Since I started reviewing cafes for Little Munch I have noticed a sharp increase in the prices on breakfast menus in cafes all over Sydney. So many items on breakfast menus are costing close to $20.00 (and some make it over!), this indeed makes it very costly for families to dine out on a regular basis, if at all. So you will be happy to hear that I have found a very affordable, and also very family friendly, cafe in North Parramatta that is located opposite a park, and within walking distance to a playground!
Cafe Vieni is located directly opposite Doyle Ground in suburban North Parramatta. I have eaten out in Parramatta loads of times but this stretch of land was new to me. Cafe Vieni is a relative newcomer to this area (they opened their doors in August this year) and it occupies a corner spot right next door to the brilliant SPAR supermarket. All of the seating for this small cafe is outdoors but don't worry, if the weather turns foul they have screens that come down to keep you nice and dry. There is plenty of street parking available, but I would perhaps keep your pram in the car as there isn't much room to negotiate one between the tables. Don't worry about seating for the little ones, there are high chairs for little bottoms to sit in.
When you take a seat you will find a menu on the table and once you have made a decision, pop up to the counter to order and pay. At the counter you will find all sorts of yummy treats - their muffins oozing with nutella look very tempting as do their canoli. Whilst you are waiting for your meal check out the beautiful black and white Venetian photo mural that goes down the entire length of the cafe and perhaps pretend for a minute that you are sitting in a waterside cafe in down town Venice instead of down town Nth Parra!
In the middle of all of the tables you find a little table and chairs for kidlets. They have a stack of Golden Books for kids to read as well as several pencil cases full of coloured pencils and a wad of A4 paper for the little ones to release their inner Matisse on. There is the park opposite but there is a very busy road between the cafe and it, so it is best to let the kids run around there before or after your meal - not during!
When we sat down for breakfast on a Sunday morning we arrived just after a very large group of lycra clad exercisers who had just finished their boot camp at the park (and here's me thinking the 7th day was for rest!). Anyway we thought we would have to wait ages for our meal, and we must have been quite transparent, as a charming gent (maybe the owner) came up to us and apologised and said our food wouldn't take much longer. Actually we didn't end up waiting that long and it was worth the wait as the food was excellent.
I think I mentioned in a previous review that my No.1 son is now a proficient reader. On the whole this is a wonderful thing, but it is also means that I have to stop telling him some little white lies. See previously when we ate out I would only give the boys a couple of choices of what they could eat. For example I would tell them there was only toast, muffins or croissants available for them to eat at breakfast and I wouldn't mention anything that had ice cream on it. Now that he can read he has worked out that he has so many more options to choose from, just like the waffles with maple syrup and ice cream in the photo above! There isn't a dedicated kids menu at Cafe Vieni but there are so many options for kids to eat on the cafe's menu - obviously waffles, as well as toast, pancakes, muffins and croissants to name but a few.
I should mention here that we have dined at Cafe Vieni twice recently, as their food is oh so good. For our breakfast outing Mr Munch had his usual bacon and egg roll ($6.50) and I chose their scrambled eggs on toast ($8.00). The eggs were creamy and I liked the little bit of crunch that the snow pea shoots gave the dish. Another yummy sounding dish is ricotta, strawberries and honey on sourdough and of course they do the typical big breakfast and pancakes.
Another visit to Cafe Vieni was for lunch. I'm a sucker for a steak sandwich and at at Cafe Vieni you can choose between a regular and a gourmet ($14) and as I consider myself a bit more gourmet I opted for the latter. The serve was huge, 2 slices of sourdough, lettuce, onions, roasted capsicums, spicy mayo and steak. Accompanying the steak sanger was a trendy wee deep fryer basket of beer battered fries. Other lunch time items include soup of the day, burgers, gourmet salads and corn & coriander fritters with smoked salmon. Lunch time prices range from $8.00 - $19.00. Everything I saw coming out of the kitchen looked mouth watering and I'm looking forward to going back and trying out more of the menu.
On to the all important coffee and drinks. Cafe Vieni serve a very grand babycino, by that I mean large (see photo below in the black cup). It was pure thick froth, the sort of babycino that kidlets will most definitely get a big chocolatey moustache from! There kid's size milkshakes are oh so very cute, served in a funky milk bottle, and topped off with a snake. They of course have juices and soft drinks and table water is readily available.
And for your caffeine fix my dear parents, you will be drinking a blend of coffee that I have never heard of before - Veneziano - and it was awesome. Expertly made and quite strong actually, the perfect wake me up that we all require on Sunday mornings, especially when you are just about to hit the playground!
Ah yes the playground, you know you are going to end up here, so you may as well grab a takeaway to help you last more than a couple of minutes pushing those tedious swings. The playground is located down the end of Doyle Ground on the corner of Fennell and Buller Sts and it is secure, shaded and well equipped. It also contains a picnic table in case you have kidlets that cannot be contained in a cafe and therefore you can just get some takeaway coffees and muffins from Cafe Vieni and head straight to the playground.
So what are you waiting for Little Munchers?
51 Albert St, North Parramatta NSW 2151
Open 7 days from 7am