Parents are notoriously tricky creatures to please when it comes to eating out. Do you try and impress upon them the degree to which you've managed to sever the apron strings by taking them to the swankiest place in town, or instead attempt to allay their fears that you're spending 99% of what you earn on fripperies such as sushi and pulled pork? Then there's the age thing to consider; will they be able to hear a thing in that good but raucous local joint, or manage that climb to the loo up the rickety spiral staircase in that precious little French bistro?
Min Jiang - Kensington
If your parent lives in the back of beyond where they’re more likely to shoot their own dinner than know of a good place for dumplings, you won’t go far wrong taking them to Min Jiang. Make sure you try the fabled wood-fired Beijing duck served two ways. Meanwhile, the fabulous view over Kensington Garden’s also good for fending off any queries over your relationship status/job prospects.
Pizza East - Hoxton
There's no better way to quash cries of "You paid how much?" than a good pizza meal. Pizza East isn't the cheapest of the bunch by a long stretch, but it's new, well-designed and reasonably priced. If mum won't condone spending money on a whole bottle of wine, at least you can sweeten things by ordering Prosecco by the glass here.
Bentley's - Picadilly
Happily Bentley’s is one of those rare restaurants where the food is as impressive as the chef’s PR machine. So while your mum and dad will probably have seen Richard Corrigan on the TV, they’ll be equally impressed with the food on offer at his Piccadilly outpost. Order a dozen oysters with the fish pie to follow and everyone will be happy.
Rules - Covent Garden
Rules is as comfortable as one of those slankets you see advertised in Sunday supplements. Eating here won’t give you any surprises, except for perhaps how long it’s been since you enjoyed such good service in London. Start with the buckshot bullshot (Bloody Mary with a shot of consommé), take in a suet pudding and leave some room for crumble. Remember to say it’s nowhere near as good as your mum’s.
St John - Clerkenwell
Any parent with even the vaguest memories of either wartime rationing or Fifties making-do will appreciate Fergus Henderson’s nose-to-tail approach to cooking. Try a little roast bone marrow to start and make sure you finish with the Eccles cake and cheese. If there are any leftovers, ask for a doggy-bag.
If you're still looking for inspiration, view London's latest restaurant openings.