In the twelve months that Little Munch has been reviewing child friendly places to eat in Sydney, we have not been to one Club - which is very neglectful of us. Clubs are just so darn family friendly. When I was a child, if we ever went out to dinner, it was always to the local club. It was actually a bit of a treat for all of us to go into town to the Club for dinner - the Wauchope RSL was its name. We would eat dinner, Dad would treat us to a fire engine (lemonade and grenadine) and then we would be given a handful of 20c pieces and off we would go and play the Pacman machine in the foyer whilst Mum and Dad had a good gossip with the locals - such good memories.
Fast forward 30 odd years and now I have my own little family and to be honest, we don't eat at Clubs that often. However we do drive pass the Baulkham Hills Sports Club regularly and from their perch in the back seat my little bull's beady little eyes always spy the above scene. A brightly coloured playground similar to those at Maccas, poking above the fence. We have been nagged relentlessly to stop so that they can have a play, but we have always said NO, as we are normally in a rush to get somewhere. Last Sunday however we relented and said, sure why not - that may also have had to do with the fact that I had read recently that kids dine for free at Sunday lunch in the Club's restaurant!
Being a typical Club if you live within a 5km radius you need to either be a member or be dining with a member to enter the Baulkham Hills Sport Club. Membership can be organised on the spot and it costs $12.00 for 12 months or $30.00 for 3 years. The Club is actually owned by Bankstown Sports Club so you have access to this Club as well when you are a member, as well as the Birrong Sports Club.
Whilst we were signing in we lost the little bulls. Being the very clever spies that they are, they had discovered how to get into the playground area and were in there rearing to go. The playground is located in an outdoor area similar to a beer garden.The area is covered with large white umbrellas and at the end of this is where the secure playground is. The playground doesn't have any protection from the sun so it does get quite warm in there on a hot summers day. In an attempt to cool things down, cool mist is sprayed out of jets located around the outdoor area. The boys had great fun hopping, climbing, sliding and playing whilst we sat back with a cool beverage and enjoyed being misted!
Something I need to flag with you is that there is a smoking area located in the vicinity of the playground - probably not the smartest idea in planning their lovely outdoor area!
After their play, the boys were famished, so we headed inside to score them a free meal. The Gallery Restaurant is large and very pram friendly. Loads of high chairs are available. Reservations on weekends are recommended but we didn't have any issue waltzing in and nabbing a table. You order and pay at the counter and your meals are promptly bought out which is great when feeding children. If you would prefer your kids to continue playing whilst you eat, you can also choose to eat in the outdoor area, you just grab a buzzer when you place your order. If you aren't dining at lunch or dinner, you can order bar snacks as well as coffee and cake throughout the day from the bar inside the Club.
The kids menu is typical of what you find in most places. The special Sunday lunch deal of "kids eat for free" comes with a couple of caveats of course! A maximum of two kids meals are free and adults must order a meal worth at least $20.00 to receive one kids meal on the house. The $10.50 meal with ice cream and topping doesn't apply with the freebie deal and you won't receive the complimentary colouring-in pack if your meal is free.
We ordered the boys the Cheese Burger and Tempura Flounder. They were for free as we had spent over $40.00 on our own meals. The portion sizes were huge! The boys could not even finish half of their meals, so in future I will only order 1 meal to share between them.
The cheeseburger was a wee bit dry - it most definitely needed to be squeezed with some sauce, but the chips were great, really nice and crunchy. Likewise the flounder was perfectly crunchy with lovely flaky flesh inside.
For adults the menu is also typical of most club/pub fare. We had the Chicken Parmigiana ($21.50) which was massive and served with a large side of chips and salad and the Stuffed Chicken Breast ($25.50). Chicken Breast is always a bit of risk to order as if it is overcooked it can be dry and tasteless and sadly the one we were served was most definitely overcooked. The accompanying basil cream sauce did compensate somewhat. I should mention that the menu has an excellent variety of gluten free dishes and they are marked as being so, to make choosing easier for you.
From my perch inside the restaurant I spied an Xbox/play station thingy which is available for kids to use, luckily the little bulls weren't tall enough to see this, otherwise we wouldn't have seen them for the whole meal.
For your drinks you order them at the Club bar. Interestingly for such a family friendly Club they don't serve kids size drinks. The boys lemonade came is schooner glasses which are really too large for them to handle and of course we had a major spillage when one was knocked over by little fingers. If you prefer your kids just to drink water, there is a help yourself drink station at the end of the bar.
I think a perfect Sunday afternoon would be to go to the Baulkham Hills Sports Club with some friends who also have kids, have a few cool ales, a few bar snacks and kick back for the afternoon in the outdoor area whilst your kids are in the playground. Like wise on a weekday morning this area is a great spot for parents to catch up and have a coffee and piece of cake whilst the kids are playing.
By the way, on your way out I wish you luck trying to get past the M&Ms/skittles/jelly bean vending machine. The little bulls insisted that they have some as they had missed out on ice cream for dessert, so yet again we relented and they got a the bottom of a cup full of sweeties each - spoilt rotten aren't they!
So tell me dear parents, did you go to Clubs growing up and do you take your kiddliwinks to them now?
(probably should be 5 lollipops, BUT that smoking area....)
11 Renown Rd
Baulkham Hills NSW 2153
Open 7 days