Holland Park is a very well-behaved, clipped, civilised cappuccino-drinking sort of place. It has playgrounds, peacocks, a pay and display car park, and a series of wooded paths from which you can't deviate.

 

There's a happy mix of Barboured chaps in green wellies and flat caps pushing toddlers on trikes, who think they're in Shropshire; the idle poor; the stressed-out rich; and lots of tatty thirty-something trustafarians who call their kids after colours, countries or capital cities.

 

Oh Indigo sweetie, do stop poking Havana - you're going to knock over Belize.

 

Eric - the one they're entreating to come out of the flowerbed - is usually just the dog.

 

Sunday lunch in the Belvedere - the restaurant slap bang in the middle of the park - is posh parents heaven - particularly if you've done the baby thing and got the sling, the three wheeled pushchair and the organic jars of infant goo. It's crowded with the not so shabby gentility and children are well represented, though not especially catered for.

 

Certainly, it's lovely when it's you with little Orkney perched on your lap like a self-regurgitating designer handbag. But it's tiresome when your own kids can manage to feed themselves and only spit out the odd thing - like vegetables.

 

My four are thankfully old enough to be checked like coats into the adventure playground and left. And before you start ringing Childline - it's perfectly safe and, more importantly, legal.

 

A perfect way to spend a Sunday, I'd say - this gives you a good undisturbed hour for the £14.95 3-course lunch - more if you take a break for an ice cream patrol. Oh the English summer. What a shame it comes off season, and only lasts two weeks.

 

Lunch during the week when the park is much quieter is a more sedate, relaxing meal - even during school holidays - and dinner has romantic possibilities if you want a quiet stroll around the pretty, secluded walled garden afterwards. If, however, you want a taxi, stay put and call a mini-cab. Without a car. the restaurant is a tad off the beaten track, and with a car, little fun for the non-drinking designated driver.

 

The restaurant, I am advised, has absolutely nothing to do with Marco Pierre White. Yes, the menu has obvious similarities with that of the Mirabelle, Criterion and Quo Vadis and shares a number of the same dishes. Yes, the chef Jeremy Hollingsworth once worked at Quo Vadis. Yes, Jimmy Lahoud, the owner, is Marco's sometime business partner. And - at the risk of sounding like Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally - Yes, yes, yes - Mr White was eating there the last time I went in (kiss-kiss let's have lunch) with chef Gordon Ramsay who was still dressed in kitchen whites (very bored handshake).

 

But, ooooh, no, it has nothing to do with Marco.

 

Do you care? Me neither. The main restaurant is a vast double height room with a low ceilinged Siberia upstairs. There are suede curtains, Mirabelle mirrored screens, good space between tables, freshly baked rolls and friendly, service - albeit veering at times towards the Fawning Queen fan club. Furthermore, the food, though predictable if you've eaten in other Marco restaurants - which this, of course, isn't - is of a suitably high standard.

 

I had the gnocchi of wild mushrooms - solid but heart-warmingly delicious - while my companion, Harry, had a tarte tatin of endives with caramelised foie gras - an unsubtle butch-sized dish of the sort that would send heavies round to your house if you criticised it. Happily, you wouldn't want to. Unless you were expecting a dainty little ladies-who-lunch morsel. On the light side you might have the ceviche of sea scallops or the parsley veloute with poached egg - both exceedingly good.

 

I followed with elegant roast chicken and a creamy, calorific pea risotto which was achingly. wearably, tiringly rich. Half way through you can't even think of lifting the fork to your lips.

 

Harry had the lamb pot-au-feu - a scant serving of young, ineffectual vegetables, limply draped over a vigourous rump of lamb. 'Phew', he said - 'what do they think people do in West London - herd cattle out on the range? It's Desperate Dan stuff, this' - obviously when Harry talks about the Dandy he means the kid's comic, not the chap standing outside the door wearing a bowler hat.

 

Pudding portions were more forgiving - We had the prune and Armagnac ice cream a great favourite of mine, thank you Pseud's Corner, and a fantastic lemon tart. Previously, I've also eaten the biscuit glacˇ aux noisettes - dreamy and sweeter than the sound of a crying baby's retreating wail.

 

The menu was down by three items with no specials which, if you're used to the food, cuts your choices rather close - though the daily changing set lunch at £14.95 should still tempt the jaded.

 

Think of it as Soho with scenery. But don't, please, amble tipsily home, to the area known in Estate-Agent-Speak as North Kensington and only then remember that the kids are still in the adventure playground.