A2 Rating Scale (out of 5):
WHAT: A restaurant, marketplace and creative space for kids of all ages (ya, ya even us old geezers)—Au Fudge.
WHO: Actress Jessica Biel’s (AKA Mrs. Justin Timberlake) first restaurant venture.
WHERE: The way end of Melrose Ave in West Hollywood with not much going on around it but the paparazzi crazed Craig’s and the snow cone margaritas at Gracias Madre.
WHEN: Open daily from 8AM-9:30PM. The fam was in town for the AM, so we brunched it…
WHAT TO KNOW: Its name refers to accidentally dropping the f-bomb in front of the little ones. Oh, fuck à Au, Fudge. It’s been called the “Soho House for Kids” and “The Chuck E. Cheese for the One Percent “and I get why, but I also get the genius vision behind it…
HERE’S HOW IT WORKS: You bring the kids and check them in with the Au Pairs (babysitters) in the play area (called the “creative space”) and for $15/hour they watch them while you sip on expensive champagne with not a care in the world. Au Fudge is trying to be a place where parents can feel comfortable bringing the whole family while enjoying a nice restaurant meal. Priding themselves on only organic, all natural, cage-free, dye-free (I’m probably forgetting more, but if you know me you know this doesn’t matter much to me) ingredients and products; mommies can rest assured knowing only the best and healthiest is used… because that’s a big deal in this city. Even the changing table in the bathroom is stocked with celeb pal Jessica Alba’s The Honest Company baby supplies.
WHAT TO ORDER: Because the place is full of screaming kids running all around you’re going to need a cocktail and the First Base ($14) with vodka, lemon, strawberry, thyme and sparkling wine is what you should be ordering. Apparently its J-Biel’s favorite also, further proving we would be great friends (no but really, can we be besties please?). The absolute BEST thing we ate all morning was the Churro Sliders ($12), so you should probably just skip ahead and order a double. But if you must eat, my Eggs Benedict ($18) with the basics and also prosciutto, arugula and lemon truffle hollandaise was good enough for me to finish it all. And the Lox and Bagel Board ($18) had all the traditional accompaniments making it a fine choice too. Also, the French fries were pretty damn good because they tasted like McDonalds- this could turn some away, but I am all aboard with this basic, salty and addicting copycat.
WHAT TO SKIP: In this instance, this section is bias because what you order is what you get—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Nothing is too fancy and there are no surprises unlike most spots these days. This is great when you’re ordering for kids, but not so much when the price is fine-dining level. Luckily we were here for brunch so the prices weren’t too, too crazy for LA standards. The Stack of Pancakes ($15) is a basic stack or pancakes like you could get at I HOP for 1/3 the price (and they are better there fyi). And the same goes for the Vanilla French Toast ($14). The best thing about the Breakfast Sandwich ($12) with English muffin, egg whites, American cheese, turkey sausage and sriracha mayo was the side of fries. Lastly, I would have been more of a fan of the Monkey Bread ($14) if it came with triple the amount of vanilla crème anglaise and icing; so just go pick out something pretty from the baked goods in the marketplace and call it a day.
THE SCENE: Playful, whimsical and not an expense was spared. From the tableware to the décor; everything is top notch. While I was there the inside dining area and playrooms were reserved for a private party and let’s just say that Josh’s 1st birthday was nicer than any birthday party I’ve had in my 29 years. Because of its uniqueness and beauty, I can see it being rented out for all sorts of appropriate events and Hollywood parties (it has already been in its short 3 month life). And after dining in house, I can see buyouts being more their niche than just coming in for a meal.
WHERE TO SIT: Plenty of options both inside and out, but the whole space isn’t that big. If you don’t have kids, I would say sit outside because it’s less rowdy and less likely that your cocktail could end up on the floor… or all over you.
WHO TO BRING: Your friends with kids who can’t get a babysitter or you want to visit with them for a little bit and then pass them off while you enjoy some adult time too (more specifically adult beverages). So bring those people who want it all and can afford to have it all.
A LOT MORE GOING ON THAN FOOD: They have a full calendar of events/classes for the kiddos like Parent and Me Pilates, Hip Hop Dance, Improv, Cooking and High Tea. Because starting kindergarten without knowing “The 100” ways to strengthen your core and how to Pop, Lock and Drop It would be pretty tragic for any LA child #onlyinLA.
EDDR LIFE LESSON: Until you’re ready, practice safe sex people. It’s really not that hard.
A2 FINAL THOUGHT: Was the food worth the price for a single girl like myself? That’s a no. Would it be worth it for past Pretty, Pretty Princess Alex at age 6 OR for future stay-at-home-mom Alex with 3 kids? I’m going to go ahead and say yes. Because when you got more baggage it’s not just about the food, it’s about the convenience, at any cost, and for that Au Fudge’s future is looking bright. And the fact that you can run into J.T. at any given moment.
Can’t get Justin’s new song out of my head (and they played it there too, obvi),
Au Fudge ↔ 9010 Melrose Ave, LA, CA 90069 ↔ 424-288-4268