Do you have a sister? An older more glamorous sister? Well one of our favourite family friendly pubs does - The Australian Hotel & Brewery - and boy is she glamorous! Just take a look at her please - moody lighting, chandeliers, drapes, towering floral arrangements, wing back chairs, animal heads and decadent booze. She's like a mix between a hunting lodge and a fashionable night club and she is located right in the business hub of Bella Vista.
I've been reading about the Bella Vista Hotel for quite a while now on social media. I've seen photos of glamorous soirées, high teas and big nights out for stylish lads and lasses, it's the sort of place you go for some bubbles with your besties and I've been very keen to try it out. It's the sort of place that I wouldn't have thought would tick many of the Little Munch child friendly boxes but guess what she actually does! So I tried the Bella out last weekend and not with my besties but with my boys for breakfast on Sunday morning and I have to say that yes she is glamorous, she's a wee bit expensive, but then again most glamorous things are and she she dishes out she some seriously good food!
The hotel has 3 different eating options - the Bistro, the Cafe and the Bella Shack. The bistro is where all of the main meals are created. The cafe is the place for a coffee and a snack and the shack is your place for some hot diggity dog action. The cafe and the bistro are inside the hotel and the shack is actually a food truck located out in the beer garden area of the Bella. So you can choose to sit inside or out and both areas are pram friendly. There is loads of parking - you can park literally outside the hotel or underneath it (there are however quite a few stairs that you have to climb to come up from the underground car park). It was a stinking hot day when we arrived at the Bella so we chose to sit inside in the lovely cool air-conditioning.
Sunday is the only morning that the Bella serves breakfast, it is served from 8am - 11am. The Bella was fairly quiet when we arrived at 9am, there were only a handful of other families dining. We were greeted by a friendly member of staff and advised that we could sit anywhere and to place our orders at the Bistro once we had our menu choice. The Bella has a dedicated kids menu and they also have a cake counter groaning with sweet treats. The boys had already eaten breakfast 3 hours earlier so they were after morning tea and they only had one thing on their mind - cupcakes!
They serve Roberto's cupcakes at the Bella. For those of you may have kidlets with gluten intolerance you need to know about Robertos! It is a bakery based in Rozelle that specialises in gluten free cakes. They are a tad on the expensive side but they are simply divine. The boys chose a chocolate cupcake with sprinkles and a salted caramel and banana cupcake. They were dense, moist and full of flavour. The Bella also had a basket of inhouse baked muffins that looked very appealing and they serve freshly squeezed juices (kids sizes are available) and they have a soft serve ice cream and frozen yoghurt machine!
The Bella cafe is a great place to meet up with friends for coffee and cake in the morning. Whether you sit inside or out there is enough space for prams and little ones to have a wander. There are also plenty of high chairs available. The disabled loo inside the hotel has a baby change table available, the loos are just near the animal heads on the wall. If you were to visit the Bella later in the day however, I would be conscious of other guests who may have come to the Bella for a meal or drink (without kids) and who may not be too impressed with any unruly children causing mayhem.
The breakfast menu for adults has 6 items on it ranging in price form $16 - $25. Their eggs, bread, milk, butter, and vegetables are organic and their bacon is free range. The most expensive item on the menu is the aptly named dish for a pub, the Hang Over. This dish has Black Forest bacon, eggs, chorizo, mushrooms, potato rosti and organic sourdough. Mr Munch had the Eggs Benedict with bacon which came on organic sour dough, the eggs were slightly over cooked for his liking but the hollandaise was excellent and they were very generous with the amount of bacon served.
I chose the winning dish however - the Cinnamon Spiced Brioche French Toast with vanilla mascarpone and wild berry compote ($16) and it was glorious! I'm more of a savoury gal normally at breakfast time but for some reason I decided to go sweet and I am so very glad I did. You all need to try this dish - the brioche was cooked perfectly and the combination of the vanilla mascarpone and and berries was to die for! Next time we go back for breakfast I'm keen to try the Avocado Bruschetta that is served with tomatoes, olives, basil and Persian fetta on ciabatta - also $16.00.
At lunch/dinner time, the menu gets quite "gastro pub" ish. You can have everything from freshly shucked oysters up to slow braised beef cheeks. Pizzas, salads and share plates are also available. I think if you are dining with kidlets at this time you are probably wiser to order something from the Bella Shack. They dish up hot dogs, burgers and fries and you can sit outside. If your kids are a bit older they can have a game of ping pong in the beer garden.
On the last Sunday of each month the Bella Markets are held in the outdoor area. There are all sorts of stalls selling clothing, gifts, arts & crafts and gourmet foods. They also have live music playing so I'm thinking that breakfast and a wander around the markets could be quite fun, that is of course if your kidlets are in a nice mood to let you have a decent wander! The Bella Vista Hotel also has its very own FB page for "not so average housewives"! The Bella Housewives will be keep you up to date with special events, competitions and gossip that is happening at the hotel, so if you believe you fit that category make sure you like the page.
So whilst the Bella Vista Hotel isn't as family friendly as her younger sister, she is still a place that you can hang out with your brood. Younger kidlets will probably get bored quickly (as mine did) so pack the colouring in and Ipads. I would most definitely recommend the Bella as place for to go to catch up with your fancy friends with offspring x
13 -15 Lexington Dr, Bella Vista NSW 2153
02 8884 2800
Open 7 days