing or not.

We found the kids meal prices reasonably priced and sized and includes dessert. (They were even running a kids eat free promo for a while, whose absence I miss!)

For adults I’ve been impressed with the creative menu, which seems to change frequently – and their cocktails are delicious.

While we’ve spent most of our time downstairs in the ground floor Brassierie, they do have a Member’s Club above.

This week, I was invited along with some other London Bloggers to come see the Member’s Club. The club is spread over several floors and while during the evenings it’s generally full with members and their guests – during the days they use the event spaces for kids parties! I think I’ve found our new birthday venue.

Stairs up to Members Club above the Brasserie (it’s over several floors)

Guests were served Mojitos, champagne and delicious appetizers like duck spring rolls, mini fish and chips, truffle arancini and decadent lemon meringue mini pies.

Beaufor House Champagne Bar on the top floor, this has been used for teen disco birthday parties

(Sadly I was unable to partake of the cocktails and pate, and some of the other tasty looking items because of my baby bump)

While you probably wouldn’t see those items on the menu for a kid’s party, the kids party menu and setup looks interesting, and seems like it would be nice for the parents accompanying them.

Kids Party in Club Room at Beaufort House, this room can also be used as a screening room and there is enough room for an entertainerI’m glad I was invited along and get to check out the Member’s Club and hope to be back soon for future events. They had a children’s event over the summer with Pippa’s Poppets, and from speaking with Simon, one of the co-owners it looks like their planning on more family focused events during the daytime, which I think would be great and certainly look forward to.

For the neighborhood, I think their prices are pretty good for children’s parties. Here’s a photo of their brochure for the price list for kids parties (accurate as of this publication, but do ring them in case menu items or prices change in the future)

Have you been to a kids party here before? Or visited the Brasserie with kids? What did you think? 

For another perspective on Beaufort House, read this blog post from Life At the Zoo, Beaufort House Chelsea – A Hidden Gem.

See what the Domestic Goddesque has to say about it here Domestic Goddesque, Cocktails at Beaufort House and also more reviews here at the Goodlife Bloggers , Beaufort House King’s Road Chelsea – yes please, thank you very much!

Beaufort House kids party menu

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5 years ago 6 Comments Short URL
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