Kid friendly cafes are being taken to a whole new level at the moment in Sydney! There's quite a few fabulous spots offering not only delicious food and perfectly brewed coffee, but also weekly activities to keep the kidlets occupied! Below is a list of the ones we know about, but as always if there are any little gems missing, please do let us know!
This cafe is brand spanking new! Two gorgeous Mummas saw the huge gap in the market for a truly kid friendly cafe in the flourishing Hills District and so created one! They offer calsses like Zumba, super hero training, hula hooping and more. And whilst your kids are busy doing a class you can hot desk with fellow working parents (why wasn't this available when my kids were younger!!). Or just enjoy a Will & Co coffee whilst your kids explore the indoor play area. These ladies have huge plans for their space, so make sure you follow along on their journey via social media!
Address: 3/3 Salisbury Rd, Castle Hill NSW
Telephone: 0412 821 269
Brendan and his young funky team have created a haven for Inner West parents at the Hide & Seek Cafe on the main drag of Leichhardt. The space is totally kid friendly with a great little play area, healthy kids meals, and there's well brewed 5 Senses coffee for the parentals.
Each week they hold classes to keep kids entertained, with examples being yoga, finger painting, messy play and winter crafts. They even offer "Business Time" for parents! For $28.00 your kids will be minded whilst you work in a special space at the cafe with free wifi and coffee and cake!! Your children must be aged between 18mths and 5 years (check their website for more details).
Address: 102 Norton St Leichhardt
Telephone: 02 9752 9673
The Baker & Builder Cafe - North Parramatta
The owner of the delicious Baker & Builder Cafe in North Parramatta recognised early on that lots of families were visitng her large cafe space and as a result she created weekly kids activities on a Saturday morning. The activities change each week and can be everything from a animal nursery, to face painting to Super Hero days. The cafe itself has a tasty kids menu, the most divine baked goodies, excellent coffee, heaps of room for prams, loads of high chairs and a great kids toy box.
Every Monday morning it is story time at Livvi's Cafe. This fabulous cafe is located next to an equally fabulous playground and it is the flagship venue for the fabulous Touched by Olivia Foundation who are on a mission to make all play spaces in Australia inclusive. They also have fairy time art and craft in the school holidays. They brew an excellent drop of Campos coffee at the socail enterprise cafe and all babycinos are free with a high five!
Livvi's Cafe in Elara also host story time as well.
Address: Henley Marine Drive, Five Dock NSW
Telephone: 0411 711 725
This pretty cafe is located inside a Flower Power Nursery and is a favourite amongst parentals living in the South West of Sydney. They host weekly playgroup sessions on Mondays and Thursdays as well as special events and classes like cupcake decorating, teddy bear picnics, Cinderella high teas and often have visits from Spiderman and other Super Heroes. Their food and coffee is top notch too! Check out their FB page for more information and details on how to book.
Address: 320 Narellan Rd, Mount Annan NSW
Telephone: 02 4647 4429
I'm a big fan of the Merivale Hotel Group, and how inclusive they are of families with their Coogee Pavilion and The Newport properties. But what I didn't realise, was that their groovy inner city pub, The Beresford in Surry Hills, was also welcoming of kidlets!
The Beresford is one of those iconic Sydney pubs that has been operating for years. And under previous management it was probably not the sort of place that you would take the fambam. However since Merivale took ownership, and sprinkled their little bit of Merivale Magic over it, you can quite comfortably hang out here during the day with your brood.
You can enter the hotel through the front door (on Bourke St) which will take you straight into the front bar, or if you aren't comfortable doing that you can enter via Hill St, and walk straight into the lovely garden courtyard area of the Beresford. There's also an indoor dining area where you can sit if the weather isn't favourable. The loos are located downstairs from here. There's isn't a baby change table, but there's a lift in case you want to take the pram down and change your little one's nappy in the spacious toilet area. The loos are actually a bit spesh (in a twilight zone kind of way), so make sure you check them out!
So how is this place kid friendly? Well for a start, The Beresford is very easy to access with your pram, and there is also loads of space to park it (both inside and out). There are high chairs available, and also a very good kids menu, that doubles as an activity sheet. The menu has a combination of healthy and not so healthy menu items, which is also great to see. Another bonus is that kids eat for free Monday - Thursday. The young funky staff are also really good with the kids, and adults alike - we didn't encounter any hipster attitude the whole time we were there.
Monday night is movie night at the Beresford. Out in the courtyard they have a screen where they show free movies at 8pm. There's free popcorn, discounted wine and $10 pizzas! Every now and then (mainly in school holidays), they show a family movie, so keep an eye on their website for what's showing each week.
Those $10 pizzas are actually available all day on Mondays, and luckily for us it was a Monday when we dined at lunch time with a big group of Little Munch family members. The pizzas are seriously good - wood fired and topped with all sorts of delish toppings. You can easily share a pizza with someone else, so it makes it extraordinarily good value lunch (or dinner).
If pizza doesn't tickle your fancy, there is a full pub grub menu available as well. From juicy sirloin steaks, to burgers, salads and of course the obligatory schnitty, you won't go hungry. And to wash it all down there is a very good wine list for the parentals. To keep the kidlets hydrated, there are soft drinks, juices and a help youself water station is located at the bar.
Just to let you know, parking can be a little tricky to find around this part of Surry Hills. So make sure you allow yourself some additional time to find a spot if you are meeting people, as you may need to do the block a couple of times. On weekends, it's normally fairly easily to nab a spot on nearby Albion St.
354 Bourke St, Surry Hills
02 9254 8088
Open 7 days a week from 12pm
It's not too often that we discover a cafe that is seriously pram friendly. A place where access is easy, as is the parking of your pram near your table, and also the opportunity of having more than 1 pram being able to fit around the table. So my dear pramsters, you'll be happy to know that the delightful Cove Dining Co in Abbotsford is so darn pram friendly, that you'll probably end up dining there on a regular basis with your brood!
The Cove Dining Co reminds me of a place you would find in the country. From the heritage building, to the ad hoc rustic furniture, to the vegie patch out the front, to the charming interior (which is almost the size of an old community hall), there's a definite country charm about this joint.
Let's get the nitty gritty sorted straight away, shall we. There's a decent amount of parking available on the street (well there was when we arrived at 8.30am on a weekend). There are plenty of high chairs available, the toilets are located inside and contain a baby change table, and you have to order and pay at the front counter. And most importantly - the coffee is excellent. It's Campos, so of course it is.
The morning we dined for breakfast, we chose to sit inside, but I noticed that most families sat out on the verandah so that their kidlets could run around on the gorgeous grassy area out the back. If the weather is a bit grim, and you end up inside (and you've forgotten to pack any activities for the kids), there are activity packs for sale near the front counter.
Kiddies have their own menu and the staff were accommodating when we requested to change a few things. At breakfast time the options are a boiled egg & toast ($6); pancakes with maple syrup ($6); or scrambled egg & bacon on toast ($8). And if you really want to treat your bambinos, they can always have one of the most incredible looking home made donuts that I have ever seen. These can be found sitting on the front counter.
At lunch time, little bellies can be filled wih a cheese toasty ($6); pasta with tomato sauce ($8); pasta & meatballs ($10); burger & fries ($10); crumbed chicken & fries ($12) or crumbed fish & fries ($14) - it's great to see so much choice. There are babycinos, milkshakes and juices available for kids, as well as table water to satisfy their thirst.
Parentals may find it difficult deciding what to eat off the big people's menu. All of your cafe favourites are covered, but with a delicious twist. You can have something basic like toast and spreads, or more substantial items like hot cakes, croque madames and house made muesli with rhubarb. Actually quite a few of The Cove's menu items are made inhouse - smoked bacon & trout for example, as well as the most delicious banana bread that will ever hit your lips (and hips!). Now the menu does verge on the expensive side, but the portion sizes are decent and the food is incredibly tasty. And if you want quality, you have to pay for it.
There's a delightful little market stall set up in the front corner of the cafe. It sells everything from fresh flowers, to cards, and other crafty items. You can even pick up some of The Cove's house made foodie products - it's very hard to leave empty handed.
So my dear parents, when you need to catch up with your fellow breeders, be sure to have The Cove Dining Co, at the top of your list and you won't even have to think twice about taking your pram!
378 Great North Rd, Abbotsford
Tel: 02 9713 7896
Mon - Fri: 7am - 3pm
Sat - Sun: 8am 3pm
There seems to be a flurry of new cafes swinging open their doors in Sydney at the moment, perhaps it has something to do with spring and the season of new beginnings. Whatever it is, it's a boon for us parents, as they all seem to be seriously kid friendly. Take for example our latest find - Hide & Seek Cafe on the main drag of Leichhardt. This cafe has actually been set up with families in mind, and is being touted as Sydney's "ultimate kid friendly cafe" by the owners.
Hide & Seek has taken up residence in the space on Norton Street that used to be Bubbabar. The new owners have remodelled the cafe somewhat, and have put in place a very tasty and healthy menu. There is a fully enclosed play area outside at the back of the cafe, and there is also a room where you can hold a birthday party. The inside of the cafe has a cute little play area too. Their motto is "Eat Play Learn" and once they are up and running, they are also going to be holding developmental classes.
The play area out the back is great for younger kids as it has a cubbyhouse, tee pee with books to read, toys, puzzle table and a sand pit (although I wouldn't want to be the poor sucker who has the clean up the sand off the floor every day). There are also some tables and chairs inside this play area which are perfect for parents of toddlers. And the best bit is that you can book a table, so if you do have little humans in your life, request a table in there.
And if you have older kids there are board games for them to play - which got the tick from my toothless terrors who think they are getting a bit too old for play areas apparently!
There are excellent toilet facilites complete with baby change table, toddler step and wipes, inside the cafe. There's very easy access for prams and also space to park them near your table, as well as a designated pram parking area. There are high chairs for little bottoms to be plonked in, and there is an excellent and cheap kids menu - so yes kidlets are definitely well catered for at Hide & Seek Cafe.
When I first looked at the kids menu and saw that it had Vegemite toast for $2.00, my immediate thought was, about time! First of all it's a meal that a huge number of Aussie kids will eat, and secondly it's $2.00!! I think I can safely say, that I haven't seen something as cheap as that on a kids menu anywhere in my travels. And yes you only receive 1 slice of toast for that price, but that's what most small kids only eat anyway. If your kids need a bit more sustenance, then order them the boiled egg and toast for $4 or the chia pudding ($4). We also love that the kids meals are served on plastic plates!
The kids menu is served all day, and some options for lunch include grilled cheese on toast ($2), and it can also come with avo ($4); or a yummy sounding bento box with meatballs, carrot sticks, corn, peas, fruit and youghurt ($6); or meatballs with zucchini spaghetti and tomato sauce ($6). We're very impressed that the kids menu is healthy and cheap!
The adults menu at breakfast time covers all of your favourites. I especially recommend the avo stack with a poached egg ($17.50). This dish is huge and delicious and I just loved the garnish of seeds and grains. The eggs benny ($16) was pretty good too. You will also find granola, bircher and chia puddings on the menu, as well as the classic bacon and egg roll, corn fritters and of course the big brekkie, otherwise known as the Big Poppa ($22).
The $15.00 lunch time menu is full of some very healthy and delicious sounding items. First of all there's a great selection of salads, and then there's the panko puff chicken burger, beef burger and pulled pork roll for the carnivores. I like the sound of the falafel & cauliflower flatbread with tabbouleh and beetroot hummus. I also love that there's not one hot chip on either the kids or adults menu!
They serve an excellent brew of Five Senses Coffee at Hide and Seek and they also have babycinos, which I do believe are free (but don't quote me on that). There are milkshakes and freshly squeezed orange juice to satisfy thirsty little munchers. And for those of you who aren't caffeine addicts you can try the matcha latte, chai latte or the hot chocolate. Tea is by TeaEsk and apparently they offer a different assortment each day. And of course there is always table water which is served in plastic cups - tick!
Now it wasn't all beer and skittles (to quote my father) at Hide and Seek. We normally have a rule that we don't visit a cafe when it first opens, as we think it's hard to give it a fair review because it may have some teething problems. So I'm not sure why we decided to visit Hide and Seek on their second day of business, because we didn't really have the best experience. And that was all to do with service. The facilities, the food and the coffee were all absolutely fine. It's just that the staff (and there were quite a few of them) were very inexperienced and as a result our order was lost in the system and we waited WAY too long for our food (they did offer us a free coffee whilst we waited). We also had issues paying the bill, as our food and drinks had been allocated to different tables - and then we had to pay two seperate bills. Anyway, hopefully these are just teething issues, and we will remember for next time, to give a cafe a bit more of a breathing space before it gets Little Munched.
We will visit Hide & Seek again in a couple of months time to see if the service aspect has improved, and then we will give our lollipop score x
102 Norton St, Leichhardt NSW
02 9572 9673
Tue - Fri: 7.30am - 4.30pm
Sat: 8am - 4pm
Sun: 9am - 3pm
As I'm sure you can all appreciate, at some cafes children are tolerated, and at others they are welcome with open arms. In my experience that basically comes down to the owners, and the quality of the staff of the cafe. Some cafes I believe see children as a necessary evil, and others see them as guests who deserve to be treated with respect, just like their parents. Take for example the owners of the brand new Two Tales Cafe in Alexandria. This gorgeous couple have gone out of their way to ensure that their cafe is completely child friendly, and that kids aren't just tolerated, but totally embraced!
You will find Two Tales Cafe directly opposite Alexandria Park (and a park is always a bonus). There is a reasonable amount of street parking available around the cafe, and it is very easy to get your pram in and out of the cafe (use the ramp on the side of the cafe), as well as park it next to your table. The cafe is completely kitted out for families - there is a kids corner with books and toys, there is an excellent bathroom with a baby change table, toddler step, potty training seat, baby wipes, nappy bags, baby powder and the list goes on! There are high chairs, there is a very cute babycino and there is a brilliant kids menu!
To start the day little munchers can eat toast, or a ham & cheese toastie; cheese on toast; egg & soldiers or beans on toast. Or an endless bowl of cereal! I've never seen this on menu before in Sydney - such a simple concept, but oh so perfect for our little people. On a table at the front of the cafe there are two cannisters of cereal - a healthy one and a not so healthy one (you can guess which one my boys went for). You can go back and fill up your bowl as often as you like! Milk is delivered to the table in a small milk bottle and you can ask for more if it runs out. You are given a plastic bowl for the cereal and there is also plastic cutlery available for little people to eat their meal with - and the water cups too, are unbreakable (kind of)!
To drink our little people can have a very cute babycino ($1), or a fresh apple/orange juice, a chocolate milk, or a hot chocolate ($3.50) which are all served in cute little milk bottles. So yes the kids are most definitely well catered for!
But are we? And the answer to that is a big fat hell yeah! Let's start with the most important meal of the day shall we. The coffee. The beans are by The Little Marionette, who some would say are the best in Sydney, and I'm inclined to agree, as the coffee we had at Two Tales was nothing short of brilliant - that of course also has to do with the brilliant barista.
Now on to the second most important meal of the day - breakfast. The Avo Smash is pure delish, and I love the addition of the chives and pumpkin seeds. Not only is it visually appealing, but it's also a taste sensation. Like wise the Eggs on Toast (scrambled) with a side of bacon was cooked pefectly, and the Sonoma toast was an ideal base. There are also your typical cafe favourites like Waffles, Shakshuka and a Bacon & Egg Roll on the menu. And the menu is outstanding value considering its inner city location.
So what would you like to eat for lunch? Well you could have a Beef Brisket Burger or a Quinoa & Buckwheat Green Bowl with a Poached Egg, if you want to be a tad healthier. There is an all day brunch menu, and on weekends that is extended to the breakfast menu as well. There's even a doggy treat available for your fur baby - a homemade bacon biscuit.
As we mentioned before Alexandria Park is directly across the road from Two Tales. If you want you can borrow a picnic blanket from the cafe and take your food and coffee, for a picnic in the park. The playground is hard to see from the cafe, but if you walk all the way around the sporting oval you will find it. There are actually two playgrounds in the park, and both are fully enclosed. One is in need of some TLC, but there's enough equipment to keep the kids occupied for a wee while - and if they get bored just make them do laps of the oval!
So what are you waiting for? Get yourself and your tribe organised, and head down to Two Tales ASAP. Once the word is out about how darn kid friendly this joint is, it will be hard to keep the hordes away.
Shop 1/11-15 Power St, Alexandria
Mon - Fri: 6.30am - 3.30pm
Sat - Sun: 7am - 3.30pm
Yet again my valuable Little Munch community has given me a red hot tip off about a great kid friendly cafe. And boy have team Little Munch fallen hard for this place - it's called Dear Delicious and you will find it in Dulwich Hill.
We ventured to this inviting corner cafe on a very wet and windy Sunday (as we woke to no power and my men folk wanted eggs and all I wanted was coffeeeeee). Now let me tell you, the coffee that they brew at Dear Delicious is worth travelling from the other side of Sydney for, rain hail or shine! They use Little Marionette beans and the coffee we had was sublime, the best I've had in Sydney in a long time (and I've had quite a few!).
Now let's start back at the beginning. Dear Delicious is located on busy Wardell Road, however there is parking available in front of the cafe. The morning we dined we easily scored a spot, as there weren't too many people out and about braving the weather like we were. This may not be so easy on a normal day however. Another option is to take public transport as both the Dulwich Hill train station, as well the light rail station are within easy walking distance of the cafe.
The cafe has both indoor seating, as well as a fabulous outdoor eating area that is in a garden like setting. Due to the poor weather conditions I couldn't safely take a photo of the outdoor area without being blown away, hence why I have "borrowed" the photo at the top of the review from Dear Delicious' FB page. Both areas are easily accessed with a pram and there is also space to park them near your table. I'm pretty sure that the outdoor area would be the perfect spot to meet up with your mums group too. There are high chairs for little bums as well as a baby change table in the toilet (this is inside at the back of the cafe). Bored kidlets can occupy themselves wandering around the garden checking out all the different herb and vegie patches, or they can partake in some colouring in or reading as there is basket of kids stuff inside the cafe.
There is a whimsical looking little kids menu at Dear Delicious, that has an option for breakfast as well as two items for lunch. For breakfast kids can have toast with spreads or a fried egg, plus a cold pressed juice for $7.95. The juice comes in a disposable cup with a lid and straw (big tick). My big boy was at first perplexed to see "black stuff" on his eggs, but when I explained that they weren't going to kill him he happily ate it all up. There is also a selection of freshly baked goods available, such as pain au chocolats and croissants which will also appeal to small appetites. At lunch time, kids under the age of 12yrs can munch on a Cheesy Beef Burger or Fish & Chips, both of which cost $9.95.
So you get that the kids are really taken care of, but what about their bleary eyed carers? Well we are most definitely too. I mentioned the first rate coffee already and the food is also top notch. At first we were a little thrown by the brekkie menu items - they are all quite fancy pants sounding, with words like "activated" and "sprouted" sprinkled through it. But as the caffeine started to soak into our blood stream and found its way to the old grey matter, we worked out that there were quite a few options that appealed to us. We decided on Gipsy Baked Eggs and Folded Folie Eggs - both meals were outstanding. The Gipsy was full of smokey eggplant & capsicum, bacon, eggs, chevre and it was finished off with a dusting of dukkah. It came with loads of crunchy toast which perfectly mopped up the bottom of the dish. The posh sounding Folded Folie Eggs were kind of like an omelette topped with smoked salmon and caramelised onion. They looked and smelled delicious, but were gobbled up too quickly by my other half, so I couldnt take a snap.
We just loved everything about this cafe and for us breeders it is brilliant that they open from 6am during the week and close at 4.30pm. This means we can get our caffeine fix first thing in the morning when it is desperately needed after a night of no sleep, and that we can take our little munchers there for a spot of afternoon tea after the school pick up too!
We left Dear Delicious in fine fettle, even though the weather was anything but, and we will definitely be back, but perhaps on a day when the sun is shining in down town Dullo so that we can have an explore of the outdoor area. Just in case you need more convincing as to why you should visit Dear Delicious some time soon, check out the below Youtube clip x
245 Wardell Rd, Dulwich Hill
Mon - Fri: 6.00am - 4.30pm
Sat: 6.30am - 5.30pm
Sun: 8am - 3pm
We decided to take the scenic route home from the airport recently (actually I just got lost) and somehow we ended up in Ashbury in the inner west of Sydney. The boys were grumpy and hungry in the back of the old Hyundai, so luckily my cafe infested brain remembered that there was a cafe in the area that I had on my list to try out - the kid friendly Pilgrim Cafe to be exact.
Pilgrim Cafe occupies a corner location in suburban Ashbury, which offers a reasonable amount of street parking for patrons of the cafe. The front of Pilgrim has pretty planter boxes and bright coloured chairs and the interior is dominated by a long black board featuring the coffee making process. Pilgrim is on the smallish size as far as cafes go, so there isn't a load of space for prams inside. However there are a couple of tables outside as well as high chairs available to restrain little bottoms. The staff are really accommodating, so if you must have your pram with you and the cafe isn't too busy, I'm sure they will do their best to find some space inside.
When we dined at lunch time, we were lucky enough to score the table right in front of the kids toy and book shelf. There's colouring in, a range of books and a few toys to keep kidlets occupied whilst you are dining. Apparently the owners have 4 kids, so it is obvious that they understand the demands of eating out with offspring. When you use their loo facilitates you will see what I mean as it is spacious, contains a baby change table and even has baby wipes!
As soon as we sat down we were given table water with melamine cups (tick) and our drinks order was taken. Coffee of course for me, and one babycino just to see if it was on point or not! I'm not sure what coffee beans they use at Pilgrim but golly gosh the barista makes a fabulous brew from them. My skim flatie was perfect and if I hadn't already had too many caffeine fixes earlier in the day, I would have ordered a second one. The babycino will set you back a buck, and it comes with the obligatory marshmallow. And if your little tackers prefer milkshakes, they cost $3.50 and also come with a marshmallow!
Our darling kidlets have their very own menu at the Pilgrim Cafe. They can munch on an Egg with Bacon & Toast Soldiers, Ham & Cheese Toasties, Penne Napoletana, or Fish & Chips. The menu ranges from $7.00 - $10.00 and there is also Ice Cream with Topping available for dessert. My little munchers filled their tummies with the very cheesy toasty and the penne - perfect homely food that kept them going all afternoon.
For my lunch I was a good girl and chose the Grilled Chicken Salad - this is such a perfect salad for autumn! Not too large but not too small, it's the perfect portion size. The tasty grilled chicken sat atop a mix of rocket leaves, lentils, fetta, roasted almonds and sweet potato. The sweet potato could have perhaps been cooked for a wee bit longer, but other than that it is most definitely the perfect lunch time choice. If salad ain't your thang, you could try Pork Meatballs with Corn Salsa & Wedges; Pork Belly on Brioche; Beef Burger with Beetroot Relish, Fries & Aioli; or lastly a Penne with Braised Vegetable Ragu. It's a small menu but I think it covers most dietary preferences perfectly - they also can cater for vegans, coeliacs and dairy free diets.
The all day breakfast menu at Pilgrim is small but perfectly formed as well, (just like the cafe itself) with either the Corn Fritters with Bacon, Haloumi, & home made Tomato Relish or the French Toast Brioche with Maple Syrup, Cinnamon Ricotta, Strawbs & Coulis being my picks next time we return.
Now there is a decent playground just up the road (5 minute walk) from the Pilgrim Cafe. So I suggest that at the end of your visit, you grab a takeaway and head up there to tire your kidlets out. The playground is in Peace Park (Trevenar St) and it is under shade sails. There is parking available as well as toilet facilities and loads of green space for crazy children to run around.
Next door to the Pilgrim Cafe is an amazing little joint called the Tart Sisters. They sell delicious little sweet and savoury morsels - so make sure you pop in and pick up something to take home for later when the kidlets are asleep x
12 Holden St, Ashbury NSW
Open Tues - Sun: 7.30am - 4.00pm
Close by cafes that you could also try....
Every now and then we play "Pin the tail on Sydney". We blind fold one of the boys and spin them around a couple of times and then where ever the "tail" ends up on a map of Sydney, that is where we are going for our next review! In our last game it landed on Cabarita. Now Cabarita has quite a few places to eat, but we wanted to check out the most kid friendly. So after a bit of deep dark cyber research, we found a hidden gem called Sanders Kiosk. This little place is in the d'Albora Marina at the end of beautiful Cabarita Park - literally on the banks of the Parramatta River. It shares its space with the more upmarket Vela Dining & Bar (which looks like an ideal venue for a special family meal).
When visiting Sanders Kiosk, you will find parking available both in Cabarita Park and also close to the kiosk, but you do need to be aware that this is one very popular spot on weekends, so we advise arriving early. The kiosk and its dining area is very pram friendly and there is also space for little ones to wander around. You can sit right in front of the kiosk or there is also seating to the side, in front of where the Vela Bar is. This is a great spot to sit, as you can see the river cats zooming by right in front of you. You order and pay at the front counter and the morning we dined the service was really quick and friendly. Now I didn't spy any high chairs when we visited but they may have been hidden somewhere out of sight. And if you need the facilities, they can be found just inside the restaurant or there are also toilets in the park.
The menu at Sanders Kiosk is definitely a lot more substantial than you will find on other kiosk menus in Sydney. For a start, they serve up Sydney's best value bacon and eggs. The dish is huge and only costs $12! You can choose how you would like your eggs done and it is served with loads of bacon, chunky toast, tomato and rocket. Other items on the simple brekkie menu are a bacon & egg roll, banana bread, toast with condiments, muffins (which the boys ate), ham & cheese croissants, as well as fruit salad and yoghurt. So hopefully most members of your brood should find something to eat from this list.
At lunch time you can have everything from fish & chips to toasted panini & tortillas, as well as an assortment of burgers and more heartier meals. There are also Patchett pies and sausage rolls as well as a kids nuggets and chips ($7.50). Being a kiosk ice creams, soft drinks and other snacks are also available in case you want to grab something to take up to the park rather than sitting down at the kiosk. The coffee is really good too and would go perfectly with one of the freshly baked muffins that you will find sitting on the front counter. If you would like some catering done for your boat or even for a picnic in the park, if you ring ahead the staff will organise this for you.
After your meal, it's time to hit the pretty cool playground in Cabarita Park. I suggest that you might need to grab a takeaway, as kids of all ages will love the massive (and very clean) sandpit, all of the climbing frames, the swings, the slides, the whirly gigs and more - so you will definitely spend quite a bit of time here. You can also bring the scooters and bikes as there is a nice even path for kids to ride around too, as well as loads of green space to kick ball or fly a kite. The playground is a 5 minute walk from the kiosk. Lastly, the Cabarita Pool is also in the park so if it's a stinking hot day you can always pop in there for a dip!
So my dear Little Munchers, I think we will play pin the tail on Sydney more often, especially after the success of Cabarita. Why don't you give it a go too - who knows where you might end up!
p.s. I've been advised by Little Munch readers that you can also catch the ferry to Cabarita and then walk to both the playground and Sanders Kiosk - sounds like a fun day out!! Check ferry times here.
d'Albora Marina, Cabarita Park
Mon - Fri: 8am - 4pm
Sat - Sun: 8.30am - 4pm
Gosh I miss inner city life. Don't get me wrong I love living in the burbs now that we have bred (life would be chaos without a big backyard to keep the boys entertained) but there is something about inner city cafes and streets that are little less sober than those out in suburbia. It's cafes like the fab Three Williams in Redfern that I really miss the most. It is cool. It is trendy. It is pure hipsterville. And guess what? It is family friendly!
Three Williams Cafe is housed in a huge industrial type of space in Elizabeth St (just down the road from Redfern Park which has a playground in case you need it). There isn't much signage out teh front of teh cafe, so don't hoon along too quickly when you are looking for it, as it is easy to miss. There is 2P parking available on the street and when we visited on a Sunday morning there were quite a few spaces available. When you enter the cafe you will see a huge ramp running down the side - that's for you guys with prams and mobility issues. It's also the space where little diners run up and down annoying their weary parents too!
Three Williams has loads of seating available and it's fairly easy to park your pram next to your table (especially if you are sensible enough to dine early in the day when inner city hipsters are still asleep). The biggest draw card to Three Williams for inner city breeders is its big chalkboard down the back of the cafe. This is called Willy's Corner and the boys kept wandering back and forth between eating, drawing all sorts of strange looking men with jazz hands. As you can see below, I don't have any burgeoning little Picassos in my household to worry about!
With the boys completely occupied we tucked into some of Three Williams brilliant coffee and tasty tucker. The breakfast menu has both standard and not so standard items on it. So you could order poached eggs on toast like we did, or go for something more interesting like house smoked gravlax salmon with pickled beetroot, horseradish cream and soft boiled egg. At lunch time Three Williams are famous for their narnies - they have basically taken the humble sarnie to a whole new level by using naan bread instead of normal bread and stuffing it full of gorgeous sounding fillings. Posh salads, a burger, fish and a few other items are also on the lunch menu to tempt you - whether you are a carni or herbi vore, you should be happy.
Now there isn't a kids menu but there are quite a few things available for little people to munch on. The boys chose a berry muffin and custard donut from a tray full of freshly baked goods that sits on top of the counter. But kids could also have toast and spreads, french toast, scrambled eggs and more, depending on how developed their little taste buds are.
The toilet facilities at Three Williams are superior. You will find them down behind the kitchen and yes you can drive your pram down there and right into the loo as there is heaps of room in it for the whole brood. There is a baby change table, quality hand wash and it is just smells really nice. Just be careful your little monkeys don't pull over the decorative branch! Oh and lastly there is a massive stack of high chairs to accommodate little hipster bottoms in too (not in the loo but you will find them outside the loo near Willy's corner).
Just before we sign off I should tell you that the staff are true hospitality professionals. These guys know how to run a cafe and know how to welcome guests from all walks of life. Three William's reckon that they exist for the urban dweller and for the hungover, and also for the lazy dad. And this lazy mumma says hallelujah to that x
613a Elizabeth St, Redfern NSW
Open 7 days 7am - 4pm
It never fails to amaze me how quickly children can make friends. No matter where the boys go, they always end up chatting to some kid, and then end up begging me to let them stay and play. Take for example when we visited Epicure Francaise in Abbotsford recently. They met the beautiful Lucie, the lively daughter of the owner. Within minutes Lucie was showing the boys her pets (2 rabbits & a guinea pig), she had them drawing minions on the chalk board (all of which is located in the backyard/kids play area of the cafe) and then she challenged them to running races.
The boys were mesmerised by Lucie (especially as she gave them a home made icy pole) and they didn't want to leave Epicure Francaise. And to be honest I probably could have sat there in the backyard for a while longer drinking some of their brilliant coffee and nibbling on one of their tarts, whilst enjoying some brilliant Sydney sunshine - this really is a hidden gem.
Epicure Francaise is located in the local strip of shops at Abbotsford. There is plenty of parking available along the street. The backyard of Epicure Francaise can be accessed via a path on the right hand side of the cafe. There is just enough space to push your pram down the path and once you are out the back there is heaps of space to park loads of prams - so it makes an ideal mums group hang out. Kids will love this area as they can freely roam around, they can draw on the black board, there are some toys for them to play with and a cute little picnic table for them to eat at.
And of course there are the bunnies and the guinea pig (just make sure you don't let the kids pick them up unless a member of the staff or Lucie says it is ok to do so). The rabbits are called Black Beauty & Rosie and the shy little guinea pig is called Poppy. They are fed with scraps from the kitchen and the produce from the herb/vegie patch which is right next to their enclosure, is used in the kitchen - it's kind of like a mini urban farming venture. And if your kids need to wash their hands or go to the loo, the toilet facilities are also out here too.
Epicure Francaise is obviously a French cafe - the owner/chef hails from France and when he isn't busy cooking up a storm in the kitchen, he will come out and chat to you with his charming French accent. Besides the backyard seating there are also tables and chairs on the side walk in front of the cafe (in true Parisian style), as well as indoor seating - just in case the weather is a bit glum. The interior is lovely and cosy with limited room for prams. However there are high chairs, so you can always pop your babe in one of those if they are old enough.
We had stopped by Epicure Francaise for a spot of morning tea. The boys checked out the cake cabinet as soon as we arrived and saw the cute Mickey Mouse biscuits and immediately demanded those. I on the other hand found it very difficult to decide on what to eat, as there were just so many delectable looking tarts and pastries to choose from. In the end I went with a crème brulee tart which was delish! The boys washed down their biscuits with water, however babycinos, kids size milkshakes, juices and soft drinks are all available. And as I mentioned before the coffee is superior (the blend is a secret organic blend made up by Malik the owner). I recommend that you pop inside the cafe first to check out the cake cabinet/menu and then tell the staff that you will be sitting out the back.
If you dine at breakfast or lunch time, you will find that the menu has a strong French influence. Whilst there isn't a dedicated kids menu, there are plenty of options for them to eat. Examples are banana bread, toast, ham & cheese croissants, sweet & savoury crepes, French toast, fruit salad, home made pies & sausage rolls, and baguettes filled with various fillings - in other words, no one will go home with an empty belly.
Now I can't guarantee that you will have the lovely Lucie to entertain your brood if you visit Epicure Francaise during the week (as she will probably be playing with her friends at school), but I'm sure your kids will still have a wow of time in the backyard. And kids being kids will no doubt make their own friends amongst the offspring of the other cafe patrons. Bon appetit x
563 Great North Rd, Abbotsford
Open 7 days from 7am
As they say good things come in small packages.... and Livvi's Cafe at Five Dock is one perfect little package!
This little kiosk type of cafe is right next to Livvi's Place, a pretty darn cool playground in Five Dock. For those of you not in the know, Livvi's Place is one of many playgrounds dotted around Australia that have been created by the brilliant Touched by Olivia Foundation. The playgrounds have been specifically designed to be inclusive of all ages and abilities - it's basically giving an opportunity for all Aussie kids to play. In keeping with this theme, Livvi's Cafe is a social enterprise cafe - they offer employment to people with disabilities and some of the profit made by the cafe from their coffee sales, is returned to the foundation.
Livvi's is located at Timbrell Park on Henley Marine Drive. There is a reasonable amount of parking along the street in front of the park. We had no drama scoring a spot during the school holidays but if sport is being played on weekends it may be a bit more difficult. Once you have the brood unloaded, your pram can be driven straight up the grass into the seating area of the cafe and as I didn't spy any high chairs it may be wise to bring it along to restrain your little ones (because of the cafe's proximity to the road). The toilets are smack bang next to the cafe and there is a handicapped loo in both the gents and ladies section which contain change tables - this is impressive as not many places have change tables available in the bloke's side!
The cafe has about 4 tables out the front of it and there are also tables within the playground where you can eat your purchases from, or you can BYO picnic rug and throw it down anywhere within Timbrell Park. Being a small cafe means that the menu is also small, however I'm sure you will find something suitable to tickle the taste buds of the whole family. The menu as a result is also reasonably priced, unlike most inner west cafes - where else in this part of Sydney can you get a ham & cheese croissant as well as a coffee for $8.00? And the coffee is Campos and it is excellent! And babycinos are free with every high five given to the barista!
My coffee was perfectly brewed and the free babycino came with a marshmallow and was made from cold milk with some froth on top, which gets the big tick from this safety conscious Mumma. The boys had ice creams and I sampled a salted caramel cookie which was nice and chewy, just the way I like it. Our food came in takeaway containers so it would be easy to transport to the playground if so desired. And as the playground is fully fenced and as long as your kids are old enough, you can go and grab your food/coffee without disturbing their play.
It will actually be hard to get the kids out of the spacious playground as there is to much to explore. At first glance you may think that Livvi's Place is just like any other playground in Sydney. There is a large sandpit complete with tonka trucks, buckets and forgotten thongs; self propelled whirly gigs; climbing forts and ropes; chalkboard; swings and slides. But there are a couple of things that I believe make it stand apart.
The motorised roundabout is one - this is way cool and the boys favourite piece of equipment they played on. The speed can be set to slow or fast (and fast isn't very fast). You hold a button in to start it and then a screen shows a count down so that you know when it is going to start moving - you constantly hear kidlets yelling out "10-9-8-7 etc" from the cafe! The roundabout has seats and things to hold on to as well as space to wheel in a wheelchair or pram. I so love that everyone can get on it - even parents, so make sure you jump aboard. It goes around for a couple of minutes I think, but it is slow enough to jump off safely and there is also an emergency stop button if something dramatic happens.
Our other favourite piece of equipment were the musical trampoline tyres - they are hidden up the back of the playground in the trees. When you jump on these they play music - I'd love them in my backyard! There are other musical instruments in the playground too, where aspiring (or should I say frustrated) musicians can belt out a tune or two.
Just in case all of this isn't enough, if you drop by on Mondays and Thursdays, the cafe hosts story time in the playground for little ones at 10am (double check with their FB page to make sure it is still on, if the weather is a bit grim).
Fortunately there are more Livvi's Cafe opening up in Sydney. Livvi's Cafe in Elara (Blacktown way) and Willowdale (Camden way) opened last year and they shall be most definitely Little Munched in 2016 now that we have discovered how perfect Livvi's Cafe in Five Dock is x
Henley Marine Dr, Five Dock NSW
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri: 6.30am - 1.00pm
Sat - Sun: 7.00am - 3.30pm
(they may be closed on wet days)
The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway is a very humbling experience. It is a memorial to all of those brave men that fought for our freedom in WW2, specifically along the Kokoda Track. The track meanders along the water's edge between Rhodes and Concord and has the Parramatta River as its backdrop. You can start the walk at Brays Bay Reserve which is such a scenic picnic spot with an awesome playground. The walk is very pram friendly and also easy for little legs, and along the way you will find the Kokoda Cafe.
The walk is both educational and what I would call spiritual. Along the way an old gentleman's voice will start speaking to you through the shrubbery. There are sensors in the walkway that start the recording of an episode of the war - it's fascinating to stand and listen to it and you can also read further information on the storyboard located where the speaker is. Obviously young children may find this quite boring so make sure you keep an eye on them and don't let them wander off as there are water courses around. The vegetation that is planted along the walkway resembles the vegetation that is typically found in Papua New Guinea.
Halfway into the walk you will come across the beautiful Memorial Centrepiece. You walk across a little bridge into the Memorial and here you will see images from the war that have been sand blasted into large granite walls. Water features add a tranquillity to the space, something which little kids will have difficulty understanding as they just see water to play with. However if you have older children hopefully they will appreciate the significance of this very spiritual part of the walk. If you can, sit for a while and let the peace of the space wash over you - although this is much easier said than done with little kids in tow.
Continuing on the walk you will find the Kokoda Cafe. This modest cafe is the perfect pit stop for a cool drink or ice cream. You can also have breakfast or lunch as well as coffee and cake. There is both seating inside and out, and I suggest if you are walking with kids you choose an outside possie as there is room for them to wander around in the lovely garden setting.
The menu at the Kokoda Cafe is simple but covers most dietary requirements. Kidlets have their own menu which includes a juice popper and if your babes have been really well behaved during the walk and deserve a special treat, I can recommend "K's Special Treat." This is a very yummy ice cream sundae that kept my little mate completely occupied whilst I enjoyed a coffee and gossip with a good friend.
The coffee at the Kokoda Cafe is ok, a little bit too milky for my liking. I think next time I might try out one of their iced coffees or a yummy sounding fruity shake to cool down with after the walk. If you need a snack, the Kokoda Cafe has a small selection biscuits and sweet treats, such as a decadent piece of caramel slice - the slice we sampled had been warmed up which I found a tad odd.
The cafe has plenty of room for prams so you can always get your Mums group together and go for a stroll and then have lunch. Next to the cafe there is also a small and fully enclosed playground that is right outside of the toilet block (which contains a baby change table). So if you don't fancy sitting down in the cafe, you can always just grab a takeaway and head here.
As you continue along the walk you will find the Memorial Rose Garden, another lovely spot to stop and take in the beauty of this walk. Have a look at all of the plaques that have the names of fallen diggers who fought in the war. Whenever you feel like it, turn around and walk the same way back. At the end of your walk the kids can have a play in the playground at Brays Bay Reserve and you can sit back and enjoy the view. If walking isn't your thing you can always park near the cafe (access via Killoola St, Concord West).
The Kokoda Track Memorial Walkway is open every day. There is plenty of parking available. If you choose to take public transport alight at Rhodes Train Station and walk across the road to start the walk. The cafe along the walk is open from Tuesday - Sunday from 9.30am. They may be closed in periods of extreme weather such as heavy rain. Call ahead if you would like to make a booking on 02 87651797.
Brays Point Reserve Rhodes NSW
(02) 8765 1797
Tue - Sun: 9.30 -3.00
I love discovering little hidden gems. Cafes that aren't located in the hipster belt or in the well trodden family suburbs. Little places that normally only locals know about. Little places that serve amazing coffee and yummy food just like Next Door by Schibello in semi industrial Rhodes.
I found this little gem by complete accident one day when I was lost, trying to find Ikea in Rhodes. My conniving GPS had gone off grid, so I turned right when I was meant turn left and as a result I did a U-turn in Schibello's driveway - and practically drove straight into the cafe! If I had been allowed to, I would have parked there and snuck in for a sneaky cup of joe, but alas there was a big no parking sign. Actually this is only the negative of this cafe - the parking. During the week there basically isn't any really close to it. There are quite a few warehouse type business in the same street and I'm thinking that their staff have scored all of the street spots. So you might need to park in another street in the area or visit on a Saturday when hopefully this part of Rhodes isn't as busy, and enjoy a leisurely brunch with the family.
Next Door has a simple set up - an outdoor seating area (that is undercover) is full of lovely plants and recycled timber tables, and then there is a funky espresso bar inside the building, where you place your order. The outside space is very easy to access with a pram and you could quite easily park a few around the tables in case you want to meet up with some fellow pram owners (I didn't spy any high chairs although).
Once you have ordered, a member of the young and friendly staff will bring your meal to the table. The morning we dined there was only one other customer, so our food and coffee arrived really quickly. And trust me, these guys serve up some top notch coffee because they are located "next door" to the HQ of Schibello Caffee in Australia.
Apparently Schibello were the first importers of Italian espresso in Australia. At their Rhodes HQ they do everything from run the business, to roasting their own beans, hosting barista workshops and of course they have their sweet cafe. It's not all about coffee here although, as they have their own selection of tea (Paddington Tea), as well as some delicious looking iced teas, and other equally tempting cold drinks. All of which go perfectly with one of the treats that you find sitting on the front counter.
The coffees are served in the most gorgeous cups, oh and I should mention that babycinos are free with every coffee purchase! If you are just stopping by for a coffee and snack I can thoroughly recommend the zucchini, cheese & ham twists and a cookie for your bambinos. They do have a breakfast and lunch menu which sounds delicious and from photos that I've seen on Next Door's FB page, the presentation is fabulous. Some of the menu items are bacon & egg rolls, avo & fetta smash and pancakes drizzled with chocolate and served with a berry compote for breakfast. And at lunch time there are tempting sounding panini as well as beef burger with steak house chips, a chicken and quinoa salad and a pasta of the day. So whilst there isn't a specific kids menu there are quite a few things on the men that little humans will eat.
Next Door by Schibello is a great place to chillax in whilst you enjoy a superb coffee. It may not have all the bells and whistles of a full on kid friendly cafe, but you know what.....some times it's nice to be in a space that isn't crawling with children, because when you live and breathe them 24/7, you just need some time out x
19 Leeds St Rhodes NSW
Mon - Fri: 6.30am - 3.30pm
Sat: 7am - 2pm
I think a sign of a "real" cafe is one that bake their own sweet treats (and serve excellent coffee of course!). Envy Deli Cafe in Summer Hill is one such cafe. They bake loads of the most marvellous sweet treats that will have you going back time and time again. They also serve an excellent brew of Toby's Estate coffee and they are just a wee bit kid friendly, so yep, in my opinion they are the definition of a real cafe.
Envy is always open on public holidays and they open nice and early. And it was on one such day that we stopped in for some breakfast. We were warmly greeted by the staff who were already busy serving the takeaway coffee crowd. As the weather was a bit bleak we decided to sit inside. On a sunny day however I think it would be best for families to sit in the spacious outdoor area. This can be accessed from the side of the cafe and you can easily drive your pram straight in after you have found a park on the street. The outdoor area is very leafy, and a huge jacaranda tree covers most of it - hence the branding for the cafe.
Inside the cafe there are coloured pencils and paper for kidlets to use and I do believe outside there are baskets of toys to keep them occupied. High chairs are available for bambino bums and there are also toilet facilities if you need them (no baby change table). Service is warm and friendly and you can tell the staff are used to kids at Envy, because they have kid dodging down to a fine art! Quite a few pint size diners were wandering around and not once did I see a staff member grimace, roll their eyes or spill anything as the little people got in their way.
If you have entered through the front door your kids will be immediately drawn to the tables of treats. If however you arrived at the crack of dawn like we did, and it is too early for a sugar fix, then you will find a 'Kiddies Breakie' item available on the menu for $8.50. It's a scrambled egg with chipolata sausages and toast. My big boy gobbled this down and my 5 year old went with everyone's favourite - vegemite toast ($5.50). Freshly baked muffins (both sweet & savoury), banana bread and pancakes are other items on the main menu that kids may like to also munch on. Interestingly at lunch time there isn't a kids menu and from the adults menu there probably aren't that many choices available for little kids, so you might have to go with something from the breakfast menu. To quench little thirsts, babycinos, freshly squeezed juices and kids milkshakes are all available. Kids milkshakes come in disposable cups but the juices come in large glasses, which can be a wee bit awkward for little fingers.
For adults, Envy serve an all day breakfast. The menu isn't too badly priced with the most expensive item being $17.00 (quite cheap by Inner West standards!). I road tested their avo and fetta smash and added a side of poached eggs. As far as smashed avos go, Envy's version isn't the best I've had, but the eggs were perfectly poached and the avo was very flavoursome. Their bacon and eggs ($13.50) is a decent size and once again if you a poached eggs person, they do indeed know how to cook them perfectly at Envy.
At lunch time you can indulge in some fancy sounding burgers, toasted sandwiches or soup (and nothings costs over 20 bucks)......but the real reason you all need to go to Envy are for those baked goods. Classic cakes, crumbly cookies, tasty tarts, magic muffins and beautiful brownies - you know all of those calorific home style delights that we all need to indulge in now and then. Wash one of these down with a fantastic Toby's Estate coffee or a pot of tea and you are in for one very enjoyable morning or afternoon tea!
Miraculously we got the boys out of Envy without them having a meltdown because we wouldn't buy them a racing car or tiny tea cup. And I have total respect for the kitchen staff who made all those sweet little treats, because I have also made them when I was trying to win the Mother of the Year award - and let me tell you, they are seriously fiddly and messy little buggas to put together!
109 Smith St Summer Hill NSW
Mon - Sat: 6am - 5pm
Sun: 7am - 5pm
I think I am the last blogger/writer/reviewer in all of Sydney to visit The Grounds in Alexandria. This place has been reviewed more times than any other place in this cafe infested city of ours. Since it swung open its doors 3 years ago I have attempted twice to visit. On the first occasion I couldn't find a park remotely close to it and the second I had to deal with an almighty meltdown by a child that I gave birth to, and thought it was just easier to head back to the burbs instead of swanning around the coolest cafe in town.
So finally in the last school holidays I made it there! This time I easily found a park (because we arrived at 7am) and there wasn't a melt down in sight as my offspring were starving and would do anything to fill their little bellies. So here is a big tip for y'all - if you arrive at 7am you won't encounter any of the queues that the cafe is notorious for; you will be served oh so quickly; and you will be able to check out the grounds of The Grounds without bumping into too many hipsters.
Now if you can't get your brood to The Grounds by 7am and you arrive at the same time as the rest of Sydney, you might not score a table straight away. Instead the staff will give you a buzzer and you can go for a wander and then when you feel your buzzer buzz, you can head back for your table. Otherwise grab some takeaways and find a seat somewhere within the gardens and take in the gorgeous surrounds. As soon as we walked in I spotted the designated pram parking area (there is also an area for fur baby parking as well). Then we were greeted by loads of vibrant staff - I'm presuming they fuel up on many espressos when they get to work, cause they all seemed to be buzzing for such an early hour! We could choose a table either inside the cafe or outside on the patio - I chose the later as there seemed to be a few too many "dudes" on the tables inside and I didn't want my little dudes annoying them.
There is room for your pram next to your table, however when this place is full to the brim it may be wiser to leave it outside in the parking area as I'm sure it would be difficult for you to manoeuvre it around (there are high chairs if you need them). As there were only a few other diners where we were sitting, the boys could wander around without disturbing anyone whilst I had a squizz at the menu and ordered our drinks.
When I suggested that the boys road test The Grounds version of a babycino it was met with a resounding NO! So our waitress suggested that the boys could have a kids size juice or smoothie instead. One went for the orange juice which came in a cute teddy bear glass and the other went for the berry smoothie which looked a picture and cost me a bomb! $10.00 for a kids smoothie is a bit rich and I'm hoping that this was just an error on behalf of the staff member who processed our order, but it did taste delicious. Oh and their coffee was literally the bomb as you would expect from a place that actually is a roastery.
At breakfast time kidlets don't have a menu but there are quite a few items on the main menu they could share or if you check out the the front counter you will surely find them something there to eat as it is groaning with some of the most delicious looking baked goods that I have seen in ages. The boys went for muffins - banana & nutella as well as a peach one. The muffins ($5) were crunchy on the outside and oh so light and fluffy on the inside. Apparently at lunch time children have their own menu and if I'm brave enough to brave the crowds, one day we will go back and road test it.
Like most of Sydney I am currently obsessed with Avocado Smash. The Grounds version is exquisite! It costs $15.50 by itself or $19.50 with two perfectly poached eggs. A combination of green and red tomatoes sit on top of freshly baked Grounds bread. On top of this is thinly sliced avo, then fetta, then home made dukkah, then a drizzle of delicious olive oil and finally a decent sprinkle of micro herbs. This my friends is breakfast perfection. If you are not a fan or if you need a bit of carnivore action with breakfast then don't fear as protein is available in, some seriously delicious forms in other menu items.
With full bellies and itchy feet we went on a tour of this little city farm. Our first stop was the kids play area. It was kinda cute, not as cute although as I had seen in some photos on other review sites. Perhaps it was the time of day, I'm not sure, but it was in need of a bit of love on the day we visited. There is a cubby house that is full of chalk boards and a small climbing wall. Outside there are a couple of small picnic tables for kids and space for them to have a little wander.
From there we walked through the picture perfect garden setting to the main attraction - Kevin Bacon. This pig is loved by all of Sydney and he is one big boy. Kevin shares his digs with Turbo the shetland pony, some whacky looking chooks, a couple of ducks and on occasion some goats. First thing in the morning is mucking out the stalls time. For those of you who have never visited an actual farm this is when the "homes" of the animals are cleaned out. Poo is removed, fresh straw is laid, etc etc. The animals are also fed and groomed, ready for their big day ahead entertaining all of The Grounds visitors. On Tuesdays and Thursdays you too can help feed the animals at 11am and 1pm.
After our inspection of the animals we of course needed a pit stop. We first discovered the "old" facilities which are all retro and gorgeous but out of order, so we then went and found the new loos. The boys had a giggle as they thought we were in the wood shed - they whole thing is made out of timber, except obviously the loo itself. I didn't see any baby change table but that's not to say they don't have one, I just got side tracked when trying to find it - there are so many gorgeous vignettes all over The Grounds so it is easy to lose track of what you were doing.
The Grounds hold monthly markets, functions (I'd love to be able one day get over to a Mum Society brunch) and they have their very own florist on site. They also host FREE school holidays activities where kids can do everything from mini foodie tours to yoga! And on special days such as Mothers Day, they have amazing looking events where you can book ahead and thoroughly spoil your loved ones.
If you don't heed my advice and arrive early then there is also a BBQ vendor on site where you can grab something to eat from. The Potting Shed is also another spot in The Grounds that serves food from lunch time, but it is a watering hole (boozer), so just be mindful of this if you contemplate taking your kiddliwinks in there.
Now lets sort out this parking issue shall we? There is nothing more frustrating when go out with kids and a pram, if you have to park miles away from where you are going. There is a car park right in front of The Grounds, but it has limited spots and you have to get in very early to snag one of these - access this from Bourke Rd. There is also street parking in both Bourke Rd & Huntley St alongside the cafe, which once again can be difficult to find unless you arrive first thing in the morning like I did. The Grounds do offer a valet parking service (for a fee) which you can access from Bourke Rd, or if all else fails the Alexandria Homemakers Centre which is around the corner on O'Riordan St is a good choice to park as long as you don't mind walking for a wee bit. Just get up and go early to save yourself the hassle I say.
I have read so many superlative reviews of The Grounds that I was worried that my expectations of the place were a little too high - but this place is amazing as everyone raves about it. From the moment we walked in the front gates to the moment we left I was oohing & ahhing. It's definitely an oasis of retro coolness in inner city Sydney, that is oh so kid friendly.
So am I the last person in Sydney to have visited The Grounds?
2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015
02 9699 2225
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri 7am - 4pm
Sat - Sun 7.30am - 4pm
Pull on your lycra and running shoes my lovelies and head with your kidlets and fur babies to the Nield Park Pavilion in Rodd Point for a picturesque breakfast or lunch and everything in between. Nield Park Pavilion is located on the beautiful Bay Run (I actually call it the Walk as I can't run 700m let alone 7km) and as a result you see quite a few sporty spices having a quick coffee break in the Pavilion. They come with their babies in prams and their fur babies on leashes who have their very own space outside (complete with water bowls) to sit and whine.
On the day we visited I wasn't in my lycra as I had my 4yr old in tow and for him to do a long walk with me would entail me stealing someone's pram and pushing him the whole way. Instead we met up with a friend for a spot of morning tea. We arrived early and easily found a car spot on the street just behind the cafe. As soon as I let him out of the car the 4 year old ran like a crazy around all of the green space of Nield Park where the Pavilion is located and then headed towards the playground and came to an abrupt halt when he discovered it was full of girls! He decided he would come back for a play after our morning tea in the vain hope that all of the girls would have disappeared.
Unfortunately you cannot see the playground from where you sit in the Pavilion so you either have to have your play before or after your meal or just grab a takeaway and sit and watch your little ones play. The Pavilion is seriously child friendly although - you can easily access it with your pram and there is plenty of space to park it right next to your table. The space would also be ideal for a mother's group catch up but perhaps ring ahead first as it does get very busy. They have loads of high chairs, toilet facilities, staff that are happy to deal with kidlets and their messes and lastly they are open every day of the week from the very family friendly hour of 7.00am.
As soon as we walked in to the Nield Park Pavilion we were warmly greeted and shown to our seat. Within minutes table water and a cup of crayons with an activity sheet were placed on our table. The activity sheet was actually the Pavilion's kids menu - I love when a cafe makes an effort with their little diners! We didn't try anything off this menu as it was mid morning, instead my little man went and checked out the cake cabinet which had a plate full of sweet treats for kids. There was much indecision over whether he should choose a shortbread man or a decadent looking cupcake and in the end the happy man won his heart and stomach. This was washed down with a fairly ordinary babycino (in comparison to other ones I have seen in Sydney) but at least it was served in a disposable cup.
The cake cabinet is also full of decadent treats for adults but my dining companion and I decided to order off their breakfast menu. I've always thought that banana bread is the perfect mid morning snack and at Nield Park Pavilion they serve it with a mix of marscapone and ricotta and after having that smeared on top of the bread I don't think I could ever revert back to butter! Just to let you know the banana bread cost $10.00 which is a wee bit on the expensive side in my opinion. Interestingly the rest of the breakfast menu wasn't too badly priced with the most expensive item (the full breakfast) being $18.00. Eggs on toast (my friend's choice) was $10.00 and it came with a side of roasted tomato. Some other yummy sounding choices are the Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon ($17) or Eggs alla Sicilia & Chorizo ($15).
I've heard along the grapevine that the cafe gets very busy at lunch times, especially on the weekend, so if you decide to dine at this time of day, I would ring ahead and make a booking. The luncheon menu has quite an Italian feel to it - gnocchi, pastas, risottos and seafood feature. Sitting back over a long lunch enjoying the view would be bliss (if your children would only let you).
After you have finished your time at the Nield Park Pavilion you can either continue along your merry way around the bay or do what most sensible people do and take the kidlets to the playground. This is exactly what we did and luckily those pesky girls had disappeared so the boy was happy to play this time. The playground is only small in size and probably more suited for those under 5 years of age but I'm sure your older kidlets will still have fun - otherwise bring a ball or kite for them to use in the park. Meanwhile you can sit on the seat under the shade of a large tree and have a sticky beak at all of the surrounding real estate and pretend that you can't hear your offspring asking you to push them on the swing x
There are actually quite a few cafes along the Bay Run - which one is your favourite? Maybe I should write an article called the Bay Cafe Crawl!
89a Henley Marine Dr, Rodd Point
02 9713 5112
Open 7 days from 7am - 4pm
For Love Not Money - It's a philosophy that I am sure we would all love to live by, but sometimes in this day and age it is a wee bit difficult to put into practice. However I met someone last weekend who is living by that ethos. His name is James, and both he and his family have created an amazing child friendly "caface" (my new term for a cafe space) in the heart of St Peters. It's a cafe that is for both "big and little people", and it is a cafe that gives back to the local community within which it operates. Grab a coffee my lovelies, and sit back and relax so that I can tell you why I think Little Tastes Cafe is the bomb!
Little Tastes occupies a prime location in St Peter's Plaza which is smack bang next to St Peter's Train Station and right across the road from Sydney Park. We rocked up bright and early on a Saturday morning to Little Munch Little Tastes! Obviously you can arrive by train, or if you are like us and arrive by car, you can park in either of the Sydney Park's car parks, with the one next to the playground being the best option. There is also some limited (call it lucky) parking available on Goodsell St, just behind the cafe.
As soon as we arrived we were warmly greeted by some of the friendliest hospitality staff that I have met in a long time. A very tall chap (who I later found out was the owner James) asked the boys if they wanted to paint and of course they did (their nasty mother doesn't let them do it at home). Saturday is paint day at Little Tastes. The boys were shown into the courtyard at the back of the cafe and before I knew it, they were smocked up in an old T shirt, they had paint brushes in hand, and they let out their inner Picasso on the wall of the courtyard. A delightful lass called Josie from Holland (who is a qualified teacher) is employed specifically on Saturdays to look after the kids in the courtyard so that parents can hopefully eat their brunch in peace. Just to let you know Josie cleans up all the mess and the wall is painted white again during the week in time for Saturday! Such a simple but smart idea to keep kids entertained.
Now if you visit during the week or if you don't like your kids to get messy with paint (what tha!) head inside the cafe and you will find the Kids Corner. There are heaps of books, toys and games to keep kids occupied as well as loads of chalk, and they can basically scribble on whatever they want and the staff won't bat an eyelid because this place is all about the kids. So if you prefer your cafes with no children, I would suggest you head up the road to one of the hundred odd other cafes along King St in Newtown. There is plenty of room for prams in the outdoor seating area but not so much inside. High chairs are readily available and there are toilet facilities in the courtyard that have a baby change table. We sat outside and enjoyed the plane, train & automobile spotting opportunities happening around us, and I think it's the best spot to sit back and take it all in.
Whilst the boys were busy painting every square inch of the wall (apologies to those that arrived after us and found that all the white space had disappeared) I had a chat to James the owner, about his little treasure. James used to be a corporate guy. And even though the money was good, the self esteem wasn't and he was sick and tired of not spending time with his ladies (his gorgeous wife & two girls). So he quit his job. For a while he had been thinking that the area around Sydney Park lacked an affordable place to eat out for breeders (his word not mine) and without any previous experience he decided to open a cafe that would welcome both big and little people and that would also make a positive contribution to the local community. He wanted to show his children that you can be in business and not be greedy and that is how Little Tastes was born.
James has big plans for Little Tastes. Even though I think the cafe is pretty darn amazing as it is, here are some of the things on James' "to do list":
James is also keen to the get local youth, indigenous youth in particular, into the cafe and behind the pans in the form of offering traineeships. He wants to inspire and nurture local talent to help them show their true colours and show off good wholesome food with indigenous flavours. Again, it is about giving back to the local community within which Little Tastes operates. For Love Not Money keeps coming back to me. Whilst most businesses today are all about revenues, profit and shareholder return, this business seems to be entirely about giving!
The photos in this review will show you how welcoming of people Little Tastes is, but what you can't see is what happens "out of hours" so to speak. Besides sponsoring loads of local kids sporting teams, Little Tastes also help locals who are doing it tough. On a Saturday evening once all of their regular punters have gone home to their cosy little lives, the kitchen at Little Tastes uses any left overs to feed people who are sleeping rough across the road in Sydney Park. And to be honest I think they help out whenever the opportunities arise, because I noticed James sneak a egg and bacon roll plus a coffee to a guy down the lane way from the cafe who had obviously fallen on hard times.
So with our kidlets happily occupied painting and drawing, it was time for our caffeine fix. Cristian the barista is a man who knows his craft - his coffees are brewing brilliance! Not only did our skim flat whites taste perfect but the latte art on top of them was incredible. We had 4 coffees between us and each one was designed differently - my panda bear was a bit of a standout! Now the coffees are cheap - $3 for a regular, and $3.50 for a large!! And babycinos are free with any coffee order. Have you seen those prices anywhere else in Sydney lately? If you just want a takeaway there is a hole in the wall of the cafe where you place your order and you can be on your merry caffeinated way.
As the boys were too busy painting and drawing, I chose their breakfast for them and I'm pleased to report that there weren't any complaints because both items were just so good. The fruit salad came as a cute smiley face and it was quickly gobbled up except for the dragonfruit eyes - couldn't quite convince them to eat that. And those pancakes, well they were also hoovered down so that the boys could get back to Josie and the painting! Where ever possible they have tried to eliminate any added sugar to the kids meals on the menu, they just want to serve healthy yet tasty meals for our little people.
If you think the price of coffee is good, then check out the food on the menu! I am so over paying around $20 for breakfast and definitely over paying more than $10 for my kids meals. The most expensive item on the menu at Little Tastes is $14.00. And for that you receive a huge big breakfast with all the trimmings. Don't worry small prices don't mean small portions. Toni the chef dishes up big meals that are big on taste as well as some sweet little morsels that will have kids of all ages begging for more. I do believe the boys might have sampled a love heart cookie with sprinkles before they had their brekkie! Oh and make sure you try the banana bread - it's made daily in house with less sugar than the commercial loaves you see in every other cafe across Sydney - it looked and smelt amazing.
With the boys happily back in the care of Josie, Mr Munch and I settled in to enjoy our yummy breakfast. I chose the Corn Fritters with Avocado Salsa & Smoked Salmon ($12) - this was such a great combination of flavours. The fritters perhaps could have done with a few more corn kernels, but I'm probably just being a greedy guts saying that. Mr Munch is still marvelling that his Bacon & Eggs with Roast Tomato and Toast only cost him $8!! It is seriously brilliant value and I should also let you know that if you eat gluten free bread, it is available and you won't pay anything extra for it, unlike so many other joints in this big city of ours. They want to be able to accommodate as many dietary requirements as possible, all you have to do is tell one of staff members what your needs are and they will do their best to help you out.
I have to say our experience at Little Tastes was about as close to perfection as you can get when eating out with kids. We drank beautiful coffee and ate yummy food, we received awesome service and our kids were completely occupied. I do believe the husband even got a read of the papers in (I was too busy people watching). When we started to feel a bit guilty for occupying our table for too long we tried to drag the kids out of the courtyard - that proved to be a wee bit difficult. The only thing that worked was bribery - Picasso and Matisse would only leave if we promised to take them to the playground.
I am sure you are going to have to visit the playground across the road in Sydney Park as well, after you have finished at Little Tastes. For those of you who haven't been there before, Sydney Park has a brilliant playground with some really cool equipment and awesome sand pits, there are also loads of walking tracks and the newly completed wetlands viewing areas are the perfect spot to check out some local bird life. There is also an excellent kid's bike track so pack the scooters and bikes and let the kids off the leash to have a ton of fun.
James is a passionate man with big plans for his little cafe. He's got me hooked, I can't wait to go back to Little Tastes and see how it evolves. He also has my 3 boys hooked. The little men asked me both mornings since our visit to Little Tastes if we can go and visit Josie (they have serious crushes) and do some more painting, and the big man, Mr Munch has declared that it's the best value breakfast in all of Sydney.
It is most definitely all about love at Little Tastes, but we need to make sure they have enough money to continue that love. And the best way we can do that is by placing our backsides firmly on every seat in the cafe. If you are a breeder - spread the word and lets make sure this fabulous little cafe is around for a very long time x
***SINCE OUR REVIEW LITTLE TASTES ONLY OPENS MON - FRI, 6AM - 3PM.
ON WEEKENDS THEY HOST PARTIES***
641 King St, St Peters NSW 2044
0403 993 848
Open Mon - Fri: 6am - 3pm
Sat -Sun: parties
One of my favourite things about my Little Munch community is when I receive emails from you the readers, with recommendations about your favourite child friendly cafes. I add them to my ever expanding list of "to review" places and when I find myself in the neighbourhood I check them out. And this is how I found out about the Pig and Pastry in Petersham - a lovely reader sent me an email saying that she loved this cafe, so last weekend when we were in the hood, we stopped in for some breakfast.
The first thing that struck me as we turned off dreary Parramatta Road into the street where the Pig & Pastry is located, was how pretty the cafe was. Being called the Pig & Pastry I was thinking it was going to be quite masculine, but it most definitely wasn't. The blue and white exterior, the stripey awnings, the white table and chairs with flowering potted plants sitting on them make this space like a diamond in the rough. Then we drove around the corner and we saw Petersham Park, so I completely understand why my lovely reader is so smitten with the Pig & Pastry.
The interior of the Pig & Pastry is just as lovely as the exterior. There is easy pram access and high chairs are available. The interior space isn't that huge, so I wouldn't recommend it for Mother's Groups (instead grab takeaways and head to the park). When we arrived just after opening time, we scored the last table for 4 and by the time we left, the place was packed - so be warned arrive early on weekends. There are also tables outside which is the favourite possie of locals and their fur babies.
When we first arrived the pastry cabinet was just starting to be filled up. My little piglets spied the pain au chocolates ($4) immediately and demanded them for breakfast - gotta love decisive kids first thing in the morning. They washed these down with hot chocolates. Babycinos and kids size milkshakes are also available. If your kidlets are fans of pastries, banana bread, toast, pancakes and fruit salad are all available for them to eat. The lunch time menu for kids includes crumbed chicken strips or a cheeseburger with chips for $7.00. Some other options from the main menu that kids may enjoy are sandwiches made on the Pig & Pastry's very own sourdough, as well as freshly baked pork sausage rolls.
Adults are spoilt for choice at breakfast and lunch as well as everything in between. Of course there are all of the mouth watering pastries and sweet treats in the front cabinet for you to choose from but there is also a delicious sounding breakfast and lunch menu. At lunch time you can also indulge in an alcoholic beverage as the cafe is licensed and I think a glass of chilled rose would go perfectly with crispy duck & sweet corn pancakes or the crisp fish cakes with minted peas, poached egg & hollandaise.
If you are not a lover of pig or pastry then you must try the Breakfast Pot - bircher muesli, rhubarb compote, yoghurt, granola & fresh blueberries, strawberries and shredded green apple make up this pot of deliciousness. For all of you little oinkers the poached eggs with streaky bacon, roast tomato & diced field mushrooms with herbs on toasted sourdough will fill you up perfectly for the big day ahead. And if you need coffee to also get you through the day, they make a magnificent drop at the Pig & Pastry.
Now there are not only pretty flowering plants on all the tables in the cafe but there are also bunches of very pretty flowers for sale. Hopefully you can convince your other half to buy you some, I however had no such luck, he prefers to buy his from the local servo!
After you have finished at the charming Pig & Pastry why not grab a takeaway (and perhaps a pastry) and head across the road into Petersham Park for a stroll. Your kidlets will no doubt be itching for some entertainment, so a run will do them the world of good and you too may need to burn off some of those calories you just inhaled! The playground is located on the other side of the park to where you will enter so go forth and burn those calories x
So my dear Little Munchers have you got a favourite kid friendly cafe that I haven't reviewed as yet?
1 Station St, Petersham NSW 2049
02 9568 4644
Open weekdays: 7.30am - 4.00pm
weekends: 8am - 4.00pm
It seems that Hospitality Professionals have finished gentrifying the pubs of Sydney and are now moving on the good old Bowlo. The Greens in North Sydney was the first example of this and now I have found another family friendly bowlo that has been given a bit of the trendy treatment - The Backyard in Concord.
I found out about the Backyard via a press release that I was sent from the owners. It raved about how kid friendly they were, so one day during the school holidays when my little ferals and I were suffering from cabin fever, we escaped the house and decided to road test the lunch menu. I plugged the address into the GPS and off we went in search of the Backyard. We arrived at the address and saw an unpretentious building that was home to the Briars Greenlees Sporting Club. I couldn't see any sign for the Backyard so I decided to drive around the block just in case I was at the wrong entrance. I ended up back in the Briars ample car park and thought I would pop in and ask if they knew where this Backyard actually was. We walked into the club and still no signage, so I asked the first person I saw - a lady working behind the bar and she advised me that the Backyard was the club's bistro down the back.
As we wandered into The Backyard dining area I finally saw some signage! We were greeted by a handsome chap behind the counter who showed me the menu and advised that we ordered and paid at the counter. After a quick scan I placed our order and I was given a buzzer, then we headed out the back doors into the "backyard" so to speak. The club has 3 greens - two are in use for bowling and the third - the backyard - is for kidlets to run amok on. The boys were like bees to a honey pot and straight away started playing with the big pile of toys available on the green. There are well used Little Tikes cars, building blocks, cricket sets and more for kids to muck around with on the green, whilst you sit back and relax of a cool drink or an expertly brewed coffee.
The outdoor eating area is undercover and you have a perfect view over the green, so you can always watch what your kids get up to. There are tables of different sizes and there is plenty of room to park your pram right next to where you sit. High chairs are readily available and if you do need them, the toilets are located inside. There is also an inside dining area which would be the best place to sit on a hot summers day. You will also find a big stack of colouring sheets and pencils in here if you need something to keep the kids occupied.
On to the all important food - it is a stand out! The Italian inspired menu changes regularly. It is short and sweet but it all sounds so good. The kids have there own reasonably priced menu and the boys chose the flathead & chips ($6) and spaghetti with napoli sauce & cheesy toast. Both serves were the perfect size for the lads to polish off and let me tell you those flathead fillets were sublime! The other choices on the menu are a chicken schnitzel with chips & salad ($6) or a chicken parmigiana with chips & salad ($7). For dessert there are two choices: ice cream with very berry or choc sauce ($4) and a choc fudge cookie crumble sundae ($5), which sounds delightfully decadent. Otherwise there is a huge selection of cake in the cabinet inside. After much umming and ahhing the boys went for cupcakes!
I chose the spaghettini with prawns, calamari, chilli oil & parsley ($18) and it was simply delicious. The seafood and pasta were cooked perfectly and there was only a hint of chilli, so you didn't find that your mouth was on fire and I loved the garnish of crunchy fried bread crumbs and micro herbs. Some other examples on the main menu are the Briar's steak sandwich ($12), three cheese eggplant parmigiana with salad & chips ($12); beer battered flat head with mushy peas, chips & tartare sauce ($12); or the dirty big tommahawk steak - 500g bone in, rib eye, grass fed yearling steak with your choice of mash & veg or chips & salad ($32) and all I can say about that is Yabba Dabba Do!
The Backyard opens at 11am every day, so you can just drop in for a spot of morning tea. They make Pablo & Rusty coffee which is nothing short of brilliant (my personal favourite and as such I will go out of my way to find a cafe that serves it). You are spoilt for choice with the sweet treats and once again it is all reasonably priced. If you are just in need of a wine, because parenthood does that to you some days (actually almost every day) you can also just enjoy your vino whilst the kids play and if you don't have to count your calories grab a bowl of thick chips with rosemary salt and aioli......nom nom!
We had such a nice experience at The Backyard - we were actually the only people sitting outside and the only family dining there. According to the press release I received you need to make a booking on Friday and Saturday evenings as it gets packed. The Backyard's motto is a "place for all" and it most definitely is - it is still has that friendly club feel which will keep the regular patrons happy, the fabulous food will keep the foodies happy, the green will keep the kidlets happy, the booze and coffee will keep the parents happy - have I missed anyone?
So Little Munchers has your local bowlo been gentrified yet? And if so is it a family friendly gentrification?
14 Ian Pde, Concord, NSW
(02) 9743 1907
Open 7 days for lunch & dinner
One of the first cafes we reviewed for Little Munch was the very kid friendly Hopscotch Cafe at Wareemba. It closed its doors a few months back, so we decided to pop over there recently to see what it had been replaced with. I'm excited to tell you that a very good cafe called Carmel's is now operating from there and whilst it's not as kid friendly (i.e. it doesn't have any toys) everything else about the cafe is fantastic.
Carmel's is named after the owner, a vibrant foodie who previously owned a restaurant in nearby Drummoyne. Carmel has turned the space into a warm and welcoming family friendly cafe, that has a firm Italian influence to both the interior design and the menu. The above photo (taken from Carmel's Facebook page) highlights the changes to the interior.
When we arrived on a busy Sunday morning the place was buzzing and all the tables were taken. Luckily for us, the staff kindly made room for us at a communal table up the back near the kitchen which was reserved for an hour later. When dining with my dear little boys we never linger long, especially when they don't have any activities to occupy themselves with, so being in and out in hour was not going to be a problem for us. This is a great spot to sit as a family because you can check out all of the kitchen staff in action, it is right next to the excellent toilet facilities that contain a baby change table and you are also close to the back door that you can escape out of, if one of your brood have an embarrassing melt down and you need some time out with them.
Knowing that we needed to be in and out in an hour, the staff quickly took our orders and served us our food. They serve Vittoria coffee at Carmel's and it was perfectly brewed. The boys had a babycino which came with no adornment and a freshly squeezed apple juice served in a takeaway cup.
They have a kids menu for both breakfast and lunch and there are three items on each. For breakfast the options are: toast & spread $3; ricotta pancake with maple syrup and ice cream $7.50; and one free range egg, a rasher of bacon and toast $8.50. The boys had the toast and a freshly baked muffin ($5.00) - banana bread and fruit toast are also on the adults menu if your kidlets would prefer those. At lunch time the menu items for kids are: ham & cheese sandwich $6.50; penne napoli $11.50; and schnitzel & chips $13.50.
Now on to the adults food, the breakfast menu is available all day which will no doubt impress weekend diners. I think Mr Munch needs to start his own review site on Sydney's best bacon & egg rolls (perhaps he can call it Little Oink) as he yet again ordered one. According to him Carmel's version for $9.50 is up there with the best in the city as it was full of smoked bacon and it had the tasty addition of provolone cheese. The roll too was delicious - an Italian panino from the ovens of another Little Munch favourite - Mercato e Cucina in Gladesville.
We dined with a dear friend who lives nearby and she ordered the Scarpetta Eggs ($15) - eggs baked in diced tomato, capsicum and pancetta and I had the 3 cheeses omelette ($13.50) which was oozing with asiago, pecorino and dolce provolone and there was some pancetta thrown in for good measure. We all agreed that our breakfasts were delicious. My friend had dined at Carmel's earlier in the week at lunch time and she was quite impressed with their lunch time offerings.
Just to give you an idea of what you can indulge in at lunch, the menu covers meatballs (served by themselves in a panino or with spaghetti), pasta, burgers, salads and panini. Lunch time menu items range from $10.50 for a panini up to $19.50 for a linguini gamberi. There are also some very decadent sweet treats available on the front counter if you are only in need of a little pick me up with your coffee.
So whilst it is sad that Sydney has lost one of its great child friendly cafes, Carmel's is still a very good cafe. Besides the decent food and coffee another big attraction for me was that Carmel's family all seem to help her out in the cafe. Her gorgeous old Dad, Pietro, was there wiping down tables and carrying clean glasses and coffee cups from the kitchen to the front counter. Locals were greeted like long lost relatives (perhaps they were) and there was lots of laughter bounding off the walls - it's most definitely a cafe we will be back to x
284 Great North Rd, Wareemba NSW
02 9712 7006
Open 7days: 7am - 4pm
Have you heard about the new breed of parents called Lawn Mowers? Some parenting guru has supposedly coined the phrase that is meant to apply to parents who remove every possible obstacle out of the way of their kids before disaster strikes them down. The theory says that a Lawn Mower Parent is a Helicopter Parent on steroids. Why parents need to be pigeon holed is beyond me but if I had to describe my style, I would say that I'm more of a Free Range parent, especially if I have to decide between letting my child fall off the top of a climbing frame and having my cup of coffee go cold - does that make me a bad parent? Surely not!
Let's backtrack a bit. We had arrived at Pirrama Park in Pyrmont on a Sunday morning just before 9.00am. The waterside park is fabulous and full of loads of climbing equipment, a huge sand pit, whirly gigs, the dreaded swings, a scooter path, loads of space to run around in and a great water play area. It's the perfect playground for a warm day and we have been to it a few times over the years. Now there are loads of cool playgrounds with water play areas all over Sydney but not many of them have cafes (and toilets) right next door. Every time we have been to the Pirrama Park in the past, the cafe has always been full, hence our decision to arrive there early last Sunday morning.
As soon as we parked the car on the street next to the park, and parted with way too much of my hard earned blogging coin for parking (which I also needed for the CASH ONLY cafe), the boys were out of the car and off to wreak havoc in the playground. We showed them where we would be sitting over at the cafe and encouraged them to go and have some fun. If you have kids the same age as ours or older you can let them play by themselves in the playground as you have pretty good visibility of them from the cafe. So you can sit back and relax and enjoy your coffee in relative peace. If your kidlets are younger, you will probably have to get takeaways or come to the cafe when the little ones have run out of steam in the playground.
The menu at the Pirrama Park Cafe whilst basic, covers all of the staples and nothing costs more than $17.00. They have a dedicated kids menu which is starting to verge on the expensive side but you are in the inner city after all, and can't get much closer to the best Harbour in the World. You can see the kids menu and normal breakfast below and at lunch time the staples include burgers and paninnis and of course hot chips for the adults! There are also freshly baked muffins and other sweet treats available on the front counter to have with your coffee at morning/afternoon tea.
Pirrama Park Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch and everything in between 6 days a week (closed Mondays). It is located in a pavilion just across from the playground and you order, pay and take a number at the counter and your meal is brought to your table. They have high chairs and there is loads of room and very easy access for prams. There are excellent toilet facilities at the other end of the cafe and you will find a baby change table in the dedicated family/handicapped loo. Everything was very clean. Staff were cleaning down all the tables and chairs when we arrived and council staff were cleaning both the toilets and playground as well. Even the garbage bins were emptied by the Garbo's during our breakfast!
Just as our coffees arrived we momentarily lost sight of No. 1 son. Luckily I am in the possession of a camera with a decent zoom lens and I found him perched happily on top of the climbing frame playing I'm the King of the Castle. Mr Munch and I exchanged glances - should we be over there just in case he falls or should we drink our coffees whilst they were still hot? We chose the later and I'm happy to report that in this instance, Free Range parenting worked as he didn't fall but climbed down safely. I presume Lawn Mower Parents drink way too many cold coffees.
For breakfast, Mr Munch road tested the bacon and egg roll as per usual and it received the thumbs up. A nice free range runny egg on top of bacon and rocket served on a crusty roll. I was going for a healthier option of poached eggs on toast but for some reason it came with a big swirl of olive oil on top - first time I have seen this and to be honest I wasn't a fan. The lady on the table next to us ordered the muesli with yoghurt and fruit and it looked like a big divine breakfast parfait and I think I will choose that next time (she gobbled it all up before I could zoom in and take a sneaky photo!).
The coffee at the cafe is decent, maybe not as strong as I normally like it. If you are a true coffee snob the trendy Zebra Lounge is across the way a bit where you can pick up some very good Campos coffees but just be prepared to wait a bit, as this cafe is normally packed on weekends.
We had fed the boys breakfast before we left home so they played for a good hour or more before they came over to us. By this stage it was after 10am so we ordered them some morning tea. The cafe's babycinos are so cute! For $2 the little sweetie came in a disposable espresso cup filled with luke warm froth and sprinkled with chocolate dust and sprinkles plus a a few baby marshmallows. The freshly baked muffin of the day was apple and raspberry ($4.50) and it was adorned with smarties - the perfect muffin for kidlets!
Pyrmont Park & Cafe are now a firm favourite of our family and it is right up there with the best child friendly cafes in Sydney. It is the ideal place to catch up with family and friends and the perfect spot to take visitors to Sydney. You can walk all the way around the water's edge in both directions (keep a close eye on wandering children although as none of it is fenced). There are some lovely picnic spots as well as seats to sit and watch all the action on this end of the Harbour.
No matter what type of parent you are, you and your brood will have an awesome time at Pirrama Park and Cafe. The combined package of the location, the playground and the cafe make it first class and it makes me realise how truly lucky we are to live in Sydney x
Cnr Harris St & Pirrama Rd, Pyrmont NSW 2009
Open Tue -Thu: 9am - 4pm; Sat - Sun (& PH): 8am - 5pm
This week is my first ever children's book week and the pressure is on. I've seen pictures all over FB and Instagram of the marvellous creations that parents are coming up with. There are some truly creative souls out there and sadly I am not one of them. I outsource. Thanks to the good folks at Kmart I have found a very fabulous Darth Vader outfit for No. 1 son to wear, as he is becoming a bit of a Star Wars nerd. I didn't actually realise before this year how many businesses get on the book week bandwagon....even cafes do! One such cafe is the very child friendly Twine & Twig in Wentworth Point.
Twine & Twig is not only a cafe but it is also a 2nd hand book store hence why if you walk in there this week you may see their staff dressed as Little Red Riding Hood or Pinnochio - they are totally getting into the spirit of the 69th Children's Book Week. I love the concept of a cafe and book store, they kind of go hand in hand, don't you think? At Twine & Twig you will find used books on shelves and in baskets around the cafe that are all for sale. On the back wall there is a large chalk art mural depicting Sherlock Holmes with a couple of other dudes (please excuse my ignorance as I have no idea who they are). The book theme continues at your table where you will notice that each table's number has the name of an author on it. So when you go up and order you can say " Hi bring my cappuccino to Bronte please or I'll have skim soy latte at J K Rowling's table thanks". There are signs saying that the books are for sale and to keep your little kidlet's hands off them but if you wander to the front of the cafe you will find a little box full of kids books that you can take to your table for little ones to read.
Now you might also notice that all of the tables inside the cafe are a really decent size. I think this is because Twine & Twig have a huge stack of board games that can be borrowed and played at the table - and as we all know your usual small cafe tables are not going to fit your typical Monopoly game, a few coffees and a sandwich on it. So if you have older kids you can sit back and enjoy your brew over a game of cards or Scattergories. Just to let you know there are a couple of T & Cs in regards to the games - a bond is payable depending on which game you choose. This is just to make sure that the games are not damaged. If you order a dessert the games are complimentary.
Now the other child friendly aspects of Twine & Twig are that they have high chairs, super kid friendly staff and cute little kids menu. I ordered the sandwich & milk combo ($8.50) for lunch for my youngest. The ham & cheese sourdough toastie came with awesome stretchy cheese which kept him amused for quite a while. They also have cheeseburger sliders, hot dogs and eggs on toast for your little ones. In between meal times you will find sweet treats in the front cabinet than can be enjoyed with milkshakes and babycinos.
There are loads of yummy salads and sandwiches for adults to enjoy at lunch time. The couple of times that I have visited I've had really tasty chicken sandwiches made with Brasserie Bread. Sometimes it's just nice to go to a cafe and have a sandwich and coffee, nothing too fancy, and not having a big serve of hot chips on the side! They actually do serve sides of fried polenta cubes if you are in need of some serious fried carbs.
So if you are looking for somewhere to take the kids for afternoon after school this week, I think Twine and Twig is the place to be. And tell me dear parents, do you outsource your kid's book week costume or are you one of those creative souls that I am envious of?
Shop 3C The Piazza, Wentworth Point NSW
02 8199 1048
Mon - Fri: 7am - 5pm
Sat - Sun: 8am - 5pm
I received an email from a lovely read a couple of weeks ago advising me of a new cafe that had opened up in Newington. She thought the Lemon Tree Cafe was such a gem and she wanted to share it with other Mums in the community. And I totally agree with her - I have visited the cafe twice in the last couple of weeks and it most definitely a lovely child friendly cafe.
Lemon Tree Cafe is located in the Newington Village Marketplace, if you're not from this part of Sydney, it is near Sydney Olympic Park. There is a large car park servicing the village and by chance on our first visit we parked directly outside the Lemon Tree Cafe. It was a very wet day and when we arrived at the cafe for brunch, it was quite empty. The interior of the cafe is on the smallish side and at first I was a bit bewildered as to why my lovely informant thought the cafe was so child friendly. After I had a coffee and some caffeine had kick started my brain, I realised that there was a large outdoor area behind the cafe. I took a peek through the back door and there I saw a spacious court yard complete with toys and lemon trees! But alas on a rainy day you cannot sit out there as it is exposed to the elements.
Luckily the boys had not seen the toys so they were none the wiser and just sat and ate their toasted ham and cheese sandwich. The Lemon Tree Cafe has a small kids menu for $8 a meal. The three items include a ham and cheese toastie with a side of chips, grilled chicken or nuggets with salad and chips as well as pasta with your choice of 3 sauces. Luckily I only ordered one toastie for the boys to share, as it was huge. The adults menu is very reasonably priced - I ordered corn fritters with bacon and roast tomato for $10! This meal normally sets you back at least $16 in other cafes around Sydney. The corn fritters were not your typical round discs but instead they were more like croquettes - it doesn't really matter what they looked like because they tasted delicious. Mr Munch's eggs benny was also excellent value for $12.00.
The coffee was good, very good and it came with a wee piece of chocolate brownie - I so love these little touches in cafes. Anyway because the coffee was so good and because I wanted to check out the outdoor area, I found myself there again in two days time when the sun was shining. This time it was only me and my youngest road testing the Lemon Tree Cafe.
When we arrived we placed our morning tea order at the front counter and then headed straight out the back to the courtyard area. I found a lovely spot right next to a lemon tree and my babe headed straight over to the toys and brought his favourites to the table to play with. This courtyard is the sort of place you could sit in for ages and soak up the winter sun. It is also very fragrant, besides the lemon trees there are pots and pots of herbs and lavender everywhere. You will also find a water station out here with fresh fruit in the water dispenser - once again the little touches.
Our morning tea was delivered promptly. A sweet little babycino complete with the wee bit of brownie and tiny marshmallows came for my boy and it is absolutely FREE, coffee for me and a slice of decadent chocolate cake to share. We spent ages enjoying our morning tea and it was oh so quiet the whole time, only one other table was occupied. I'm thinking this would be an awesome place for Mother's group to meet up - the food and coffee is so good and so reasonably priced and the outdoor is reasonably secure so your little ones can't really scamper off.
Now if your kidlets do indeed need to scamper for a bit, after you have finished at the Lemon Tree Cafe there is an excellent playground not too far away. The Pierre de Coubertin Park is within very easy walking distance. Beside having lots of space to run around you will also find climbing equipment, swings, whirly gigs and one very cool bike rack! Just in case you didn't know, Pierre is considered the father of the modern day Olympics as he founded the International Olympic Committee.
So there you have it, yet another fabulously child friendly cafe in Sydney and a very big THANK YOU to Leyla for letting me and therefore all of the Little Munch community know about the Lemon Tree Cafe x
Shop 2 Avenue of Europe, Newington NSW
02 8283 0092
Open 7 days for breakfast & lunch
I have been conducting some research recently on who serves free babycinos in this caffeine obsessed city of ours and I came across an Instagram from Simon's Food Favourites of a very sweet babycino at Double Roasters Cafe in Marrickville that was absolutely free. I first heard about Double Roasters last year when I had an awesome coffee made with their beans at the home of the world's best babycino, Sorelle on Grand . It has always been at the back of my mind to visit them and when I found myself in their hood last week I stopped on by.
Double Roasters has recently been renamed Wicks Park Cafe (it is located across the road from said park). When we arrived, we easily found a park on the street near the cafe (note this is only possible after 9am on weekdays). Approaching the cafe my hipster radar immediately prickled as there were some seriously cool dudes and dudettes wandering in and out of the cafe. Now I'm not the most hip suburban mother out there, but I did have my seriously hip, inner city Singaporean living Sista with me, so I made her walk through the door first. I don't know what I was worried about because there were people of all shapes and sizes, as well as a good number of families dining at the cafe so myself and my hips felt right at home.
We found a table amongst the families and menus were immediately brought to us - kids menus for my little dudes and adult menus for us. It was morning tea time so I didn't order anything off the kids menu for the boys except their drinks - the free babycino and a kids sized milkshake. I am pleased to report that that the usual deep fried suspects are missing from the kids menu at the Wicks Park Cafe - there isn't a nugget in sight! Instead your kidlets can dine on things such as vegemite sandwiches, ham and cheese toasties and eggs on toast - and it is all reasonably priced. For morning tea the boys had a shortbread man with sprinkles and a choc honeycomb frog.
Now on to the adult bellies - the coffee was simply outstanding - I'm thinking one of the best I've had in Sydney and I can completely understand why the cafe won 3 cups in the recent SMH good cafe awards. They serve delicious sounding food, nothing too fancy pants as the coffee is obviously the hero of this cafe. My jet lagged sista went for the bacon and egg roll which was tasty but just a tad tricky to eat as the poached eggs kept popping out of the bun each time she went to pick it up to eat it, (which was quite amusing to watch), so a knife and fork operation was required to eat it. My finger of chocolate caramel slice was the perfect accompaniment to my coffee. There all sorts of other sweet treats in the cake cabinet and I loved that their freshly baked muffins were only $3 - so cheap compared to other muffins in cafes across Sydney. If you are after a meal some items on the menu include Croque Monsieur, zucchini and ricotta fritters with house cured ocean trout, and smashed avo sprinkled with crumbled fetta, dukkah and lemon on sourdough.
There is loads of space to park you, your tribe and your pram at the Wicks Park Cafe. They have seating inside and out and the décor is what I would describe as recycled chic. A massive mural of a coffee process dominates the main wall of the cafe (you almost need a science degree to decipher it) and the coffee roaster seamlessly blends into the cafe. Fresh flowers are on every table inside and outside you will find blankets to keep you warm on chilly mornings. They also have high chairs for hip little bottoms to sit in. Another child friendly factor about the Wicks Park Cafe is that they are open from 6.00am every day, so bleary eyed parents you can rejoice that amazing caffeine is available for you so early in the morning! The service was very efficient and perhaps there was a teeny weeny bit of hipster attitude amongst the staff - oh well, the young and gorgeous these days....
At the conclusion of our morning tea I did the obligatory loo check. Wicks Park Cafe have a lovely large loo that doesn't contain a baby change table, but there is enough room to get your pram in there and all your kids at the one time if life dictates that you all need to pee at the same time. As we walked back to our table from our wee break, I noticed a small bucket of toys on a shelf just outside the bathroom. I wasn't going to let the boys inspect them as we had a playground to explore - the Wicks Park playground to be exact.
Across the busy road from the cafe you will find Wicks Park. It has loads of green space and a reasonable size playground. Unless you are a total free range parent you cannot (and should not) let your kids play at the park whilst you sit outside the cafe and enjoy your morning cup of Joe. After our morning tea we grabbed takeaways (cause that coffee was just so darn good) and took it over to the playground and the let the boys off their leashes to run wild.
I didn't expect that such a seriously cool cafe as the Wicks Park Cafe would be so child friendly, but I'm so pleased it is. So my dear parents may I suggest that next time you find yourself in the hood of Marrickville that you visit Wicks Park Cafe - don't worry if your hips are too big to be a hipster, you just need to try their coffee x
199 Victoria Rd, Marrickville NSW
02 9518 0771
Open from 6am - 3pm every day!
In my quest to compile a list of Sydney's best babycinos, I came across a photo of Bar Contessa's little delight on the SMH's Good Food website. So as quick as a flash I had my little family breakfasting in Balmain the very next weekend.
Bar Contessa is one seriously cool cafe. The owners have tried to bring a little bit of NYC to Sydney. Normally it's the kind of cafe that I would walk straight past if I had my boys in tow, as I would have thought it was just way too cool for school and not welcoming of children. How wrong would I have been!
As soon as you walk in you will see the beautiful Contessa painted across one wall of the cafe. She dominates the industrial cool space. There is seating both inside and out, but I would recommend sitting inside, as Bar Contessa is located on busy Darling St and there is a bus stop right at the front door which may not be too good for wandering toddlers. The cafe has only one high chair (that I could see), so you might need to come prepared and squeeze your pram in or have your little one in a baby carrier or on your knee just in case the high chair isn't available. The morning we visited there were loads of families all piled in - that babycino is obviously a big draw card!
Besides the amazing babycino I think your kidlets will also find the nutella and banana scrolls at Bar Contessa "absolutely amazeballs" (to quote No. 2 son)! These wickedly delicious scrolls take centre stage of the front counter and as long as your child doesn't have any allergies, I think they will demand and devour these very quickly indeed, and you of course will need to have a little taste test as they are oh so very good.
Now there is only one way to eat this bad boy, as No. 1 son demonstrates (so make sure you take plenty of baby wipes with you!). There isn't a dedicated kids menu but I think you will find quite a few options for your kidlets to eat off the main menu. The glass cabinet is also full of muffins, croissants, cakes and other delights that all kiddliwinks will like.
The menu is extensive at Bar Contessa. It covers all of your sweet and savoury favourites for breakfast. Our poached eggs from the Hawkesbury Valley on organic sourdough and farmhouse omelette (double smoked ham, field mushrooms, roma tomatoes, caramelised onion & cheddar) also served on organic sourdough, were absolutely delicious. I'm pretty sure everything served at Bar Contessa is absolutely delicious.
At lunch time the menu covers salads, parmys, pasta, burgers and their BRAT sounds perfectly bratty to me: grilled hickory smoked bacon, rocket, smashed avaocado, roma tomato, dijon mustard & basil pesto mayo on toasted organic sourdough.
They serve coffee from The Grounds at Bar Contessa, so although we haven't been to this very popular cafe yet, I can now say that I have had their coffee, and it is a great brew. So if you are in the neighbourhood in between meals I would thoroughly recommend a coffee and one of the yummy looking cakes or scrolls in their front counter - they have cinnamon scrolls that look just as good if not better than the nutella ones.
One of the reasons I don't like venturing into too cool for school cafes in Sydney with my babes, is that the staff give you the evil eye as soon as you walk in - you can be made to feel like second class citizens just because you decided to breed. But there was none of that attitude at Bar Contessa. When we arrived a little after 8am the place was already quite busy. There was one lady running the floor and she was awesome. She made everyone feel oh so welcome, she ensured the boy's scrolls were served immediately and she was just amazingly friendly - service scored 10 out of 10.
So next time you find yourself in down town Balmain, don't walk on past Bar Contessa - most definitely step on in and partake in their amazing coffee and baked goods and pretend for a wee moment that you are just hangin' in down town NYC with your kidlets being the uber cool parents that I know you all are x
371 Darling St, Balmain NSW 2041
Mon - Fri: 7.00am - 3.30pm
Sat - Sun: 8.00am - 3.00pm