Ah Sam - you've done it again!
Sam is the owner of the very family friendly Groundskeeper Cafes in both Ryde and Blacktown Parks and he has now opened another gem in the beautifully restored George Street Gatehouse at the front of Parramatta Park. This lovely cafe offers up both indoor and outdoor seating and our little people are welcome with open arrms.
For those of you still with prams in your life, the outdoor area is the best spot to sit - it's easy to access and there is plenty of space to park prams of all shapes and sizes. High chairs are available and there's a toilet with a baby change table too. If you want to escape the elements then you can sit in the actual Gatehouse. The intimate interior has been tastefully restored but there is very little room for prams. If you have older kids like we do, they will happily run around on the beautiful grassy area opposite the cafe - I wouldn't advise letting little ones do this without parental supervision. A playground is close by but not visible from the cafe, unlike the other two Groundskeeper Cafes which are smack bang next to excellent play areas.
The extensive menu is the same at all three of the Grounds Keeper Cafes, serving up tasty breakfast and lunch dishes with a Middle Eastern influence. There are tagines, shakshoukas, fatouch and hearty mezze boards as well as cafe classics like granola, bacon & egg rolls and burgers. Little Groundskeepers will be well satisified with their menu - the breakfast pancakes ($9.50) are always a huge hit and look (and taste) totally delish! The kids menu costs between $6.50 for a basic ham & cheese toastie, up to $12.50 for a Wagyu cheese burger with fries. Babycinos and kid size drinks are available to quench the thirst of your offspring.
If you are just after coffee and cake or a sugar hit you are in for a real treat, as Sam and his team are master bakers. Each day freshly made cakes hit the shelves - their carrot cake is simply sublime and their cute cupcakes are always a hit with the kidlets. The Di Bella coffee is consistently well made, and if you are going to hit up the playgrounds in Parramatta Park afterwards, make sure you grab a takeaway!
Parramatta Park has two playgrounds. There is a small and dated one just behind the cafe which is better suited for little people, but everyone's favourite is the fabulous Domain Creek Playground in the middle of Parramatta Park. This is about a ten minute walk from the Grounds Keeper Cafe and is easily done with a stroller or pram. This modern playground has equipment suitable for most ages but it does lend itself more to school age kids.
Parking: there's plenty of parking within the Park but it is at a premium on weekends. All of the parking is timed, so make sure you take note of the signs as those pesky parking rangers are constantly patrolling. The closest parking is at the Macquarie St entrance to Parramatta Park - check out this PARK MAP for more details.
Cnr George & O'Connell Streets, Parramatta
02 9808 4696
Open 7 days for breakfast & lunch
There's a new crop of kid friendly cafes opening up in Sydney that realise that they not only need to welcome kidlets with open arms, but also need to keep them amused for a period of time so that their parents can either have some down time, or log on to work with a coffee in hand and not a child!
Kinder Cafe in Castle Hill is one such cafe. You will find this brand new gem hidden up in a business park on Salisbury Rd (just behind the Hills Lodge Hotel). From the outside the cafe looks a bit non descript, but when you enter a kid friendly nirvana awaits.
This spacious and pram friendly cafe has an area for parents to chillax in with comfy leather chairs; another area with booth seating (complete with felt stick ons on the wall to keep little ones amused); some more tables and chairs and then 2 small play areas for little people - one with a cubby house and toys, the other with a playpen!
Next to this is the soundproof classroom where your little ones can be occupied in classes like yoga, zumba, hoola hooping and cup cake decorating. They also host some adult classes as well (yoga is a current example). For those of you who either work or study from home, you'll be delighted to know that they have Creche Time where an early childhood teacher will look after your little ones whilst you escape upstairs and log on and do some work without interuption for once! All of these classes need to be booked in advance and a fee is involved. Check their website for more details.
When you need the bathroom you will find it near the front entrance of the cafe and it is complete with a baby change mat (I noticed there wasn't any hand wash, so make sure you have some hand sansitiser in your bag just in case it's missing when you visit too). There's also a special room where you can breastfeed if you aren't keen on doing it in public, complete with a comfy chair and a blanket to keep you warm.
When it comes to the all important tucker time, little people are well catered for. The babycino will delight fussy little ones as it comes with a tiny teddy submerged in a teaspoon of chocolate. And if that doesn't tickle their fancy, the kids milkshake certainly will as it is encrusted with 100s and 1000s.
The kids menu includes Pancakes, Hot Chips, Mini Croissants and Mini Bacon & Egg Rolls. They have also introduced a fabulous looking Kids Picnic Board since we dined. And for dessert there are ice cream scoops with sprinkles for $2.00.
There's a range of sweet treats on offer including cute looking biscuits, donuts, caramel tartlets, mini lamingtons and bliss balls that will match perfectly with the Will & Co Coffee on offer. To be honest my large skim flat white was a bit weak for my liking, so when I return I'll be asking for a double shot as I like my coffee strong. And for those of you who love the mega shake phenomenon they make an instagram worthy looking one here that will only set you back $5.50!
The parental's food menu is basic in comparison to some other local cafes, but all of your favourites are there inlcuding Avo Smash, Bacon & Egg Rolls, Pancakes, Waffles and Bircher Muesli at breakfast time. At lunch time there are Salads and Sandwiches as well as the Soup of the Day. I daresay the menu will evolve as time goes on and the bonus is that the majority of the menu items are reasonbly priced all coming in under $15.00.
Our Avo Smash with Fetta ($14) and Bacon & Egg Roll ($11.50) were quite tasty, however my dining companions would have liked a bit more sauce on ther BAEs as they were a tad dry, but other than that we were all happy little diners.
The Kinder Cafe is the creation of two Mummas who had a vision to create the perfect child friendly cafe. They are certainly well on their way to achieving that vision and when all of their plans are completed, it will not only be a child friendly nirvana but also a parent friendly nirvana too. I know that if this place was around when my lads were younger, life would have been so much easier and I would have been one of their most regular customers x
3/3 Salisbury Rd, Castle Hill
0412 821 269
Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 5.00pm
Sat: 8.30am - 3.00pm
Kid friendly cafes are being taken to a whole new level at the moment in Sydney! There's quite a few fabulous spots offering not only delicious food and perfectly brewed coffee, but also weekly activities to keep the kidlets occupied! Below is a list of the ones we know about, but as always if there are any little gems missing, please do let us know!
This cafe is brand spanking new! Two gorgeous Mummas saw the huge gap in the market for a truly kid friendly cafe in the flourishing Hills District and so created one! They offer calsses like Zumba, super hero training, hula hooping and more. And whilst your kids are busy doing a class you can hot desk with fellow working parents (why wasn't this available when my kids were younger!!). Or just enjoy a Will & Co coffee whilst your kids explore the indoor play area. These ladies have huge plans for their space, so make sure you follow along on their journey via social media!
Address: 3/3 Salisbury Rd, Castle Hill NSW
Telephone: 0412 821 269
Brendan and his young funky team have created a haven for Inner West parents at the Hide & Seek Cafe on the main drag of Leichhardt. The space is totally kid friendly with a great little play area, healthy kids meals, and there's well brewed 5 Senses coffee for the parentals.
Each week they hold classes to keep kids entertained, with examples being yoga, finger painting, messy play and winter crafts. They even offer "Business Time" for parents! For $28.00 your kids will be minded whilst you work in a special space at the cafe with free wifi and coffee and cake!! Your children must be aged between 18mths and 5 years (check their website for more details).
Address: 102 Norton St Leichhardt
Telephone: 02 9752 9673
The Baker & Builder Cafe - North Parramatta
The owner of the delicious Baker & Builder Cafe in North Parramatta recognised early on that lots of families were visitng her large cafe space and as a result she created weekly kids activities on a Saturday morning. The activities change each week and can be everything from a animal nursery, to face painting to Super Hero days. The cafe itself has a tasty kids menu, the most divine baked goodies, excellent coffee, heaps of room for prams, loads of high chairs and a great kids toy box.
Every Monday morning it is story time at Livvi's Cafe. This fabulous cafe is located next to an equally fabulous playground and it is the flagship venue for the fabulous Touched by Olivia Foundation who are on a mission to make all play spaces in Australia inclusive. They also have fairy time art and craft in the school holidays. They brew an excellent drop of Campos coffee at the socail enterprise cafe and all babycinos are free with a high five!
Livvi's Cafe in Elara also host story time as well.
Address: Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock NSW
Telephone: 0411 711 725
This pretty cafe is located inside a Flower Power Nursery and is a favourite amongst parentals living in the South West of Sydney. They host weekly playgroup sessions on Mondays and Thursdays as well as special events and classes like cupcake decorating, teddy bear picnics, Cinderella high teas and often have visits from Spiderman and other Super Heroes. Their food and coffee is top notch too! Check out their FB page for more information and details on how to book.
Address: 320 Narellan Rd, Mount Annan NSW
Telephone: 02 4647 4429
Barangaroo is the new dining hot spot of Sydney. There are cafes and restaurants galore swinging open their doors, and luckily for us most of them welcome kidlets! One of our favourites that we have visited so far is love.fish - a delicious seafood restaurant that has a philosophy of serving seafood in the "most sustainable and approachable way possible."
When you visit love.fish make sure you catch public transport (that way you can have a couple of Savvy Bs with your meal). Take a bus or train to Wynard and then walk to Barangaroo via the Wynard Walk. This walk is totally pram friendly as is the restaurant, so don't be afraid to bring your buggaboo along. love.fish has high chairs for your little ones and there are excellent toilet facilities that include a baby change table, so all of our Little Munch kid friendly boxes are ticked - including a kids menu and kids activities.
The 'Little Fish' menu is simple and perfectly formed. Kidlets can choose between salmon, whiting and steak as their protein, and then they have a choice of green beans or shoestring fries as the side. Whilst they are waiting for their meals to arrive kids can complete the fishy find a word of the back of the menu. And for a sweet treat at the end of their meal, there's ice cream - just ask the waitstaff for the flavours of the day.
With the spawn occupied it's time for the parentals to sit back and relax with a delicious glass of the aforementioned Savvy B, and to nibble on some of the best seafood you'll find in Sydders. We recommend that you start with the schoolies and oysters. The prawns are flash fried and perfectly crisp, and way too easy to devour. The oysters available include Sydney Rock or Pacific (we always go for the Sydney Rockies as they are smaller and sweeter, and glide down the gullet so easily).
For more substantial dishes we thoroughly recommend the Whole Trout with Salsa Verde - a truly sublime dish, and the W.A. Cone Barra Fillet was perfectly cooked. Make sure you order some sides to complement your meal - the Puy Lentils with Wild Mushrooms are delish with fish.
If you are a total carnivore and cannot dine without eating something from a paddock, there a couple of options on the menu for you too, such as Pork Neck Braised in Apple Cider or Eye Fillet with Urchin Butter. There is also a decent selection of "Garden" items that will satisfy vegetarians, so all members of your crew should be happy at love.fish.
We're very lucky that we are at that stage of life where our young lads can sit quite still at a restaurant for more than a couple of hours (as long as they are occupied), which means we can now indulge in long lunches with good mates. If you're not, never fear as the service at love.fish is top notch and they will endeavour to look after all your needs including accommodating a quick departure if needs be.
7/23 Barangaroo Ave
Barangaroo NSW 2000
02 8077 3700
Open 7 days for lunch & dinner
A fabulous new cafe seems to be opening up every week or so in Western Sydney at the moment! Our latest discovery is the delightful Corner Shop Cafe in Quakers Hill. It has a certain Donna Hay design element to it. With duck egg blue walls and bleached white furniture, a visit here will brighten up the gloomiest of days.
The Corner Shop Cafe occupies a corner position at the suburban Farnham Road Shops in Quakers Hill. There's plenty of parking and a couple of spots right in front of the cafe are designated for parents with prams. It's very easy to access the cafe with your pram and there's loads of space to park your pram(s) right next to your table, which is so rare these days when most cafes try to jam as many tables as they possibly can into their dining area.
On the morning we dined, we were greeted by a bunch of super friendly young staff. There's full table service (another bonus when dining out with kidlets) and as the cafe was fairly quiet we received our food and drinks quickly. The Corner Shop Cafe has a Kids Menu which consists of a Cheese Melt on Sourdough ($7), Nuggets & Chips ($8), as well as Fish Fingers & Chips ($8). They will also serve kids drinks such as hot chocolates, in takeaway cups if you ask them to.
The adult's food is seriously delish. The smashed avo ($16) and truffled mushrooms on toast ($16) are great choices to start the day. There's also the usual eggs benny, big brekkie etc. At lunch time the menu features different types of burgers, a steak sanger, a schnitty and a chicken salad for those of you who limit the calorie intake.
The cafe doesn't have toilets but I do believe they are located close by (just ask for the key). Also bring along some pencils and paper to keep the kidlets occupied whilst you dine - so that you can enjoy your caffeine fix in peace. And yes the coffee they serve is a very decent brew.
So Western Sydney, keep up the good work as we're thoroughly enjoying road testing all of these fabulous new cafes and thank you for welcoming families with open arms x
1/216 Farnham Road Quakers Hill, 2763 NSW
Mon - Fri: 7am - 2pm
Sat - Sun: 8am - 2pm
Once upon a time Circular Quay was a bit of a wasteland when it came to finding somewhere decent to dine with the fambam - there was Maccas or City Extra plus a pub or two where you could chow down. Then the Gateway Sydney building had a major upgrade to be one of the city's premium dining hubs and now we are spoilt for choice with venues to eat in. And our family's current favourite is Four Frogs Creperie!
Four Frogs is located at the front of the Gateway Building and it is easy to spot with its bright red bistro chairs and red & white tiling on the facade. Don't be alarmed if the place looks full as they also have quite a bit of seating out the back of the restaurant - and this is the best spot to sit if you have a pram, as the front section does not have enough room to park one near your table. Being pramless, we sat in the front section which provided great people watching of all the toursits wandering around outside, and also the cute chefs in the kitchen whipping up the crepes.
Most of the friendly staff are from teh home of the frogs legs and service was seriously quick! Being a creperie, only crepes are served at Four Frogs. The savoury crepes are called galettes and they hit the spot perfectly at lunch time. They come in simple flavours such as spinach and feta ($11), and can also be quite fancy with fillings such as smoked duck, shallots, swiss cheese and hoisin sauce ($20). Each galette comes with a little bowl of dressed green salad leaves. If you prefer sweet crepes then you will be spoilt for choice as there are about 20 different flavour combinations on offer. They can be as simple as lemon and sugar, or as calorific as chocolate, banana, coconut ice cream and rum (which is served on fire).
Our little lads favourite choice at Four Frogs is the kids size Nutella Crepe ($5.00). This plate of deliciousness keeps them quiet for quite a while! And yes it does get messy so make sure you have some baby wipes handy. Most of the other crepes on the menu can also come in a kids size according to our waitress, so if your kids have more adventurous taste buds then ours do, there are loads of different offerings available for them. In regards to beverages, our dudes just went with table water, but kids size milkshakes made from homemade syrups are available ($6.50) as are soft drinks and juices.
The last little kid friendly tidbits about Four Frogs are - high chairs are available, just ask the waitstaff; there is a parents room located on the ground floor of the building; and take some pencils with you (my kids played tic tac toe on the back of the paper menu). Lastly there is a Wilson Car Park under the building which you access off Reiby Place. On weekdays the rates are extortionate, but on weekends you can park for $20.00 all day. Bur hey why not catch the ferry/train/bus into the city as they all land right in front of the Gateway Building at Circular Quay!
Four Frogs also has Creperies in Randwick and Mosman. We've dined at their Randwick venue before and loved it. And now we love their Cirqular Quay venue too. And just to let you know if 'dining in' with your kids freaks you out, you can also order the galettes/crepes for takeaway. Just head out the back of the Gateway Building where you will find a nice grassy area where you can sit down and eat, whilst the kids run around.
1 Macquarie Place, Circular Quay
02 9241 2277
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri: 7am - late
Sat - Sun: 10am - late
I do love a hidden suburban gem. Those cafes that are not on the main drag or in a major shopping centre, but out in the local strip of shops that not many people know about. Cafes just like the funky Old Boy Espresso in the backs streets of Blacktown for example!
The Old Boy Espresso has been open for about a year and it has been fitted out in that trendy retro style that you find in so many inner west cafes these days, and now more and more in outer west cafes too. The friendly young staff are very welcoming and brew up a damn fine cup of coffee for you to enjoy whilst you peruse the menu.
The menu has a very brunch like feel to it and is full of current cafe classics. There isn't a specific menu for little people, but there are quite a few options that they could get their little choppers around - one of which would be the Nutella Burger! This sounds divine - nutella and vanilla icecream is seved on a toasted milk bun and comes with strawberries and crushed pistachio. There are also waffles, muesli, bacon & egg rolls and toasted banana bread that little ones could also eat.
If you are dining at lunch time (like we were), and don't really feel like a breakfast type of dish there are burgers and the like on the menu for you to munch on. It would have been great to have a healthier option like a salad to choose from although, especially when you are pretending to diet. Wanting to avoid the calorific burgers I chose the Avo Smash, which I ordered without properly reading what actually came with it. So when it was delivered to our table and I saw those evil little green balls called peas, my heart sank a wee bit as I can't stomach them (bad childhood memories). So they were quickly flicked off and over to the old boy that I was dining with (aka Mr Munch), for him to consume!
Now the Old Boy Espresso has a loo out the back (but it doesn't have a baby change table). I didn't spy any high chairs either, so your little one may have to sit in your stroller/pram. Access is very easy into the cafe with your buggy, and there is also some space to park it near you table whether you sit inside or out. There's also quite a lot of parking available both in front of the cafe and also in the surrounding streets. Bring some colouring in along to occupy your kidlets during your meal, then afterwards pop around the back of the shops and you'll find a small playground and quite a bit of space for the kidlets to burn off some energy.
24 Tallawong Ave, Blacktown NSW
Thu - Fri: 8.30am - 2.00pm
Sat - Sun: 9.00am - 2.00pm
I love Ikea, but golly gosh I dislike their coffee! The closest Ikea to Chez Little Munch is at Marsden Park and thankfully a cafe serving up an excellent brew of coffee has swung open its doors recently just across the road from it, so I can now enjoy my Ikea spree fully caffeinated. Little Munchers say a big hello to the Baristas' Shed!
Semi rural Marsden Park in North-West Sydney is booming at the moment. Brand new housing developments are popping up everywhere as are some major retailers (e.g. Costco). As a result a few different dining venues are also opening their doors to capitalise on this growth area. The Baristas' Shed is one such venue and it gets the Little Munch seal of approval. It is located within the Home Hub Centre at Marsden Park, which has heaps of free parking and toilets with a baby change table. From the carpark you can easily access the Baristas' Shed with a pram and choose to sit outside or inside which is nice and spacious.
Now the Baristas' Shed gets a big tick for brewing a perfect flat white. The handsome chap who owns this place knows how to do a good brew that's for sure. The beans are from Grand Cru who I'm unfamiliar with, but will be looking out for them from now on as the coffee was so good. Babycinos and yummy looking kid size shakes and orange juice are available for your little ones to sip on. And I spied some colouring in behind the counter if you need to keep little fingers entertained (apparently my lads are too cool for that these days!).
Moving on to the food offering at the Baritas' Shed - for kidlets there is a decent range of baked goods in the front counter that they will enjoy munching on at breakfast time as well as well as toast with spreads, banana bread and fruit loaf as well. The menu is served all day, so whilst the menu doesn't feature anything specifically for kids there are some options such as a chicken panini as well as a selection of sandwiches/wraps in the front counter that they many enjoy.
For bigger bellies I can thoroughly recommend the Breakie Bruschetta to kick start your day. Mushrooms cooked in Worcestershire Sauce are mixed with kale and haloumi and then served on top of sourdough, and a perfectly poached egg is the crowning glory. The Granola Bowl also looks amazing and will definitely be road tested on our next visit to Ikea!
Before you head across the road to Ikea you might want to check out the Baby and Toddler Town store which is nearby the Baristas' Shed. I had a quick look and it stocks a fairly decent range of all things baby goods. Oh and there's also the Lindt Factory Outlet close by too! And you can enjoy all of this shopping fully caffeinated thanks to the Baristas' Shed.
20/9 Hollingsworth Rd, Marsden Park NSW
Open 7.00am - 3.00pm daily
Welcome to our next instalment of Cafe Parents!
For our next Cafe Parent interview we are having a chat with Karyn from a great blog I've been following for a while now called Little Opinions. Karyn and her absolutely gorgeous daughters review all things kids, offering both the girl's perspective as well as Mums!
1. Tell us a little about yourself Karyn...
I have 2 daughters Ellie 10 & Alyssa 7 and we love adventures. We enjoy checking out new places, seeing live shows & movies and are always looking for something fun to do on the weekend. Together the three of us started up a blog called Little Opinions to share our thoughts and reviews on all things kids! When we are not on an adventure I work full time at a special needs school as a teacher aide it's very hard work and very rewarding.
2. Do you have a favourite neighbourhood gem that is kid friendly?
We recently found a great new cafe at Bella Vista called Salty Lip Cafe & Grill, I would highly recommend the burgers, my girls are very fussy eaters and they absolutely love them. They also make a great hot chocolate! The team there are very kid friendly especially when my 7 year old decides to break out into dance.
3. The witching hour & dinner time - do you have any tricks for surviving this period, especially when dining out?
I always pack pencils and paper, the girls love to draw. I also pack water for the girls & if we are eating later than usual I always take cucumber, tomatoes and carrot with me to hopefully help the 'I'm hungry' phase. If we are staying out I do let the girls take their iPads.
4. What would your ultimate kid friendly café provide to make dining out easier for parents?
I would like to see more room in cafes to enable the kids to walk around & be pram friendly without bumping into other customers. I would also love to see an old fashioned arcade corner for the kids to keep themselves entertained.
5. What has been your biggest parental fail when dining out with your kids?
Letting the kids indulge for far too long and on their iPads. One night my seven year old purchased $1000 worth of in app purchases for Star Wars Angry Birds! Luckily Apple also agreed that was ridiculous & refunded our money...
Thank you so much for chatting with us Karyn, you are one busy lady! We definitely need to check out Salty Lip Cafe & Grill and we also definitely need to go on a family holiday to Ayres Rock after seeing the above photo of your beautiful fambam!
So Little Munchers I thoroughly recommend that you follow Little Opinions so that you can follow their adventures and keep up to date on all of teh best things to do with kids in Sydney:
We visit Canberra an awful lot, due to many of our family and friends living down there. So we kinda know it inside out - well we think we do. But everytime we visit we always discover a new kid friendly gem! It's that sort of place, always evolving and always so much fun.
We also spend quite a bit of time eating out in Canberra because their foodie scene is particularly good, and as a result there sometimes isn't much coin left to do anything else. So we thought we'd put together our list of family friendly things to do that are FREE or very cheap! So here they are in no particular order:
THE POD PLAYGROUND and the NATIONAL ARBORETUM
WHAT: This is Canberra's coolest playground where you can spend a good few hours whilst your kids explore every square inch of it. The Visitor's Centre also has hands on activities for kids, and there are numerous walks throughout the Arboretum that the whole family will enjoy. Make sure you check out the Labrinth Garden and also the Children's Garden.
WHERE: Forest Drive, off Tuggeranong Parkway, Weston Creek
COST: Entry is FREE, however, paid parking applies from 9am until 4pm daily at the rate of $2.10/hr with a maximum of $7.80 for a day
CAFE: Yes - Sprout Cafe & Conservatory Restaurant
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes, but might be easier to wear/carry your babe when doing the walks
COMMONWEALTH PARK and the TUNNEL PLAYGROUND
WHAT: This 34.5 ha park is home to interesting sculptures, hidden walks and ponds as well as lots of perfect picnic spots with some BBQ facilities available. It's also the home of Floriade in Spring. The "Tunnel Playground" is a like an underground playground, where kids can crawl through stone tunnels and also up and over them.
WHERE: Albert St, Parkes
CAFE: Yes - The Deck at Regatta Point
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes
KINGS PARK and BOUNDLESS PLAYGROUND
WHAT: A lovely park that contains a fantastic fully enclosed and fully inclusive playground suitable for kids aged 10 years and under. There are lots of picnic spots available as well as great views of Lake Burley Griffin, the Carillion etc.
WHERE: Wendouree Drive, Parkes
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes
NATIONAL MUSEUM of AUSTRALIA
WHAT: This stunning modern building is home to a collection of stories, artefacts and exhibitions that celebrates everything about Australia and its history. Children will love the "KSpace" where they can participate in hands on, interactive activities.
WHERE: Lawson Crescent, Acton
CAFE: Yes - Museum Cafe
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes
MUSEUM OF AUSTRALIAN DEMOCRACY
WHAT: Located in Old Parliament House this fabulous hands on museum is great place to take the whole family. Parentals will love seeing all of the history of the different rooms of the house, and kidlets will love filling out the interactive booklets, dressing up in costumes and playing in "Play Up" - a kids only zone!
WHERE: 18 King George Terrace, Parkes
COST: $2.00/adults - $1.00/kids (kids under 5 are free) - $5.00/family
CAFE: Yes - Terrace Cafe & Hoi Polloi Restaurant
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes
NATIONAL GALLERY of AUSTRALIA
WHAT: Australia's premier art gallery is very welcoming of families and they have a special space for kids called NGA Play. The outdoor sculpture garden is also another favourite spot for families to hang out whilst their kids explore all the nooks and crannies of the area, as well as the fascinating sculptures.
WHERE: Parkes Place, Parkes
COST: FREE! (except for major exhibitions)
CAFE: Yes - NGA Cafe & Street Cafe
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes
THE AUSTRALIAN WAR MEMORIAL
WHAT: This is our National Memorial to fallen soldiers from every war that the Commonwealth of Australia has been active in. Even though the Memorial is quite sombre they actively encourage children of all ages to learn about our war history with a special Discovery Zone just for kids. Families will also love trying to find the names of family members who may have served our Country in the past on the beautiful poppy wall (Roll of Honour).
WHERE: Treloar Crescent, Campbell
CAFE: Yes - Poppy's Cafe
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes
AUSTRALIAN NATIONAL BOTANIC GARDENS
WHAT: Full of striking native gardens, bushwalks and discovery trails for kids, this is a great place to get outdoors in Canberra. They also host fun night time adventures like the Dino Stampede! They have an indoor space at the Information Centre where kidlets can chill out and do some colouring in or reading.
WHERE: Clunies Ross St, Acton
CAFE: Yes - Pollen Cafe (it's stunning!)
PRAM FRIENDLY: Mostly
WHAT: The HQ of Australia, here you can explore all of the public areas of the house, go on a guided tour, and even sit in on the Senate or House of Reps, when they are in session. The gardens are also a great place to take the offspring for a massive run around.
WHERE: Parliament Drive, Canberra
CAFE: Yes - Queens Terrace Cafe
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes - and you can even hire strollers and wheelchairs for free!
WALK/SCOOT/RIDE AROUND LAKE BURLEY GRIFFIN
WHAT: It costs absolutely nothing to walk around this impressive Lake. For little legs we recommend doing the Bridge to Bridge walk. It's about 5km long and if you time your walk to coincide with lunch you can enjoy the music of the National Carillon which is played from 12.30 to 1.20pm on Wednesdays and Sundays. Otherwise the Carillon chimes its 23 bells on the hour and half hour throughout the day.
WHERE: From Commonwealth Bridge to Kings Avenue Bridge
CAFE: Yes - several are located around the Lake
PRAM FRIENDLY: Yes
WALK UP MOUNT TAYLOR - OR ANOTHER MOUNTAIN
WHAT: If you love a good family bush walk there are loads in and around Canberra. We've walked up Mount Taylor, which is steep but worth the effort for the views, and also all of the kangaroos. Another good one is to walk from the Botanic Gardens up to Black Mountain Tower. Both take just over an hour to complete.
WHERE: Sulwood Drive, Kambah
PRAM FRIENDLY: No - you'll need to wear/carry your bub.
OTHER PLAYGROUNDS WORTH CHECKING OUT
*Kambah Adventure Playground
*Black Mountain Peninsular Playground
*John Knight Memorial Park
WHERE TO STAY
There are heaps of fancy hotels to stay in Canberra if you have a fair bit of cash in your wallet. If you don't, we suggest checking out these options where we normally lay our weary bodies down of a night:
* Alivio Tourist Park - cabin & camper trailer accommodation
* Abode Hotels - modern family friendly hotel rooms with locations in Woden, Narrabundah, Tuggeranong & Gungahlin
We also love this Nature Play Canberra website for more
FREE or CHEAP
things to do with kidlets in Canberra!
Westfield Miranda - Miranda
Date: Saturday April 8 to Thursday April 13
Time: 10.00am, 11.30am, 12.30pm, 2.00pm
Cost: Free (but must book in advance)
Address: 600 Kingsway, Miranda
Telephone: 02 9525 6344
Class details: Easter themed kids cooking classes, on level 2 in the Fresh Food area.
Castle Towers - Castle Hill
Date: April 8-9-13-15-20-23
Time: 10am or 12pm (2 hour casses)
Cost: $5.00 (must book online)
Address: 6-14 Castle St, Castle Hill
Telephone: 02 8858 9700
Class details: Kids in the Kitchen workshops with various classes including cookie decorating, Easter egg decorating, soft shell tacos, lunch box ideas and more. All classes are held at the Centre Court on level 2.
Decorati - Wetherill Park
Date: Monday April 10 & Tuesday 18 April
Time: 10.00am - 12.00pm
Address: The Home & Building Centre - Unit 21a/1345 The Horsley Drive, Wetherill Park
Telephone: 02 9609 4917
Class details: Hands on cooking class to grow healthy bodies and minds
Top Ryde Shopping Centre - Ryde
Date: Monday April 10 to Thursday April 13
Time: 11.00am - 1.00pm
Address: Cnr Devlin & Blaxland Rds, Ryde
Telephone: 02 9808 8888
Class details: Classes (catering for approximately 20 children) will run for approximately 15 minutes. Children will learn to make wide range of tasty treats. Suitable for primary school children aged 5-12 years. No bookings required, first in first served.
Brasserie Bread - Banksmeadow
Date: Monday April 10 - Friday April 21
Time: 10am & 1pm (1.5hrs long)
Cost: $40.00 - book online
Address: 1737 Botany Rd, Banksmeadow
Telephone: 1300 966 845
Class details: This Autumn, our school holiday program will send your children on a whirlwind experience, from FARM TO BAKERY! In fact, they will be growing their own DIY sprouted wheat grains that they will take home with them! They will develop an understanding about the cycle from the farmer to the miller to the bakery where they will shape their own loaves of bread using a dough with healthy sprouted wheat grains through it and learn about the oldest known ancient grain, Emmer, to make delicious mini banana bread tin loaves. Truly a session not to be missed!
Grano - Wetherill Park
Date: April 11 & 18 10.45am
Time: 10.45am (2 hour class)
Cost: $35.00 (bookings via phone only)
Address: 1009 Canley Vale Rd, Wetherill Park
Telephone: 02 97254274
Class Details: Kids receive their own chef hat and apron, then make pizzas and eat them for lunch. There is also cupcake decorating and unlimited drinks throughout the session. All equipment and ingredients are included in the price.
Westfield Penrith - Penrith
Date: April 11 & 12
Time: 11.00am - 2.00pm
Address: 585 High St, Penrith
Telephone: 02 4721 4354
Class details: Easter Egg & Easter Cookie decorating workshops held on level 1, in the Fresh Food Market. No booking required just go along and enjoy the fun!
Sparkle Cupcakery - Surry Hills
Date: Wednesday April 12
Time: 10.00am - 12.00pm
Address: 132 Foveaux St, Surry Hills
Telephone: 02 9361 0690
Class details: Kidz bake Pure Sparkle cupcakes under the watchful eye of our Pastry Chef. While cakes are baking, kidz take a refreshment break of cheese toasties, cookies and cordial. After re-fueling, the fun ramps up with cupcake decorating creating Summer Time cupcakes. Each little person can drizzle, pipe, sprinkle and cut to decorate their own 6 cupcakes to take home for sharing with friends and family. Aprons provided during the class.
bombini - Avoca Beach
Date: Thursday April 13 & 20
Time:10.30am - 12.30pm
Cost: $70.00 (inc. roast lunch, house made gelato, juice)
Address: 366 Avoca Dr, Kincumber
Telephone: 02 4381 1436
Class details: Mastering the art of the Sunday Roast...Book your junior cooks into bombini, for a hands-on morning with bombini chef, Cameron Cansdell, where they will learn about simple ingredients and how to prepare them into something tasty. The kids will prepare & roast chicken with all the trimmings, create the tastiest stuffing & learn how to re-create the magic at home with recipes to share with mum & dad.
Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre - Rhodes
Date: Monday April 17 - Friday April 21
Time: 11.0am - 2.00pm
Cost: Free (no bookings required)
Address: 1 Rider Blvd, Rhodes
Telephone: 02 8754 1111
Class details: Easter Cookie Decorating on the Ground Floor near Target. Limited spots available.
Sydney Chocolate School - Mosman
Date: Tuesday April 18
Time: 10.30am - 12.00pm
Address: 21/1110 Middle Head Rd, Mosman
Telephone: 02 9960 5848
Class details: Children aged from 5 to 16 will have a great time making chocolate in the school holidays. Our chocolatier will create a fun environment for everyone to see chocolate being hand tempered on marble (screams of joy as chocolate is splashed all over the marble!) Everyone then gets involved in making chocolate freckles, bars, lollypops and other child-friendly chocolates. Includes a certificate for the fridge and goody bag to take home and show off!
Watsons Bay Hotel - Watsons Bay
Date: Wednesday April 19
Time: 12.00pm - 1.00pm
Cost: $15.00 (book online)
Address: 1 Military Rd, Watsons Bay
Telephone: 02 9337 5444
Class details: Kids aged 5 - 15 years will learn to make hot cross buns with all their favourite toppings with the hotel's chefs.
Flour Eggs Water - Tramsheds, Harold Park
Date: April 19 & 20
Time: 9.30am - 11.30am
Cost: $75.00 SOLD OUT!!!
Address: 1 Dalgal Way, Forest Lodge
Telephone: 02 9188 7438
Class details: KIDS HOLIDAY PASTA MAKING WORKSHOPS!!! We are so excited to announce our first 2 dates for your little budding chefs to roll up those sleeves, put on an apron and learn all the tricks of the trade with our very own pasta master Eugenio Maiale!Your bambinos will knead, roll and cut their way to Italian pasta heaven and the good thing is there wont be one easter egg or ipad involved! They will each take home their very own flour eggs water apron and get to sit down at the end of their session to enjoy a beautiful bowl of pasta and something sweet to ensure they skip home to start preparing dinner for you that night!
Australian Brewery - Rouse Hill
Date: Tuesday 11 April & Monday 24 April
Time: 12.00pm - 2.00pm
Cost: $5.00 (call to book)
Address: 350 Annangrove Rd, Rouse Hill
Telephone: 02 9679 4555
Class Details: Make your very own pizza & sundae then eat it!
If we've missed any please let us know!
A long lazy Sunday lunch with kids. You're joking right?! No I'm not. Thanks to Fratelli Fresh in Crows Nest this is indeed possible.....
Fratelli Fresh have venues all over Sydney serving up delicious and fresh Italian cuisine that even Nonna would eat. Their Crows Nest location is super family friendly, welcoming kidlets with open arms and encourage the long Sunday family lunch.
You will find Fratelli Fresh located along the main dining drag of Willoughby Rd. There is plenty of (timed) street parking around the area, as well as a car park in nearby Holtermann St. The venue is easy to access with a pram and there is also some room to park it near your table (but I do recommend that you book ahead of time and advise them that you will have a pram). There are high chairs available and toilets on site that contain a baby change table. So all of the kid friendly dining boxes are getting big ticks so far.
To keep the kidlets occupied Fratelli Fresh provide an excellent kids menu that doubles as an activity sheet. And on the Sunday when we dined recently, there was the most awesome face painter! The lads have had their face painted quite a few times in their short lives, but the Joker face on my youngest is THE best I've seen. The face painter isn't a fixture every week, so perhaps confirm when you make your booking if she will be there, so that your kidlets aren't disappointed when they arrive.
On to the kids menu. It varies in price from $5.00 - $12.00 depending on the size of the dish ordered. Oh and every Sunday, Kids Eat Free (under 12yrs) with every adult meal purchased! The menu covers things as simple as a green salad with tomatoes and cucumbers, to pizza, spaghetti, ravioli, fish fingers and even a bowl of broccolini!! I love that there are loads of healthy items and also a few unhealthy ones thrown in for good measure.
The boys chose the Spaghetti Napolitana ($10.00) and the Chicken Scallopini Strips with Chips ($12.00). The chicken dish was huge and could easily be shared between two little people. The meals came out at the perfect temperature which meant that the boys could tuck in straight away.
The main menu at Fratelli Fresh covers all of your favourite Italian dishes but with some interesting twists. For example the Duck Pappardelle is served with chilli, bitter chocolate and orange. The dishes can be easily shared, and if you are dining with a group of people we would recommend that you take advantage of their Set Menu, where you receive 3 courses for $39.00!
They also do a range of wood fired pizzas and they are heavenly - one should not eat pizza unless it comes straight out of a wood fired oven is my mantra! Our Carciofi Pizza was topped with artichokes, pesto, onion, chilli, pine nuts and rocket. If you a glutton you can easily eat it all, or it is a decent size to share as well. The Scallop Risotto with Butternut Squash and Herbs was our other choice for lunch, and it is the epitome of comfort food. And yes the scallops were perfectly cooked so that they just melted in your mouth.
For a sweet treat, kidlets (and adults) can choose between different flavoured Gelato tubs for dessert ($6.00) and there is also a lovely selection of Dolce. Tiramisu is normally my go to dessert when we are chowing down in an Italian restaurant. However I deviated this time and tried the house speciality of the Banoffee Torta. This little slice of bliss had the most decadently rich caramel on top of a crunchy biscut base. It was crowned with fresh cream, banana and shaved chocolate. It was definitely naughty and definitely nice!
So my dear Little Munchers, next time you are looking for a venue for a family friendly lunch, make sure you consider Fratelli Fresh in Crowns Nest and remember chi mangia bene, vive bene!
AS PER USUAL WE PAID OUR OWN WAY WHEN WE VISITED FRATELLI FRESH!
118 Willoughby Rd, Crows Nest NSW
02 8099 7070
Open 7 days
Trying to occupy kidlets in school holidays can be a real challenge. And as we are constantly told by the naysayers that we should not use elecronic devices to "babysit" our kids, I feel obliged to source activities outside the house to keep them (and me) occupied. So thankfully businesses like the delightful Grandma's at McEvoy in Alexandria, provide hands on cooking classes during school holidays to entertain kidlets, whilst their parents sit back and relax over a perfectly brewed coffee and some of the most delicious food you'll taste this side of the Middle East!
Grandma's at McEvoy is the flagship store/cafe of the the Grandma's group of cafes that include venues at Rosebery and also at the farm in Collector, in south west NSW. We're big fans of their Collector cafe, and visit it regularly en route to Canberra. And now we are massive fans of their McEvoy cafe after our visit there in the January school holidays.
You'll find this very family friendly cafe on busy McEvoy Street. The cafe ticks all of the kid friendly boxes, and is very popular with the gorgeous Mummas and Pappas of the inner city. They have a cute and well used kids play area, which is perfect to occupy little people whilst you sit back and enjoy one of the cafe's delicious meals. Or if one of their Cookie/Chocolate making workshops are on, your kids can do that too.
All of Grandma's classes need to be booked online in advance, as they are very popular! The lads participated in the chocolate making workshop, which was run by one of Grandma's young chefs. To start with the kids donned an apron and then were taken to wash their hands. From here they were given a quick lesson in where chocolate came from, and were encouraged to eat a cocoa bean (which of course was spat out quite quickly).
Then the real fun began as they were allowed to create their very own chocolates, with the help of the chef. Obviously this is not the sort of class kids with allergies could do, as there were nuts available to decorate chocolates with. Of course the chocolate buttons, mini M&Ms and 100s & 1000s were the most popular items to decorate with, and I'm sure I spied one or two of them being slyly snuck into a little mouth when chef wasn't watching!
At the conclusion of the class, all of the chocolates were placed in a take home bag. Then it was off to wash their hands and hand back their aprons. The lads loved their class and also made some new friends, so make sure you follow Grandma's facebook page so that you know when their next cooking classes are on for kids!
With the boys completely taken care of, we could sit back and relax over brunch for once. We didn't order a meal for them as they were too busy eating chocolate, however there is an excellent Grandkids Menu which we have sampled on many occasions when dining at Grandmas at the farm. The kids meals are hearty, healthy and all home made, with not a deep fried nugget or chip in sight!
Thirsty little people will love the Grandma's babycino ($1) which comes with a cookie on the side, and there are also kid size fresh juices and thick shakes available for $5.00.
Let's move on to the adults. There are so many delicious choices for big people to eat for both breakfast and lunch at Grandma's. Everything has a definite Middle Eastern influence, and it's all home made just like you'd expect to have at your Grandmother's house ( I suppose as long as she is a good cook!). For our brunch we enjoyed the homemade natural muesli with yoghurt, almonds and strawberries as well as the poached eggs with Grandma's special bread and a side of bacon. Both dishes looked bright and colourful and were full of loads of flavour.
Grandma's are also famous for their Shakshukas. They are served all day and come in loads of different flavours. Other homestyle dishes on the lunch menu include soup, casseroles and tasty looking fresh salads.
Grandmas also have loads of things for sale. From olives and olive oil direct from their Collector farm, to cookies, jams and kitchen objects, it's hard to go home empty handed. Their inhouse bakery also has loads of delicious goodies that you can take home as well (their chocolate croissants are quite heavenly).
The only hassle we had at Grandma's was finding a park. There are only a couple parking spots behind the cafe, and street parking is a bit of a nightmare. Then we discovered a Bunnings up the street on the corner of Euston Rd. So your best bet is to head straight up there. It's an easy walk back to the cafe, and of couse if your kids need to burn off any further energy, you can always take them to the playground in Bunnings before you head home!
So Little Munchers was your Grandma a good cook? And what do you do to occupy your kidlets in the school holidays?
140-142 McEvoy St, Alexandria
02 9669 1862
Open 7 days 7am - 4pm
For those of you who may not know me very well, I need to let you know that I grew up on a farm. A farm with more than a few acres. And as a result I frequently have a yearning to return to the life of acres, especially as I have been blessed with two rambunctious boys who need an awful lot of space. But I also adore the city lifestyle and all of its trimmings, and as a result I quite often find myself pulled between both lifestyles. So when I heard through social media that a small acreage had somehow come to life in the inner city of Sydney, I just knew I (we) needed to be there.
This mini urban farm is called Camperdown Commons. It is home to a delicious eatery called Acre, and also to Pocket City Farms (a company trying to fill any neglected space in Sydney with small farms). You will find the Camperdown Commons in the back streets of inner city Camperdown, and it is a perfect place to venture with the whole family, as well as a big group of your fellow breeders - as there is loads of space for everyone to enjoy themselves!
When you first arrive at Camperdown Commons you will find a small coffee stall at the entrance, where you can grab a takeaway and also a snack, and then you can go for a wander around the "farm." Or you can venture further down the garden path, and you will arive at the Garden Terrace. It's here that you will find loads of funky inner city families hanging out. The Terrace is under the cover of a pergola, and it wraps around an expansive lawn, which has umbrellas and rugs for you to sprawl out on.
At th end of the lawn there's a cool nature based playground for kids to play in. And when they grow bored of that, there's also toys such as hoola hoops and frisbees for kids to have some backyard fun with as well. If you have any little bookworms in your brood, they will love the book shelf full of interesting reads. And to top it all off, you can also take your kids on an explore of the vegies patches and chicken coop.
With the kids happily occupied, you can get down to the serious business of ordering some food. The Garden Terrace is open from Wednesday - Sunday from 8am. You order and pay at the outdoor food counter, and they will bring the meals to your table.
At the Garden Terrace, the food menu from Wednesday - Friday is "bar food" - so it's snack/lunch type of fare. And on weekends they serve an all day breakfast. Kidlets have their very own menu and all the food is quite healthy and delicious sounding. There's a real emphasis on paddock to plate dining, with the kitchen using produce direct from the vegies patches and also from farmers in the Sydney basin, so there will always be some "garden bits" in the kids meals!
Likewise with the adults menu, there are quite a few things from the garden in each dish. The Avocado, Ricotta, Tomato & Soft Boiled Egg on Sourdough, not only looks delish but is also bursting with fresh flavour. Likewise with the Granola Bowl, which is full of the most gorgeous coconut yoghurt and fresh fruit - it is the most perfect way to kick start your day.
Our lads munched on Ham & Cheese Croissants for their breakfast, but I'm very keen to go back and sample some of the tasty sounding lunch time menu items for the kids.
The actual "restaurant" section of Acre, is indoors behind the Garden Terrace, and it has been styled in a farmhouse design. It's where you go if you are after a more formal meal, but it is also welcoming of families and has an upmarket menu, including one for the kidlets. It's only open for lunch and dinner Wednesday - Sunday. There are high chairs as well as space to park your pram. And just near the entrance to the restaurant you will find the amenities, which includes a toilet with a baby change table.
Before you leave the farm, make sure you purchase some fresh produce, plucked straight from the garden in the morning, at the market stall near the entrance. Or why not enroll in one of Pocket City Farms tours and learn the basics of urban farming (but be warned...they may make you weed!!). Also outside the front gate there is a community herb patch where you can pick your own herbs to take home with you. So make sure you grab some basil for your pasta (or some mint for your mojito), on your way home.
Getting There: Outside of Camperdown Commons there is street parking available. You will also find a parking station about a 3 minute walk away in Grose Street (access it off Carillion Ave). There are also bus stops close by on Parramatta Rd, and the closest train station is Newtown, about a 10 -15 minute walk away, depending on how many little legs you have with you.
So my dear friends, when you are yearning for some down time in the country, just head to Camperdown Commons, where you will be able to sample a little taste of all things country, right in the heart of the city x
31a Mallet St, Camperdown NSW
02 9194 3100
Open Wed - Sun
I'm a big fan of the Merivale Hotel Group, and how inclusive they are of families with their Coogee Pavilion and The Newport properties. But what I didn't realise, was that their groovy inner city pub, The Beresford in Surry Hills, was also welcoming of kidlets!
The Beresford is one of those iconic Sydney pubs that has been operating for years. And under previous management it was probably not the sort of place that you would take the fambam. However since Merivale took ownership, and sprinkled their little bit of Merivale Magic over it, you can quite comfortably hang out here during the day with your brood.
You can enter the hotel through the front door (on Bourke St) which will take you straight into the front bar, or if you aren't comfortable doing that you can enter via Hill St, and walk straight into the lovely garden courtyard area of the Beresford. There's also an indoor dining area where you can sit if the weather isn't favourable. The loos are located downstairs from here. There's isn't a baby change table, but there's a lift in case you want to take the pram down and change your little one's nappy in the spacious toilet area. The loos are actually a bit spesh (in a twilight zone kind of way), so make sure you check them out!
So how is this place kid friendly? Well for a start, The Beresford is very easy to access with your pram, and there is also loads of space to park it (both inside and out). There are high chairs available, and also a very good kids menu, that doubles as an activity sheet. The menu has a combination of healthy and not so healthy menu items, which is also great to see. Another bonus is that kids eat for free Monday - Thursday. The young funky staff are also really good with the kids, and adults alike - we didn't encounter any hipster attitude the whole time we were there.
Monday night is movie night at the Beresford. Out in the courtyard they have a screen where they show free movies at 8pm. There's free popcorn, discounted wine and $10 pizzas! Every now and then (mainly in school holidays), they show a family movie, so keep an eye on their website for what's showing each week.
Those $10 pizzas are actually available all day on Mondays, and luckily for us it was a Monday when we dined at lunch time with a big group of Little Munch family members. The pizzas are seriously good - wood fired and topped with all sorts of delish toppings. You can easily share a pizza with someone else, so it makes it extraordinarily good value lunch (or dinner).
If pizza doesn't tickle your fancy, there is a full pub grub menu available as well. From juicy sirloin steaks, to burgers, salads and of course the obligatory schnitty, you won't go hungry. And to wash it all down there is a very good wine list for the parentals. To keep the kidlets hydrated, there are soft drinks, juices and a help youself water station is located at the bar.
Just to let you know, parking can be a little tricky to find around this part of Surry Hills. So make sure you allow yourself some additional time to find a spot if you are meeting people, as you may need to do the block a couple of times. On weekends, it's normally fairly easily to nab a spot on nearby Albion St.
354 Bourke St, Surry Hills
02 9254 8088
Open 7 days a week from 12pm
Sometimes you just have to escape the city and head somewhere a little more quieter. To a place where there's very little traffic, loads of blue sky and new places to explore. And lucky for us Sydneysiders, the Hawkesbury area on the outskirts of Sydney, is the perfect place to do just that.
It's in the Hawkesbury area that you will find Australia's oldest church, at a little village called Ebenezer. Built in 1809, this quaint church was also once upon a time a school, and as such is Australia's oldest exisiting school building as well.
The Church is surrounded by a historic cemetry, with graves dating back as far as 1825. It's fascinating wandering around, reading who is buried in each grave, and how old they were when they died (some of them sadly were so young).
What I love about this special place, is that you can explore every square inch of it. You can go into the Church (which is still used for services), you can see where they used to make bread for the school kids, and you can wander down to the river as well (make sure you don't let kids wander off by themselves although, as it's a big river!).
Next to the Church is the School Master's House which was built in 1817. And it's here you will find some sustenance! You can sit under the shade of the pergola surrounding the house, and enjoy morning or afternoon tea. It's open from 10am - 3pm, and is staffed by the friendliest of volunteers. They are more than happy to tell you all about Ebenezer and the Church, whilst serving you.
The Schoolmaster's House only serves Devonshire Teas - please do not arrive here expecting lunch or fancy cakes. It's just old fashioned scones, jam and cream, with your choice of instant coffee or tea. The scones are just like Nanna used to make. Perfectly light and fluffy - you receive 2 with each serve. They do sell some soft drinks as well as packets of chips, just in case you or your kids aren't into scones.
There's plenty of parking available, there are very clean toilets just behind the School Master's House (which don't have a baby change table), and all of the outdoor area is easy to access with a pram. And of course there's plenty of room for the kids to run around and play hide & seek, whilst you enjoy your cuppa and scones.
After your visit to the Schoolmaster's House, make sure you continue your explore of this part of the Hawkesbury. We recommend heading back out of Ebenezer village towards Tizzana Rd. If you follow this road you will pass wineries and lush farmland, and then you will end up at the Sackville Ferry where you can cross the mighty river on a car ferry (the kids will love this!). You can then drive home, or venture further out towards Wiseman's Ferry - we love the Wiseman's Ferry Inn for a cool drink, and bite to eat too!
So next time you need a good dose of fresh air, or a country drive, go to Ebenezer. Enjoy the country hospitality and learn about some of Australia's history at the same time - your body, mind and soul will thank you for it!
95 Coromandel Rd, Ebenezer NSW
02 4579 9350
Open 7 days 10am - 3pm
(closed over the Christmas period & Good Friday)
Little Munchers, we're a tad excited to tell you about our latest discovery! It's a bit of a hidden gem in Waterloo, and it has quite a few kid friendly features, and loads and loads of the most delicious sweet treats that you will ever see! Without further ado, let us introduce you to La Renaissance Patisserie and Cafe.
If you have visited The Rocks before, you may have been to La Renaissance in Argyle St. Well this is its sister patisserie, and it still sells all of the same divine looking and tasting tarts, cakes and other baked delights. But this venue has so much more space, and it is a lot quieter so you don't have fight with the hordes of tourists for a table, like you have to in The Rocks.
And this is why I like the Waterloo venue so much - the space! You coud easily fit a whole herd of prams in here, so it is an ideal venue to catch up with your Mums Group. The access into the cafe is also very easy with a pram and there are high chairs, in case you need to restrain any little ones. The toilets are located upstairs (there is also a lift in case you want to take your pram up). And yes there's a baby change table!
La Renaissance is actually located in the PYD Building in Waterloo, which is an Interior Design Centre, and home to some very luxe looking businesses. There's parking available in the building's carpark, as well as a decent amount of street parking. Once you are inside the patisserie, you pay and order at the front counter, and you will find a large menu hanging on the side wall.
The major drawcard foodwise at La Renaissance is definitely all of the delish sweet treats, but they have a very reasonably priced savoury selection of food as well. I don't think that there are many places in Sydney where you can have Avo Smash with 2 Poached Eggs on Sourdough for $11.00! And their Croque Monsieur is perfect, as is the Pork, Veal & Fennel Sausage Roll.
La Renaissance doesn't have a dedicated kids menu, however there are loads of options for kids to eat - Fruit Salad, Banana Bread, Toast & Jam, Eggs on Toast etc.
And of course they will love all of the sweet stuff on offer - the petit tarts are a good option for small bellies (or those of us who may be "dieting").
Now on to the all important coffee! It's perfectly brewed and also perfectly presented! They use Little Marionette Coffee, and if you are a caffeine addict, you will be tempted to have more than one, that's for sure. There are also babycinos for our bambinos, as well as juices, soft drinks and of course table water.
So Little Munchers, next time you need to catch up with your mum pack, or your friends with offspring, we can thoroughly recommend La Renaissance in Waterloo. Make sure however that no one is on a diet, because it would be cruel to subject them to the beauty of all those sweet treats!
Shop 1, 197 Young St Waterloo
02 9241 4878
Mon - Fri: 8.30am - 5.00pm
Sat: 9am - 5pm
Sun: 9am - 4pm
Last year we made the trek to Wetherill Park to check out the amazing XS Espresso that had the social media world in a spin, due to their incredible mega shakes. Upon departure from the cafe, I was quite relieved that we didn't live close by, as I knew we would be there all the time inhaling their calorific beauties. Unfortunately less than 6 months later, XS Espresso decided to expand their business, and they set up shop less than a ten minute drive from our house, in North Parramatta! And yes we sadly go there too often now, and as a result I've increased the number of stretchy pants that make themselves at home in my wardrobe!
The XS Espresso in North Parramatta can be found in the outdoor Junction Shopping Centre which is on Windsor Road (near the corner of James Ruse Drive). There's plenty of parking available, the cafe is kind of pram friendly, but don't bring a whole tribe of pramsters with you, as there isn't enough space to fit too many around a table. You can choose to sit inside or out, but this cafe is seriously busy most of the time, so arrive early as they don't take bookings. There are a couple of high chairs, and the staff are very friendly and efficient, and are always welcoming of kids.
They serve a strong brew of Campos coffee at XS Espresso, which is perfect to jolt bleary eyed parents awake first thing in the morning (the coffee machine is fired up from 7am each day), and their babycino is a delight - pure froth, chocolate coated and sprinkled with 100s & 1000s. There's also an excellent range of cold pressed juices if you would prefer your little ones to ingest have something healthier.
Obviously they have their range of megashakes available, as well as seriously decadent cronuts. And recently we've discovered their baby gaytime donuts, which are a little burst of deliciousness in the mouth. Everything is presented beautifully, and you can feast on these delights until 10pm each night!
It's not all about the decadent treats at XS Espresso as there's also a savoury menu available, which has heaps of delish choices for both breakfast and lunch (their salads are healthy and seriously tasty, as is their version of avo smash). And the savoury items also receive the same attention to detail with their presentation as the sweet stuff does. There's not a dedicated kids menu here, but there are items that kids will eat such as banana bread and toast for brekkie (which we make the boys have as they drool over the cronut cabinet!). Or perhaps your kidlets could share a meal, such as bacon & eggs, burgers or pasta.
I've also discovered recently that there's actually another XS Espresso located in the heart of Parramatta on Eat Street (Church St), so I'm thinking that their must be an increase in the sale of stretchy pants throughout Parramatta at the moment! So my dear parents, make sure you don't wear your skinny jeans when visiting, and enjoy this decadently delicious cafe x
Shop 9A, 2 Windsor Rd, North Parramatta
02 9890 9229
Open 7 days 7am - 10pm
Wet'n'Wild in Western Sydney, is a wonderful water playground where you could literally play all day if you have enough energy! But what can you eat when you get there, to keep that energy going?
The Village Bean
My first recommendation when you arrive is to go and grab yourself a coffee from their new cafe - the Village Bean. I was actually a bit shocked to find a cafe onsite, I thought it was going to be all fast food/canteen style type of grub. So to be able to grab a decent coffee and even a slice of yummy cake was a big surprise. The cafe is down near the beach area and besides coffee, they serve tea, chai lattes, hot chocolates, frappes and more. There are lovely looking slices of cake like banana and carrot cake, as well as caramel slices to satisfy your sweet tooth. And there are wraps, pies, quiches and other snacks to have, if you are after a savoury item. All of these items were usual cafe prices.
Lil Fins Kids Cafe
This is the first eatery that you come across when you enter Wet'n'Wild. It's near the Nicolodeon Beach area where your smaller kids will want to hang out, so it makes an easy option for lunch. They sell everything from popcorn to sausage rolls, and even wicked looking oreo churros. There are ham & cheese sandwiches, as well as chicken and lettuce ones, plus a few other selections. You can grab something quick and easy to take back to where you kidlets are playing, or you can eat it at one of the tables provided.
We all went for hot diggity dogs for lunch from Lil Fins. It was a quick, easy and pretty tasty lunch, that the lads wolfed down before heading back to the action. A full range of soft drinks are available, and even coffee if you need another one. All of the food items cost below $10.00, so a family of 4 can have something to eat and drink for about 50 bucks.
The Promenade Dining
This seemed to be the most popular place for WetnWilders to eat at! I think that's because you can get your fast food fix here like hot chips, burgers and pizza. They also have a kids lunch box for $17.00. For this price kids receive a Wet'n'Wild lunch box that has a burger, fries and drink in it. The prices aren't exactly cheap here, but that is typical of all theme parks. The overcast day we visited, the queues were quite short, but I can imagine in peak periods you might have to wait a while to get yourself some hot chippies.
The Surf Club Restaurant
Sadly this was closed the day we visited, which was a shame, as it's where I would have preferred to dine for lunch. It's upstairs from the beach, and it apparently has a Tex Mex inspired menu. Oh well there's always next time!
If you are a bit cashed up, you can pay to access Wet'n'Wild's premium air conditioned lounge called Club W. This costs $30.00 per person for everyone aged over 3 years. This price includes your own "pod" to sit in which can seat 8 people, as well as unlimited tea, coffee and water all day, as well as snacks. You can charge your phone here (in case your battery has gone flat from the numerous selfies you've been taking), make use of the private bathrooms and also leave your possesions here whilst you go out and play. When the belly starts to rumble, you can order food (which you pay for) to be delivered straight to your pod. Some of the offerings include cheese and antipasto platters, dips and breads, as well as fish and chips and gourmet sandwiches.
When you are in need of a sugar fix, it's time to hit Sweet Treats. In here you can have a soft serve yoghurt and toppings, or a more decadent donut cone filled with soft serve ice cream!! There's also a help yourself lolly bar as well - so don't take your kids in here unless you are in a treating mood. We actually used this as a bribe to get our kids out of Wet'n'Wild, otherwise we would have been there until way after sunset!
There are also GrabnGo Kiosks around the place where you can grab frozen cokes and the like, to cool you down on a hot summer's day.
You can take some of your own snacks into Wet'n'Wild, and of course all of your own baby food. I took bottled water and a few packs of crackers and chips for the boys, as well as some fruit, and had no issues at all. Security do check your bags as you walk in, so if you try to sneak a whole picnic lunch and bottle of vino, just be warned that you may have to take it back to your car. There are quite a few different areas with loads of seating for you to eat your food too.
Throughout Wet'n'Wild there are numerous toilets and showers, as well as baby change tables. There's even sunscreen dispensers near the loos in case you forgot to pack any. The entire park is pram friendly (they also have strollers for hire). There are small lockers for hire, in case you want to store your posessions whilst you swim as well. There's plenty of seating everywhere, and I was really surprised at how tidy and clean the whole park was. For more info on our visit to Wet'N'Wild, click here.
427 Reservoir Rd, Prospect NSW
13 33 86
It's not too often that we discover a cafe that is seriously pram friendly. A place where access is easy, as is the parking of your pram near your table, and also the opportunity of having more than 1 pram being able to fit around the table. So my dear pramsters, you'll be happy to know that the delightful Cove Dining Co in Abbotsford is so darn pram friendly, that you'll probably end up dining there on a regular basis with your brood!
The Cove Dining Co reminds me of a place you would find in the country. From the heritage building, to the ad hoc rustic furniture, to the vegie patch out the front, to the charming interior (which is almost the size of an old community hall), there's a definite country charm about this joint.
Let's get the nitty gritty sorted straight away, shall we. There's a decent amount of parking available on the street (well there was when we arrived at 8.30am on a weekend). There are plenty of high chairs available, the toilets are located inside and contain a baby change table, and you have to order and pay at the front counter. And most importantly - the coffee is excellent. It's Campos, so of course it is.
The morning we dined for breakfast, we chose to sit inside, but I noticed that most families sat out on the verandah so that their kidlets could run around on the gorgeous grassy area out the back. If the weather is a bit grim, and you end up inside (and you've forgotten to pack any activities for the kids), there are activity packs for sale near the front counter.
Kiddies have their own menu and the staff were accommodating when we requested to change a few things. At breakfast time the options are a boiled egg & toast ($6); pancakes with maple syrup ($6); or scrambled egg & bacon on toast ($8). And if you really want to treat your bambinos, they can always have one of the most incredible looking home made donuts that I have ever seen. These can be found sitting on the front counter.
At lunch time, little bellies can be filled wih a cheese toasty ($6); pasta with tomato sauce ($8); pasta & meatballs ($10); burger & fries ($10); crumbed chicken & fries ($12) or crumbed fish & fries ($14) - it's great to see so much choice. There are babycinos, milkshakes and juices available for kids, as well as table water to satisfy their thirst.
Parentals may find it difficult deciding what to eat off the big people's menu. All of your cafe favourites are covered, but with a delicious twist. You can have something basic like toast and spreads, or more substantial items like hot cakes, croque madames and house made muesli with rhubarb. Actually quite a few of The Cove's menu items are made inhouse - smoked bacon & trout for example, as well as the most delicious banana bread that will ever hit your lips (and hips!). Now the menu does verge on the expensive side, but the portion sizes are decent and the food is incredibly tasty. And if you want quality, you have to pay for it.
There's a delightful little market stall set up in the front corner of the cafe. It sells everything from fresh flowers, to cards, and other crafty items. You can even pick up some of The Cove's house made foodie products - it's very hard to leave empty handed.
So my dear parents, when you need to catch up with your fellow breeders, be sure to have The Cove Dining Co, at the top of your list and you won't even have to think twice about taking your pram!
378 Great North Rd, Abbotsford
Tel: 02 9713 7896
Mon - Fri: 7am - 3pm
Sat - Sun: 8am 3pm
It had been a long time between drinks when we visited the Woolwich Pier Hotel recently. Pre-kidlets this place was where we'd have an occasional long lunch with mates up on the top verandah of the pub. A time when we ate our meal whilst it was still warm, and a time when we definitely didn't have any concerns about our glass of Savvy B being bowled over for a duck, by a plastic ball.
Fast forward 8 odd years and we are back in our old stomping ground, but this time we are sitting downstairs and out the back in the "kids area," eating salad as we know it won't go cold, and holding onto our glass of vino for dear life, in case it gets knocked over by a random ball being kicked by an uncoordinated little person!
Every Saturday from 1pm - 3pm, the Woolwich Pier kindly provides kids entertainment to give parents a bit of a breather from parenting. The lawn area under the beautiful old fig tree in the beer garden area of the pub, is where it all happens. On the day we visited two lovely young lasses were in charge of the entertainment. They turned out some amazing face painting and tattoos, and also played a few games with the kids.
The soccer match was perhaps not the most brilliant idea although, as there were a few balls flying through the air which ocassionaly made a drink fly through the air too (or is this just a secret ploy of the pub to get you to buy more drinks!). It doesn't really matter, as the lads had a great time and only came back to our table when they were thirsty.
There's also a little TV area down here too, where kids can chill out and watch movies, whilst they wait for their meal to arrive. They can either eat their lunch/dinner on the tables provided, or back at your table. Just to let you know, tables can be a bit hard to come by at the Woolwich Pier on a Saturday because of the kids entertainment, so I would suggest that you arrive early to nab a decent spot, or leave it until after 2 pm to arrive - that way you won't have to queue too long for your Savvy B either!
The Kids Meals all cost $12.00 and are for kids aged under 12 years. The choices are:
The big human's menu covers all of your posh pub grub favourites. There are various flavours of Sliders and Tostadas, as well as Ponzu and Arancini. And of course there are Steaks in various forms. And for those of us who can't carnivore in the middle of the day, there are Salads. The Trout Salad, despite not presenting particularly well, was very tasty but perhaps a tad on the small side to line the belly adequately for those that can still imbibe in a few too many vinos in the middle of the day.
To finish up, let's talk about the nitty gritty. Yes - you can take your pram along as there is easy access into the Lawn area for it. However if you arrive when the place is heaving, you may find it difficult to park it near your table (mid week this won't be an issue). There are high chairs, and there are toilet facilites available (including a change table). Parking can be a challenge on weekends, but in saying that we scored one easily right in front of the pub!
So my dear parents, do you still frequent pubs with your progeny that you used to hang out in, back in your single as a pringle days?
2 Gale St, Woolwich NSW
02 9817 2204
Open 7 days for lunch & dinner
If you were going to open a kid friendly cafe what would you call it?
I think the smartest cafe name we have come across to date is The Coffee Playground - a new cafe in West Ryde. Because it's what every bleary eyed parents wants - coffee and a playground. And the google search results will no doubt be outstanding!
You will find The Coffee Playground on Ryedale Rd in West Ryde, just opposite the West Ryde Train Station. And yes the cafe does have a playground, and yes the cafe does serve excellent coffee! The Little Beans Playground is inside the cafe down one side, and it's best for small humans aged under 5 years. It has things to climb up and slide down, tunnels to crawl through and wall mounted puzzles to play with. So your little people should have loads of fun in here. I actually did the let the boys have a quick road test of it (with the approval of the owner of course) when there weren't any little ones using it, just to make sure it met with the Little Munch standard - and it does!
From your table within the cafe you have full sight of the playground which will not doubt impress weary parents. Pram access is very easy into the cafe, however if the cafe was pumping it may be difficult to find a space to park tractor size prams near where you are sitting. There are high chairs, and there's an excellent loo at the back of the cafe, complete with a baby change table. Overlooking the whole cafe is the lady below - she features in a grafitti mural on the back wall which gives the cafe space, a somewhat inner city feel.
Kids have their own menu at lunch time at The Coffee Playground, and for breakfast there are quite a few options suitable for them on the main menu. Toast and spreads for example, or eggs on toast or banana bread. There are also muffins and other pastries available that they may like. At lunch time kidlets can munch away on Beef & Chicken Sliders ($10), Mac & Cheese ($8.50) or a range of Toasted Sandwiches ($6.50).
The adults menu at The Coffee Playground is very reasonably priced in comparison to most cafes we eat at these days. I can thoroughly recommend the Haloumi Stack for breakfast which will only set you back $12.50! You will find haloumi, roasted tomatoes, spinach, parmsean, pesto and perfectly poached eggs perched on top of a slice of toasted sourdough - so good and so delicious. The Eggs on Toast with a side of bacon, is also another great way to kick off your morning, and this only costs $9.50. If you prefer a sweet start to your day, there are also House Made Waffles, French Toast and a Smoothie Bowl to satisfy your sweet craving.
At lunch time you can fill your bellies with very healthy sound salads, wraps, sandwiches, burgers (including a naked burger), as well as more substantial dishes like Fish of the Day or a Crusted Chicken Breast with pumpkin mash and greens. And if you need a sweet treat to finish off your meal, just check out the front cake cabinet to see what the daily offering is.
The caffeine for the parentals is on point - nice and strong without being too bitter. They use Di Bella coffee beans and I was glad to see that they only charge $3.50 for a coffee. So many places these days are charging north of $4.00 for a regular size, which is making my caffeine addiction a tad expensive!
Babycinos will cost you a buck, and they are perfectly made. A disposable cup is full of froth and there are real chocolate flakes on top and the obligatory marshmallow is on the side. It even comes with a little plastic spoon and a napkin underneath, in case there are spillages - so simple and so easy, yet so many cafes have not mastered the craft of a babycino!
You can visit The Coffee Playground 7 days a week from early in the morning for your caffeine fix, and you can book a table during the week, even for your mums group. However on weekends they do not take bookings. As I mentioned before, they are just across from West Ryde Station, so there is a decent amount of both street and car park parking available. You can even see trains zoom by, in case you have any little trainspotters in your brood.
So my fellow parentals - have you come across a better name for a kid friendly cafe than The Coffee Playground?
67 Ryedale Rd, West Ryde NSW
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri: 6.30am - 3.00pm
Sat: 7am - 3pm
Sun: 8am - 3pm
If you've been reading Little Munch for a while, you would know that I'm fairly passionate about Western Sydney and all that it has to offer. But there's another gorgeous Mumma who is even more passionate than I am about the West of Sydney!
Little Munchers, please let me introduce you to Eleanor. This amazing chick created the Facebook page called Fun for Kids - Western Sydney. If there is something happening out here in the West, Eleanor knows about it. She has 32,000 plus followers on her page, she is a Mumma to 3 gorgeous kids, and she also has a day job - what a woman!
1. What area of Sydney do you live in and why?
I live in Western Sydney (Quakers Hill). I love where we live. Great local schools, shopping centres and playgrounds! Being close to the M7 is very handy. Means we able to get to the city within 30 mintues.
2. What do you do for a living?
I work for a Market Research Company at Castle Hill. We pay people to try new products.
3. Where's your favourite neighbourhood gem/s that you dine at as a family?
We love Marayong Brewhouse for many reasons. Kids eat free on Sundays. They have a disco the 1st Friday of the month. They have a great outdoor playground and an indoor jumping castle. Oh and the food is delicious.
Windsor. Windsor is one of our favourite place to go with friends. A great variety of cafes and takeaway shops. Take a picnic rug and sit in the well shaded park and relax.
4. Any tips for parents of small kids on how to have a relaxing eating out experience?
I have a 4 ,6 and 8 year old I ALWAYS have colouring pencils and paper in my hand bag. It keeps them happy and hubby and I can have a chat. We recently purchased the small board games from the Telegraph. They have been great to take to resturants with us lately.
5. Where is your favourite playground for kids in Western Sydney and where can you grab a coffee close by?
Our favourite playground in Western Sydney would have to be Blacktown Showground. A fantastic water play area and playground. The new cafe is amazing. Also the Ponds Park on Pebble Crescent, The Ponds. It has sheltered seating, bbqs, a path for the kids to ride their bikes around. There is a small shopping centre next door with several great cafes. My children love (I would go as far as saying obsessed) with Aqua Golf as Penrith. We love to go on the weekend and have a hit then wander up to Harry Cafe de Wheels for a pie or hotdog.
Thank you so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to chat with us Eleanor. I'm certainly going to take the lads to the Aqua Golf in Penrith soon, and also for a pie at Harry's Cafe de Wheels (can you believe we've never eaten at a Harrys before!).
Little Munchers make sure you follow Fun for Kids - Western Sydney. It lists all of the awesome things happening in Western Sydney, as well as tells you about playgrounds, fairs, fetes and special deals happening in the West!
When it comes to household management, I'm pretty useless. We are constantly running out of milk and bread, and I always forget to defrost the chook for dinner. My patient husband continually shakes his head in disbelief that the woman he married has no household management skills in any shape or form. So when an IGA opened up, less than a 3 minute walk from our house (and it also just happened to serve Campos coffee), it was as if the hubster had conspired with the Gods to ensure that there was always going to be food in our cupboards.
When Mint Fresh first swung open its doors it was basically a small supermarket with an excellent deli and fruit & veg section. They also had a coffee machine where customers could grab an expertly brewed Campos coffee to go, after they had finished their shopping. But then we the customers, started asking for snacks to go with our coffee and the charming owners obliged. And now those snacks have evolved into full on, sit down, cafe meals!
So sometimes you might find us there at day break (the cafe now opens at 7am) because I figure if there isn't any milk at home for my morning coffee, I can just go down there and get a barista brewed one! The boys don't mind coming along either, as there is a blackboard to keep them occupied whilst I drink my beloved brew. And if I'm feeling like a particularly #badmom, I can order them some fairy bread or nutella soldiers for breakfast whilst we are there (please don't tell the parenting police).
Some other choices on the kids menu include choc chip pancakes (we haven't tried those yet) and scrambled eggs on toast. And at lunch time there are jurassic nuggets & chippies and a cheeseburger. The kids menu ranges in price from $6.00 - $9.00 and it can be washed down with table water, babycinos, freshly squeezed juices, milo & milk or milkshakes.
My favourite dish from the breakfast menu is the avocado on toast. The sourdough bread is courtesy of Brasserie Bread (you can buy a selection of their breads from the supermarket section as well) and it is topped with mashed avo, tomato, fetta andd zaatar - I personally don't think you can have a better way to start the day. And my second favourite is the lovely looking muesli with yoghurt and fresh fruit - this huge bowl of deliciousness will keep you full for most of the day.
The frustrated husband likes to go for the eggs on toast with a side of bacon, as the eggs are poached to perfection and you receive a generous serve of bacon as well. On the side is a tasty little tomato and radish salad with a magnificant vinigarette. There are also 3 different types of bacon & egg rolls as well as ricotta pancakes, muesli, and healthy sounding options for the gym junkies amongst you. Actually the menu is marked to show which menu items are gluten free, dairy free and healthy heart options!
At lunch time you can have everything from a deli roll or a deli salad, to a calorific cheeseburger dripping with goodness. The lunch menu is very reasonable in comparison to a lot of cafes in the Hills District, it ranges in price from $9.00 - $17.00. The deli rolls are a great choice for a quick meal and can be ordered for takeaway, as can most of the meals from the cafe.
The one dish that you all must try from the current menu is the the prawn salad. It not only looks exquisite, but it tastes sublime, and it costs only $14.00. The base is a mixture of Israeli cous cous, grapefruit, almonds and asparagus, then it is topped with perfectly cooked prawns, edible flowers, microherbs and a zesty dressing. This my friends is the best dish I've eaten at lunch time EVER!
If you are just after a coffee and a sweet treat, Mint Fresh stock a delcious range of naughties from Dolcettini in Dural and gourmet baker Georgie Baker. I quite often see gorgeous young Mummas sitting around with their besties doing coffee and cake when I'm running in for some grocery item I've forgotten yet again. You can access the cafe easily with your pram (use the ramp near the hairdressers next to Mint Fresh), and my advice is to sit at one of the tables along the verandah - the tables right in front of the main doors can be hard to navigate with a pram, especially if the cafe is packed. High chairs are in abundance and if you need to use the loo, they are downstairs in the carpark.
Before you leave make sure your check out the supermarket. The have a fantastic range of cheeses and meats in the deli - and they let you try before you buy! The fruit and veg section is really cheap, as are their fresh flowers. There's also an interesting selection of gourmet foods as well as your standard grocery items..... that reminds me I need to pop down there now, and grab something for dinner!
Shop 1, 30 - 32 Arthur St, Baulkham Hills
02 9686 7064
Open 7 days
Cafe from 7am - 4pm
Store from 8am - 8pm
We fell a little bit in love with Lil Miss Collins when it first popped up in Prince Alfred Park in Parramatta earlier this year, and were saddened when it closed its doors. But now we are all happy again because she has popped up in the lovely surrounds of Bella Vista Farm, in a space that was crying out for a cafe. And Lil Miss Collins looks right at home that's for sure!
The Lil Miss Collin's farmhouse is the same as before, but there is just a lot more room now at Bella Vista Farm. Tables and chairs, as well as old fashioned lounges and hay bales are scattered around under the shade of the surrounding trees. It's very peaceful here - the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of neighbouring Norwest Business Park. And the best bit is that there is heaps of space for kids to run around. Apparently there is even a kids play set, although I didn't spy it in action.
There's full table service with the same lovely owner delivering a warm welcome to all of the diners at Lil Miss Collins. You can easily bring your pram along and park it right next to where you sit, as there is so much space. High chairs are also available if you need them. The toilet facilites are close by - they don't contain a baby change table, but there's heaps of space to get your pram into the disabled loo.
You're also allowed to bring your fur baby! So you don't have to leave pooch at home and there are a few different spots where you can tie them up in case they get too frisky with any of the other canine visitors at Lil Miss Collins.
Your babies without fur, have their very own menu (see below) and there are babycinos, nutella hot chocolates, milkshakes and cold pressed juices available for them to slurp on. They are also serving up 2 mega shakes. The first is called Choc of Block. It is full of oreos, chocolate ice cream, milk & tim tams, and it's topped with whipped cream and oreos. Then there is the Nutella Tower. Nutella, peanut butter, milk and vanilla ice cream make up this baby, and it's topped with a nutella scroll drizzled with yet more nutella! I'm thinking these would make a great treat for kidlets to share after school or on the weekend. Lil Miss Collins is open from 8am - 4pm every day!
The food for grown ups is a bit delish. The Farmer's Stack is a great way to start the day. Scrambled eggs with gruyere, mushies, wilted spinach and tomato relish on crunchy bread, combine together perfectly. The Granola sounds awesome, as does the Smashed Avo (although it comes with green peas and as I've had an aversion to these since being forced fed them as a child, I won't be sampling it). At lunch time salad lovers are certain to enjoy the various choices - Grilled Chicken Pesto or Grilled Haloumi with spiced peanuts, labne & roasted pumpkin; or Roasted Beetroot with mograbiah and dill infused yoghurt. And if you have a fella in your life who just needs to wrap his chops around a big burger, they are also on the menu.
On the front table where you pay, there is a selection of sweet treats that will go perfectly with a coffee or a T2 tea. Scrolls, slices and muffins are in the mix. I'm also thinking that Lil Miss Collins would be the perfect spot to bring a bottle of vino to, so that you can enjoy a lazy weekend lunch too!
If you need to stretch your legs after your meal from Lil Miss Collins, take the fambam for a wander around the farm. Most of the the important buildings are fenced off but you can still see though it. There is a beautiful old homestead, farm sheds from yesteryear and also some sheep! I didn't realise that sheep actually lived on Bella Vista Farm, and between you and me I think they are due for a hair cut before the weather gets too warm out here in north west Sydney. The homestead and surrounding buildings are only open to the public on the first Sunday of each month, however the rest of Bella Vista Farm including the picnic/bbq shelters are open 7 days a week.
When you visit Lil Miss Collins, it feels as though you are visiting your friends in the country. It's so homely and welcoming and let me tell you, this country girl felt as though she was back home on the farm when she visited. As a result, you'll be sure to find me and my "Mum Pack" at Lil Miss Collins quite often over the next few months - it's only popping up at Bella Vista Farm until 28 February 2017.
So I suppose the big question is, where will Lil Miss Collins pop up next?
Bella Vista Farm
Cnr Norwest Blvd & Elizabeth Macarthur Dr
Bella Vista NSW
Open 7 days 8am - 4pm