Art galleries and children don't really mix do they? We have attempted to take the little bulls to galleries before but it has always ended in disaster - either they have touched something they shouldn't have had or they had a major boredom melt down in the middle of a gallery and we have left very quickly, and very red faced.
If you have had the same experience, never fear, as I have found you a very child friendly art gallery, which has an equally very child friendly cafe, but you might just have to make a day trip of it to go there as it is located in Maitland (approx 1.5hrs north of Sydney).
The art gallery is MRAG (Maitland Regional Art Gallery) and its cafe is called Cafe Seraphine. Now Cafe Seraphine is located in the ground floor of the gallery, right next to the children's art room (and a very lovely gallery shop). So if you score a table close by you may have the chance to eat in peace whilst the kids are in the art room. There is a strict policy of children being accompanied by adults at all times (we don't want damage a valuable art work now do we?), but if you ring and book ahead just ask for a table right near it and you should be able to enjoy your cultured coffee in peace. Even if you don't get a table close by, the kids will be entertained with the table cloth - cause it's butchers paper and the lovely waitstaff bring you a pot of crayons as soon as you sit down for everyone to doodle with (go on admit it, you love a good doodle as much as your kids don't you!).
Cafe Seraphine is large and gets quite busy especially on weekends with all the local arty farty crowd and day trippers from Newcastle and Sydney. It's a beautiful light space with an open kitchen so that you can watch all the staff in action. You can also sit outside and the kids will have some space to run around amongst the garden sculptures.
Unfortunately there isn't a kids menu so if you are dining at lunch time you may be a limited as to what you can choose for the kids off the lunch menu. However there are loads of sweet treats for the kids for both morning and afternoon tea and there are a few items off the breakfast menu which will also satisfy little tummies. They do a mighty fine kids milkshake although - the little bulls loved the marshmallow garnish!
Both the food and coffee for adults is delicious. We had a late lunch at 2.30pm and we were lucky to just make "last orders" as the kitchen closes at 2.30pm. The BLT was served with a generous side of chips (which the little bulls grazed on), the bacon was a wee bit overcooked and maybe had been cooked earlier in the day to deal with the demand. The pizza of the day was delicious and amply sized, enough almost to feed two people. If you miss lunch, the cafe serves coffee and their delicious looking cakes until close.
Cafe Seraphine hosts cooking classes for kids during school holidays and every Sunday MRAG hosts Free Art Sundays for children of all ages from 11.00am - 1.00pm. Bookings aren't required and all materials are supplied. So why don't you make a day of it one Sunday soon and hoon on up the freeway to Maitland and partake in a delightful morning tea at the oh so delightful Cafe Seraphine and then unleash your inner Matisse and do some arty farty craft with your kids x
MRAG 230 High Street Maitland NSW 2320
Open 6 days Tue - Sun 7.30am - 4.30pm