Sydney has loads of family friendly pubs, especially out in my backyard of Sydney - the Hills District. However surprisingly, the Eastern Suburbs only have a handful. But there's a new kid on the block and I think you are all going to like it. Little Munchers please let me introduce you to the 'Backyard Italian' which has just recently swung open its doors in the old Glasshouse Hotel in Maroubra Junction.
The Backyard Italian is located on the very busy Anzac Parade, but don't worry, there is heaps of parking just around the corner in Green St. If you have a pram or are wearing ultra high heels, I recommend that you enter the Backyard Italian from the lifts in the carpark. There is a big set of stairs going down into the Backyard from the main entrance on Anzac Parade, which may be tricky to lugg a pram up and down, and those steps also pose some horizontal challenges for your Jimmy Choos!
Once you are inside the Backyard Italian you will be directed to the Family Room if you are dining with kidlets. The Backyard Italian is inspired by long meals in the backyard of your neighbours or nonna's house. A place where everyone turns up to relax, chew the fat over a beer or two, and enjoy good food whilst the kids play. And this is exactly what happens in the "Family Room" at the Backyard.
The Backyard Italian has a few different spaces. The Family Room is for those of us who are dining with kids. This area is seperated from the rest of the Backyard by big glass doors. It kind of reminds me of Christmas time, when all the extended fambam arrives and there is one table for the grown ups and the other for the kids. Out in the main part of the Backyard is where all of the grown ups (without kids) sit. There are bright stripey cane lounges, a backyard fence, faux grass and olive trees, as well as murals all over the walls depicting scenes of Sydney backyards, complete with the flying kangaroo in the sky. Dad even has his own shed out here, actually it's called the Tin Shed and it's a dining space for over 16's.
In the Family Dining Room there is a cute kids play area that has an ocean theme, complete with a pirate ship! There is also a TV in this room for children to watch. And there's a fish & chip shop out in the dining area too, where little ones can kick start their hospitality training! Coming in the near future will be face painting, an animal farm and also a disco just for kidlets - the disco ball is already in place and was spinning around when we dined at lunch time on a Sunday. So our little people are well looked after that's for sure.
Other family friendly amenities in the family room include excellent toilet facilites complete with a baby change table, high chairs, and plenty of space to park your pram. There's also a bar in here (which isn't always open) and there's a self help water station on the bar too. If the bar is closed you have to go out to the main bar to order your drinks, and then spearately to the main bistro area to order your food. The waitstaff will bring the food to your table in the Family Room when it is ready.
Ankle Biters have their very own menu which is great value at $10.00, as it includes the meal, a soft drink and a tub of gelato. The meals include Penne with Bolognaise or Boscaiola Sauce, Crumbed Chicken Tenders with Chips, or Battered Fish & Chips. Our lads sampled the Bolognaise and the Chicken Tenders. Firstly, the Bologniase is sublime. My spag bol made with a jar of Dolmio just doesn't compare, probably beacuse the Backyard's version is just how Nonna would make it - a beautiful slow cooked ragu oozing with tender pulled meat in a delicious rich tomato sauce. And the Tenders were seriously tender and crunchy, and most definitely weren't just pulled out of the deep freeze by the chef and thrown into the deep fryer, as so many pubs like to do.
The soft drink included in the price comes in a kid friendly melamine cup, and kidlets can choose between vanilla or chocolate gelato for their sweet treat at the end of the meal.
The day we dined at the Backyard Italian there was a huge Italian family also lunching and they ordered up big, especially loads of the share plates which included Bruschetta, Calamari, Arancini, Olives and Anchovies (that are served straight from the tin with crusty bread and sun dried tomatoes). They were obviously going to graze the afternoon away, and when we visit again that is exactly what we'll do, as all of the share plates looked amazing.
The rest of the menu at the Backyard Italian covers all of your Italian favourites with a few good old Aussie favourites thrown in for good measure. There are all sorts of Pastas and Pizzas (we can defintely recommend the Spaghetti Marinara and also the Supreme Pizza that has an extra crispy base) as well as healthy sounding Salads, Parmigianas and loads of different protein dishes - Lamb Shanks, Peroni Battered Fish & Chips, Slow Roasted Pork Belly, and Steaks. The main menu ranges in price from $15 - $28, and from Wed - Fri they have Express Lunches for $12.
So parents of the Eastern suburbs of Sydney, you now have another excellent family friendly joint to hang out with your fellow breeders. Mid week it's the perfect spot to catch up with your mums group for lunch and a sneaky vino, and on weekends you can gather the extended fambam together and have a long lazy lunch Italian style in someone else's backyard, that way no one needs to wash up!
So my dear Little Munchers, what's your favourite kid friendly pub in the East? Is there some hidden gem that we don't all know about??
832 Anzac pde, Maroubra NSW
02 9314 1800
Open 7 days from 12.00pm
Bookings recommended on weekends!