We love getting out and exploring other parts of Sydney on weekends with the boys and I really recommend that you do too. I sometimes feel like I am on holidays when we a visit a suburb we haven't really been to before. And it's even more fun when we find a brilliant cafe or other eatery there that welcomes little kids with open arms. Take the funky Ristretto & Co in downtown Liverpool, it is a good example of what I'm raving on about!
Ristretto & Co is located just down the street from the Westfield shopping centre in Liverpool. There is a handy car park right across the street from the cafe. Now don't be fooled by the cute little façade of Ristretto & Co. This is most definitely more than a hole in the wall type of cafe. When you walk in the door, one of the friendly members of staff with show you to a table down the back in the more spacious under cover alfresco dining area.
Ristretto & Co is styled similarly to other on trend cafes in Sydney at the moment. Recycled chic with loads of greenery. There are tables of all shapes and sizes, and at the back of the cafe you will see Ristretto's fabulous food truck dominated by a gorgeous diva. It's all very funky and I love it. And so did my boys. To compensate for not having kids activities, I gave the boys my camera and told them to snap away (suffice to say they won't be winning any photographic prizes any time soon).
So can take your pram along? Well, Mr Munch and I were debating whether or not we thought that Ristretto & Co was pram friendly, when we saw a Dad confidently drive (at speed) his pram straight into the cafe and park it right next to his table! So yes you can. However, if the front area of the cafe is full with the take away coffee crowd, you might have to smile very sweetly at them and ask them to get out of your way (or just run straight over their toes if they don't). There are also high chairs available too to restrain your little ones. And if someone has the call of nature, you will find the loo in a small hallway at the back right of the cafe - just be careful that you don't walk into the hairdressers that Ristretto & Co is right next to.
Now lets move onto the food and coffee - there is a menu just for kids called Bambini Bites. And it is impressive and surprisingly great value (with a smile). With nothing over $6.00 it makes dining out with kids more affordable. Sadly my boys didn't road test anything off this menu as they had seen the amazing array of nutella donuts and cronuts as they first walked into the cafe and ordered those instead (see if you can get past them!). They also sipped on babycinos ($1.50) which come in disposable espresso cups - perfect! And as you can see from the above photo the coffee is by Campos and it is of course superior!
All of your standard cafe favourites are available at breakfast time at Ristretto & Co. Avo Smash, Bircher Muesli, Eggs Benny and Hotcakes for example. And those hotcakes are stunning! The plump hotcakes are full of blueberries and are served up with beautiful fresh fruit, sweet spiced ricotta, maple and coconut syrup and then topped with some caramel popcorn!! Oh my it was good and very reasonably priced at $15.00.
The Ristretto & Co Breaky Pan ($19) was an interesting selection for Mr Munch. Normally the one for the typical bacon and egg roll, or an omelette, he decided to venture out and try something different. What can I say? Underwhelmed. He missed his bacon for a start (could have ordered that as an extra), and polenta chips are absolutely on his no-go list for future, however the eggs and sausage were magnificent. The mushrooms were lacking flavour and could have been given a little more punch, and overall the dish could have been improved if served perhaps on a bed of puréed spiced tomato to add a little liquid to what was a relatively dry pan. I suspect some people will absolutely love this Breaky Pan, but alas not a favourite of Mr Munch.
Now I had a few readers comment on my social media pages that they couldn't believe that there was a trendy cafe in Liverpool! Actually I think there are quite a few. As there are in Campbelltown, Parramatta, Penrith, Bankstown, Castle Hill etc. So I'm challenging you Little Munchers to leave the safety net of your local "hood" and get out and explore this big beautiful city of ours - so much cheaper than booking yourself an o/s holiday! Go on, off you go and have a foodie experience somewhere different in this wonderful, culturally diverse and beautiful city of ours - I dare you - and I want you to tell me, and others, all about it!!!
Ristretto & Co also own a cafe in nearby Bigge Park, called The Shed. We ran out of time to check it out but I've heard along the grapevine that Bigge Park is going have a 5 million dollar water play playground built this year! So we will be back to Liverpool as soon as that water starts spurting x
158 Northumberland St, Liverpool NSW
Mon - Fri: 6am - 4pm
Sat: 7am - 3pm
Sun: 8am - 1pm
Mr Munch seems to always be jettisoning off to some far flung place for work and more often than not I am his airport transfer service. When he arrives back, he is hanging for a decent coffee as it's probably been a week or so since he has had one (when you see articles about why Australia is so good, on top of the list should be that we brew the best coffee in the world!). Anyway I have my little list of coffee joints that we normally go to, but quite often they aren't that kid friendly. However now I've found a new place to add to the list, and it's going straight to the top, as it is both welcoming of families and also serves up one damn fine brew.
Little Munchers, let me introduce you to Cafe Two Fives in Rosebery. This is a funky little establishment just off the very busy Gardeners Road - it's less than 10 minutes from the airport. And here's a tip - don't park on Gardeners Road, it is just too darn busy and as you can see from the photo above, it is very easy to have a dingle on it. So park around the corner in Berry Street - this is where the entrance to the cafe is.
When we arrived mid morning on a weekday, Cafe Two Fives was relatively empty. There is seating both inside and out, and if you have a pram the outdoor seating gives you more space to park it. As we are pram free these days we opted to sit inside. As soon as we walked in the door, my little man spotted the toy corner. He grabbed a few things and brought them to the table to play with. Besides the toys there is also colouring in and books to read. With our little mate happily occupied, Mr Munch and I ordered our coffee up at the front counter and then discussed foreign exchange (well it was a discussion on how much cheaper duty free is in overseas countries than it is in Oz and, did he actually get the perfume I asked for).
I'm not sure what beans they use at Cafe Two Fives, but they certainly make an excellent flat white that's for sure. Besides your regular garden variety coffees, they also make some interesting concoctions such as a mint mocha, iced orange latte and coffee gelato macchiato. And of course for our little ones they make babycinos with a marshmallow on the side. For those of you who can get through the day without caffeine there are Prana Chais (both warm and iced) as well as some seriously healthy sound juices and smoothies such as The Hulk - kale, cucumber, apple, broccoli, pear & celery (I think you would be peeing green for days after that one).
Now the food at Cafe Two Fives is really cheap in comparison to so many other trendy Sydney cafes. The most expensive thing I saw on the menu was $15.00. We chose a couple of options off the Breakfast menu - the Turkish BERT (bacon, egg, rocket, tomato & chilli mayo on toasted Turkish bread) and the Breakfast Bruschetta (poached egg, avo, fetta & a salsa on toasted sourdough). Both hit the spot perfectly. So many of the menu items have quirky names such as the Folded Leprechaun (a potato & ham omelette); the Mor' Rockin (a Pete Evans type of salad); and the Fiery Cow (a very un Pete Evans type of burger).
There isn't a menu for kidlets but there are a few options on the menu for them to fill their little bellies with. I'm sure most kids will love the Egg Salute (2 soft boiled eggs with soldier toast); or the Hamburgler (good old fashion burger). Or they can just go for a cronut like my babe did. If you are early enough in the day, the selection of these calorific little beauties is amazing and as they are Brewtown Cronuts, they are some of the best you will get in Sydney.
The aim of Cafe Two Fives is "to provide a relaxed modern family friendly space with quality food and coffee at a reasonable price" and they seriously deliver on this promise. If you are en-route to the airport it is an ideal place to caffeinate yourself and if you are local - well lucky you, you can go there whenever you want x
Little Munchers, do you have a favourite coffee house that you drop into on the way to the airport? Is it kid friendly?
Shop 2/331 Gardeners Rd, Rosebery NSW
(enter by Berry St)
02 9669 3330
Mon - Fri 7am - 3.30pm
Sat 7am - 1.30pm
Sun 8am - 1.30pm
My friends, if you love that hipster, quirky, rustic, up-cycled style of interiors, then you need to get your skates on and head to Wetherill Park, because there is this charming Italian restaurant that will have you salivating not only over the food, but also over the gorgeous interior. Just have a scroll through the photos below and you will see how fab it is. Grano is a place where you can drag your whole brood along as it ticks quite a few of the Little Munch boxes.
Its located in a somewhat industrial area, almost in the middle of nowhere - which means it has loads of parking! So your first hurdle is sorted. Next, yes there is easy access for your pram and a reasonable amount of space to park it next to your table. They also have high chairs, and as the table is decorated in everything recycled, you don't have to fret if your bambino knocks over the vase, as its probably a used tin can. There are funky toilets on site with a baby change table and because Grano is owned and run by Italians, your babes will be welcomed with open arms.
Grano is open every day, but Sunday is the only day they serve Mattina (breakfast) and this is when we visited. I had made a booking as I had heard that this place gets very popular and I'm glad that I did, because by the time we left there was a bum on every seat in the restaurant. When we arrived at 8.30am we were told that they were only open until 10am because the restaurant was booked for a lunch time function - that was fine by us because our boys basically only have an attention span of an hour or less before we need to evacuate with them. There was only one waitress working for most of the time that we were at Grano and let me tell you, she worked her little butt off and always with a smile on her face - a few other wait staff in Sydney could learn some hospitality skills from her that's for sure.
We had the choice of sitting inside or out in the patio area of Grano. We chose inside because it was a bit too chilly for our liking out in the patio area. The restaurant is fairly open plan, so is exposed a bit to the elements, so it might be wise to layer up when you visit in the winter months. To warm ourselves up we ordered coffees and hot chocolates as soon as we sat down.
The coffee was outstanding, I'm seeing more and more of Will & Co coffee popping up all over Sydney and it's a fantastic brew. The cup it came in is actually ceramic even though it looks like a takeaway cup. I asked that the boys hot chocolates be served in takeaway cups in order to avoid any breakages and the waitress was happy to oblige. She also very kindly made the hot chocolates luke warm so that the boys didn't scald their tongues - it's little touches like these that make me want to revisit a place time and time again (and obviously their gorgeous interior).
Whilst kidlets don't have their own menu at breakfast time, there are quite a few options on the adults menu that they would enjoy. For example, Tostato - raisin toast with spreads; Mortillo - blueberry bagel; Cornetto - wood fired croissant with ham & ricotta; or Fritelle - buttermilk pancakes with maple syrup, strawberries & cream. The boys shared a serve of the Fritelle ($12.90) because one serve has 4 massive fluffy pancakes in it!! The chef kindly gave each boy their own board of pancakes to save any squabbles, once again a nice little child friendly touch. At lunch and dinner time bambinis do have their own menu that costs $12.00 and it includes a small drink as well as ice cream & topping. The choices on the menu are ham & pineapple pizza, schnitzel & chips, or spaghetti napoletana.
Now if you are a fan of a big breakfast on Sunday morning then you will love the breakfast boards that Grano serve up. There are 3 choices which all cost $15.90 and could easily be shared between two people. Cafes in other parts of Sydney charge up to $25.00 for similar meals. We sampled the Primavera (free range eggs, spicy canneli beans, wood fired tomatos & mushrooms, pancetta, baby spinach & 3 slices of toasted sourdough) as well as the Grano board (free range eggs, grilled double smoked ham, grilled zucchini, wood fired tomato, fresh ricotta & 3 slices of toasted sourdough). Trust me you won't eat again until dinner time after consuming one of these!
If you dine at Grano of an evening the menu covers all of the Italian classics. However, it's their Dolci menu that makes my mouth water - for example they serve Cannoli just like most Italian restaurants, BUT with Grano's version you pipe the filling into the cannoli shell yourself! Or how about the Biscotti Fritti? It's a deep fried vanilla bean oreo served with gelato. And last but not least - Ravioli di Ciliegia Cioccolato - deep fried ravioli filled with cherry ripe, hazelnut chocolate, roasted nuts, served with gianduia bianca gelato!! That is what I think you call food porn.
Surprisingly we did linger longer than an hour over our breakfast, but that was probably because I wanted to wait around till 10am when The Factoria next door opened its doors. Once again the interior is fabulous, I think it has been styled on Nonna's 1950's kitchen - even the gorgeous chicks that work in there were rocking out 50's style hair dos. The Factoria is as I said a gourmet food shop, complete with it's own fromagerie but is also somewhere you can pick up coffee, cake and panini. The cronut is a speciality of the house, they come in all sorts of glazes and flavours and look divine. They also have their very own gelateria. Only children would request gelato on a freezing cold day and only a mother wanting to shop in peace would let them have it! There are only a few table and chairs for you sit at in The Factoria, so you may have to prepared to have your treats to go if all the seats are taken. A florist shop (Fioretti) is also located next to The Factoria, but sadly it wasn't open when we were there.
Just to let you know that during school holidays Grano/Factoria/Fioretti run bambini cooking and floristry classes. Kids can learn how to make pizza and create floral arrangements. The classes include lunch and a drink and cost around $35.00. Meanwhile you can sit back and enjoy a coffee and a biscotti whilst the staff look after your bambini! The classes are always a sell out, so keep an eye on their facebook page and book a spot as soon as you see the classes advertised.
Now I know all of you Little Munchers are a stylish bunch, and that you love to visit stylish joints, so when you are next looking for somewhere to go for a yummy family meal how about you head to south west Sydney (and not the hipster belt) and check out Grano x
Cnr Horsley Dr & Canley Vale Rd, Wetherill Park
02 9725 4274
Open 7 days
Breakfast: Sun from 8am
Lunch: Sun - Fri from 12pm
Dinner: Wed - Mon from 6pm
I didn't walk into an art gallery until I was 17 yrs old. That perhaps has to do with the fact that I grew up in the country and we don't have too many of them out there. My boys however have been into quite a few in their short years because I love going to them and I plan to take them to many more. I don't want them to become poncey arty farty types of blokes, I just want them to marvel at what human kind can create and achieve.
Besides looking at amazing art, my other favourite thing about galleries is that they normally have a fabulous cafe attached to them, just like the Campbelltown Arts Centre does. The Arts Centre Cafe is the most perfect spot to enjoy breakfast or lunch and everything in between. It is housed at the back of the modern Arts Centre in Campbelltown and it is oh so child friendly. There is loads of parking available and you access the cafe via walking through the main entrance of the Arts Centre. Pram access is very easy and once you are inside you can easily park your pram next to your table. High chairs and excellent toilet facilities are both available at the cafe and when you combine all of this with a delightful location and equally delightful staff, you are in for one very enjoyable and family friendly experience.
The Arts Centre Cafe is surrounded by a beautiful Japanese Garden. You can choose to sit inside or out, with obviously the outside tables being the most popular. I suggest that you make a booking and place a request for an outside table as this is one very popular dining with locals and visitors alike. It is so tranquil sitting outside, the view over the lush gardens with the trickling brook full of big fat koi fish creates a very peaceful atmosphere. When we arrived at 9am on a Saturday morning for breakfast the place was filling up fast with a mix of families and couples. Parents sat back and relaxed whilst their offspring went scampering off to see what they could find.
Your kidlets can wander through the gardens, but just be aware that there is water and whilst the koi won't bite them if they fall in, they may indeed suffer a more serious fate - so keep an eye on them! I felt comfortable sitting at our outside table whilst the boys dawdled around the garden, but be warned they can wander further afield into a sculpture garden and you will have no vision of them from your table. So I suggest that you go with them on their explore for their own safety and also the safety of the sculpture!
Whilst there isn't a specific kids menu at the Arts Centre Cafe, there are more than enough options available for them to eat. The boys had toasted banana bread and kids size milkshakes (sensibly served in a small plastic cup) for breakfast. Toast, pancakes, baked goods, eggs on toast, as well as sides of hash browns and bacon are also available for them to munch on. At lunch time there is an excellent selection of sandwiches on the menu and these can be washed down with soft drinks, juices, milkshakes and of course babycinos ($1.50).
The menu is very reasonably priced and everything on it sounds delicious. We opted for poached eggs on toast with sides of bacon and smoked salmon ($15). Other items available are the Bircher Muesli Pot ($9) - with thick sweet yoghurt & strawberries; Corn Fritters with a rocket salad & either bacon or smoked salmon ($14.50); or the Trio of Benedict (where you can try one of each) - traditional ham, smoked salmon as well as spinach & relish - a perfect option for you indecisive ones!
At lunch time, as I mentioned before, they have an excellent assortment of sandwiches for $9.90, plus some very tasty salads and other wholesome dishes. How does Quinoa & Black Rice Salad with fetta, roasted kumara, rocket and balsamic orange dressing sound? Or perhaps you would prefer Brunch for Lunch - grilled haloumi, asparagus & mushrooms on toast with a poached egg - yummo! For the caffeine addicts the cafe's Coffee Roasters coffee is brilliant and tea lovers will enjoy the Teacraft blend of teas that are available.
When your meal is over, it's time check out the art gallery - don't be worried that kids will be either be bored or a bother, as children are very welcome here. My little screen junkies were transfixed by the TV installation that they encountered as soon as we walked in (oh and it is free entry!). When they tried to work out how to change the channels we decided it was time to move them on to see some of the other impressive works on display. There is a decent mix of art with some amazing Indigenous paintings that will transfix you for ages in the various rooms of the Arts Centre. When we visited we were the only people there, which meant that we could get up close and personal with all of the installations, paintings and arts & crafts on show.
During the school holidays the Arts Centre run loads of activities and workshops to keep kidlets entertained and also during the term they have other events on for families such as the Kiddies Cushion Concert. Kids can lay back on cushions whilst listening to an orchestra perform a mixture of classical music, nursery rhymes and other favourites - so for you culture vultures this is something you should check out.
So Little Munchers, how old were you when you went to your first art gallery? Have your kids been to one yet? Which one is your favourite? And most importantly - does it have a cafe?
Art Gallery Rd, Campbelltown NSW
Open Mon - Fri : 10am - 4pm
Sat - Sun: 8.30am - 4pm
Breakfast on weekends only
I've been into a few RSLs in my 40 ish years on this crazy planet and they always have some sort of small shrine of remembrance at the entrance to those that have fallen serving our great nation. But the Ingleburn RSL is different, they have taken their commemoration to a whole different level. When we arrived we drove past a beautiful remembrance park as we entered the car park. This peaceful garden sanctuary pays tribute to fallen diggers and it contains memorial plaques, lovely garden beds and quiet spots to sit and pay respect. It also has its very own camouflage tank which will no doubt fascinate a few kids (young or old). Then when you walk into foyer of the RSL you immediately see the striking "Lest We Forget" shrine which makes you stop and think about how fortunate we are that so many brave man and women have, and still are, laying down their lives so that we can enjoy a peaceful Sunday lunch with our loved ones in such a family friendly environment as the Ingleburn RSL Club.
After being warmly greeted by the door staff we made our way into the dining area of the RSL. We walked past the very pretty cafe where you can have a coffee and light snack 7 days a week. This is the perfect spot to catch up with a friend for a quiet chat. The feminine green and white decor is a stand out and if I wasn't with the boys I would have loved to spend some time there enjoying a coffee and a read of the weekly trash magazines. We were however on a mission to road test the menu at the RSL's Salute Restaurant.
Salute is like any typical club bistro. There are loads of tables and chairs of various sizes, suitable for catch ups with small, medium or large groups of friends and family. There is easy access for prams and enough space to park them near your table. High chairs are readily available and the toilet facilities are at the back of the dining area. There is enough space for kids to wander around and there are some of those machines that want all of your gold coins in the off chance that your kids can work out how to use the claw to pick out a sponge bob hot-pants from the pile ugly looking soft toys.
Of an evening kids have their very own space to hang out in whilst you enjoy your meal. The Chill Zone is located right next to the dining areas and it is absolutely FREE. There are comfy areas for kids to sit and play or just to escape their embarrassing parents, colouring in tables, X box games, TVs and more. You can see into the Chill Zone at all times as the area is made out of glass, so if your little one is about to do something naughty you can go and intervene, or not, totally up to you. My lads can be real little brats at times, so I probably shouldn't be handing out any parenting advice.
The kids menu at Salute is excellent value. For $9.00 kids receive a meal, an activity pack and an icy pole if they eat all of their meal! Before you ask, yes the menu is made up of the usual suspects - nuggets & chips, tempura fish & chips, spaghetti bolognese, sausages & chips, cheese burger & chips and of course schnitzel & chips. The portion sizes are decent, my 6 yr old couldn't get through his bowl of spag bol. You receive the activity packs as soon as you pay for your meal and on your receipt it is printed that you are entitled to two free icy poles - either a paddle pop or an icy twist. When the kids are finished their meal you take the receipt up to the friendly staff at the cafe and the kids can select their icy pole out of the freezer.
They have some excellent daily specials at the Ingleburn RSL. For example on Sundays it is Family Day. A family of four can eat for $60.00. I actually didn't realise this when I ordered so we paid quite a bit more than $60.00 for our meals and drinks, however next time I will enquire to see what the T & C's are (I presume there may be a limited menu choice to qualify for the deal). Check out the Ingleburn RSL's website for all of the other daily specials.
I'm on a health kick at the moment so I choose a salad more often than not when eating out at lunch time. After eating at Salute I've learnt a major lesson - ask for the dressing on the side! My Greek Lamb Salad was huge but it was saturated in dressing. The flavour of the salad was completely lost in the lemony yoghurt dressing. What I did like, was that the seared lamb kebabs came on the side - they were perfectly seasoned and cooked. Mr Munch's Warm Prawn & Avocado salad may have been a better choice as it wasn't so heavily dressed and those big fat prawns looked oh so good. If salad isn't your thing then there are plenty of other options on Salute's menu for you - wood fired pizza, steaks, burgers, pasta, parmigianas and of course all clubs have the Carvery Roast of the Day - I was coveting one of these as I was eating my salad, as they were popular choice amongst the other diners and they smelt and looked oh so delicious.
I need to comment on the service at the Ingleburn RSL Club. We were clearly "out of towners" but we were welcomed with open arms. From the gent who greeted us when we arrived, to the ladies working in the bar, cafe and bistro, they were all so damn nice. It's been a while since we've encountered such great service from every member of staff, I almost felt like that I was back home visiting the local RSL in the country!
Before you leave the grounds of the Ingleburn RSL, make sure you take the kids over to check out the remembrance park. My little men couldn't work out why a tank was sitting in the middle of a park, so I gave them a little lesson about history and respect, and I pray to God that they will never be forced to lay down their lives for our great nation x
So Little Munchers what's your local RSL like? Do you frequent it often?
70 Chester Rd, Ingleburn NSW 2565
02 9765 7700
Open 7 days - lunch & dinner
When we got up on Saturday morning the kids said to me "so where are we off to for breakfast today Mumma" (I've got them trained well haven't I) and for once I hadn't planned our morning adventure. So I thought "how about I let them pick". Obviously being 6 & 4 they don't really have a grasp on all of the suburbs of Sydney so I thought I'd make a game of it. I stuck a map of Sydney up on the wall and we played pin the tail on Sydney! Both little dudes had a go - the first tail went on the middle of Botany Bay and unless there is some floating cafe I don't know about that was quickly ruled out, and the second one ended up on Earlwood. After looking at my mate Google, we were on our way to the Woods Cafe & Deli.
The Woods Cafe & Deli is located on busy William St, there is parking out the front of the cafe as well as side street parking. The cafe and deli are in two different spaces, right next to each other. The deli or "Woods Express" is a smaller space that sells take away coffee, amazing cakes and gourmet foods as well as gift ware. The cafe is a lot more spacious and has both indoor and outdoor seating. If you are dining with your pram there is one step up into the cafe. I would probably make a bee line into the outdoor courtyard although, as the interior of the cafe can get quite busy with both diners and take away coffee customers and your pram may block traffic.
The courtyard is quite spacious and and has tables of various sizes (you can also reserve a table). The loo facilities are located out here as well (no baby change table) so it is an ideal spot to sit with kids. In the passageway that connects the cafe and courtyard you will find a box of toys and a a basket of blankets to keep you warm in the cooler months. We sat inside as all of the larger outdoor tables were either occupied or reserved. This didn't bother us one bit as I watched the champion Barista pump out many, many coffees and the boys did a bit of a Gangnam dance when they realised Psy was a regular customer!!
Service was fast and friendly and the coffee was brilliant. I'm not sure what beans they brew but it was so good, I had to have two. The babycino is very cute with sprinkles and a marshmallow and the kids size milkshake ($4) comes in a sensible take away cup. Even the table water came with two glass and two melamine cups, so clearly they are used to serving families at The Woods Cafe & Deli.
There are kids options on the menu and at breakfast time kidlets can enjoy eggs on toast for $7.50 or blueberry & buttermilk pancakes with palm sugar butter & syrup for $10.00. Our little dudes however had spied the freshly baked blueberry & white chocolate muffins ($4) sitting on the cake counter and decided that these were in order for their Saturday breakfast. The muffin was crispy on the outside and perfectly moist on the inside and they hadn't skimmed on the blueberries or white chocolate that's for sure!
Now for us parents the food is fantastic, like seriously delicious fantastic. I chose the sautéed mushrooms on toast with truffle oil & parmesan ($15) and it had mixed mushrooms that were perfectly cooked and lightly tossed in the truffle oil and they came atop two pieces of yummy sourdough. Mr Munch chose the chorizo, spinach, fetta and tomato omelette ($16) which was huge and smelt divine and it came with a piece of sourdough on the side.
I didn't spy the lunch time menu so my apologies I cannot comment on what they serve, however I am sure it would be just as delicious at the breakfast menu. What I did spy however were all of the the mouth watering sweet treats on the cake counter, so if you are in the "'hood of the 'wood" around afternoon tea time one of these little delights and a coffee are well worth stopping by for. You can also pick up sandwiches, cakes, breads and pastries to go go from next door at the Woods Express.
So my fellow Little Munchers next time you wake up on a weekend or any other day of the week and feel like going out for breakfast, how about you too play pin the tail on Sydney and once you've got your suburb, check out the Little Munch article on Cafes by Sydney Suburb and head off on a little explore to some suburb that you may not have been to before!
160 William St, Earlwood NSW
02 9787 7700
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri: 6am - 4pm; Sat: 8am - 4pm; Sun: 8am - 2pm
Did you know there is a collective noun for a group of Mothers?
Last week I was having a lovely little lunch with some lovely cousins at the very child friendly Melaleuca House in Mt Annan. At the end of our meal I noticed a herd of women with prams starting to file past where we were sitting - there were about 20 of them - so that's a decent size herd. Then I started thinking that a herd may not be such a nice way to refer to mums with bubs as I hated any reference to being a cow/milker when I was feeding my babes. (That may also have had to do with the fact that I was quite often hooked up to an electric "milking machine" when my baby boys were sick in hospital when they were first born). So thanks to my best friend google, I have since discovered that is most definitely not a herd of Mothers but a consternation of Mothers and by the way it is a "mutter" of Mothers-in-law!
Anyway this consternation of Mothers obviously know how child friendly Melaleuca House is and I dare say meet up there quite often, as they seemed very at home. See, Melaleuca House is situated right next to a huge playground. There is a lovely patch of green grass under a big tree in between the playground and the restaurant and this is where the consternation parked their prams and let their gorgeous little ones crawl around.
We were sitting on the verandah of Melaleuca House. You can choose to sit inside the lovely interior or outside which is the best place to be when dining with children. There are quite a few tables and chairs just off the verandah where you can have a good view of the playground. On the verandah we didn't have sight of the playground as a pesky shrub was in the way. The shrub is probably some sort of threatened species so it may not be appropriate for me to advise them to either chop it down or give it a decent prune!
The playground is large and fully fenced, with some of it under shade sails. There are swings, climbing equipment, sand pit, whirly gigs and a flying fox. There is also loads of space to run around and a couple of picnic tables. Families had brought picnic lunches as well as take aways from Melaleuca House and everyone was enjoying the fabulous Autumn weather.
We had already been in the playground before lunch so my little bull was quite hungry by the time we had taken our seats. The Aussie themed kids menu is great value for $10.90 as it includes a drink. The Magpie was chosen and quickly devoured as my boy had spotted the Peters ice cream freezer inside the restaurant, so I went and bought him one so that I could enjoy my lunch with the cousins in relative peace. Melaleuca House is open every day - during the week they serve morning and afternoon tea as well as lunch and on weekends they serve breakfast from the child friendly hour of 8am.
The Australian theme is continued in the adult's menu. Prices are average and range from $14.90 for a focaccia up to $22.90 for a main meal. The Wollemi toasted focaccia was delicious and packed full of goats cheese, roasted vegies and pesto. The roasted vegie salad ($18.90) was piled high and adorned with goats cheese and pine nuts. The most expensive meal on the menu is the grilled barra ($22.90) and it was accompanied by salad, chips and bush tomato chutney. If you are after something lighter, they serve muffins, cakes and scones and their coffee is very decent indeed.
Now I'm going to backtrack a bit. Melaleuca House is located in the Australian Botanic Garden (formerly know as Mt Annan Botanic Gardens). When you turn into the Gardens you drive for what seems like miles, until you reach the parking area for the restaurant. Don't worry it is quite a scenic drive past picnic areas and the very modern looking Plant Bank. The Garden covers 416 hectares and you can do bush walks, mountain biking and learn loads about Australian natives. Before reaching the restaurant make sure you wander around the Fruit Loop so that your kids understand that it's just not a brightly coloured breakfast cereal!
The other fantastic place located in the garden is the Macarthur Centre for Sustainable Living. Every Thursday morning the centre hosts Little Explorers where your kidlets can learn all of the ins and outs of the natural environment through hands on activities such as gardening and craft. Click here for more info.
So that I don't offend any of my readers, I did in fact look up what the collective noun for a group of fathers is and this is all I could find: "There is no specific collective noun for Fathers" or so wiki.answers thinks. So let's hear from y'all - what should a group of fathers be called?
Caley Dr, Mt Annan NSW 2567
Open 7 days
Mon - Fri 10.00am - 4.30pm
Sat-Sun 8.00am - 4.30pm
I think a kids menu speaks volumes about child friendliness. For example if it is full of the usual deep fried suspects such as nuggets and fish & chips, you know that they really couldn't care less what kids eat and that they are almost an afterthought. However when I see a kids menu like the one below from Vanilla Bean and Lime Cafe (VBL) in Padstow, I just know that they really understand that kids deserve to eat just as well as parents do:
The reason I wanted to review VBL was because of their kids menu. I thought if a cafe has taken so much time and effort to create a fantastic kids menu then it therefore should be a brilliant kid friendly cafe and it certainly lived up to that, but just lacked a little bit of the wow factor. However I should say that the cafe is located in a row of shops opposite the Padstow train station - hence they do a huge trade in commuter take away coffees. This probably is also because they serve excellent Campos coffee. So I think the constant stream of takeaway customers took away from the ambience that one is after for a leisurely weekend breakfast (hang on, can breakfast ever be leisurely when dining out with kids?!).
There is both inside and outside seating at VBL, with bright lime coloured seating throughout. There are some cute vintage posters on the walls and loads of comfy cushions along the bench seats. They open early at VBL, no doubt because of their close vicinity to the train station and this is brilliant for families who have early risers like we do.
As my little bulls are fruit and yoghurt lovers, I couldn't go past ordering them the Banana and Strawberry Skewers with yoghurt - probably the healthiest breakfast the boys have ever had on our dining out adventures. Every last bit was eaten up and perhaps for the price of $6.00 they could have done with a third skewer.
The breakfast menu for adults was comprehensive to say the least - 18 choices in total. You can have anything from toast to muesli to pancakes right through to some very tasty savoury items. I ordered a 3 egg omelette with ham, cheese and tomato ($13.50). The omelette was huge and wholesome.
Mr Munch chose the very delicious Turkish bread with soft scrambled eggs, spinach and smoked salmon ($15.50). They have loads of specials at lunch time, especially during the week - it's standard cafe fare but hey if you're dining out with your kiddliwinks in a suburban cafe, you probably aren't after anything too flash.
Service was brilliant - gorgeous young staff were fast, friendly and efficient. They bought the boys colouring pencils and colouring books to use when they started getting a bit restless. They also made sure they were served first and interacted with them quite happily which is nice to see in staff so young.
Its hard to go wrong when serving Campos, and the coffee at VBL continued that trend. They serve a standard babycino with a marshmallow on the side. There is room for your prams however I noticed the parents mainly sat outside who had them. High chairs are also available.
VBL ticks a lot of the child friendly cafe boxes, with an extra big tick for their kids menu. It's a decent suburban cafe and if I lived locally I would happily drop by regularly.
61 Howard Rd, Padstow NSW 2211
My number 1 son starts big school next week and with my other little bull back at preschool, I thought it was time to spend some quality time with No. 1. I have a sneaking suspicion once he hits his strides in big school hanging out with Mum will not be the done thing for him any more. So I told him we were going on a date, just the two of us and his little face lit up and he was excited - no sharing Mumma with Daddy and the little bro.
So off we hooned to Hammondville, I had the perfect little spot in mind for our date and it would take about 30 odd minutes to get there from where we lived. The trouble was, en route to Hammondville we passed about fifty Maccas. No. 1 son could not understand why we couldn't just have our date at the golden arches (clearly he hasn't inherited my foodie genetics but I am working on it).
When we arrived in Hammondville and found the venue for our date, a huge smile crept over my face as I just knew that I had found the perfect child friendly cafe in Sydney and surprisingly No. 1 son also had a smile on his dial, as he had spotted a massive gum ball machine in front of Addie and Me, the destination for our date.
Addie and Me is a cafe, shop and party venue. Monday to Friday the cafe is open to the general public and on weekends and after hours they host birthday parties and other events in their gorgeous back room. From the moment you enter the doors of Addie and Me you just feel happy. From the ice cream parlour colour scheme to the all of the pretty fixtures and furniture this place is just so lovely.
Addie and Me is quite girlie, your little princess will be right at home here - but so will your little prince. As soon as we entered Addie and Me, we were greeted by the most charming staff. We were shown to a table out in the back room and even my blokey, Maccas loving little bull fell in love with the gorgeous space. From the table cloths to the carousel horse though to the quirky grass squirrel on our table, this room is the epitome of a perfect tea room. You almost expect Alice to jump out from her Wonderland at any moment! Pencils and paper were bought immediately for No.1 son to draw on and there was also a rack of books on the wall for him to read just in case he grew bored of his date.
Sitting in the room I could imagine how fabulous it would be for a party venue. They do themed parties such as Alice in Wonderland, Parisenne High Teas, and even Pirate Parties for your Captain Kidds. They create, style, cater and clean up the entire party.
Addie and Me serve delicious morning and afternoon teas delights as well as sandwiches for lunch. I had spied as I walked past the front counter a gorgeous looking plum short cake, freshly made by the owner Caroline. The shortcake reminded me of something my grandmother from the country would have made - perfectly old fashioned and delicious. The tartness of the plum was offset by the sweet pastry and of course fresh cream is the perfect accompaniment to any cake! There are scones and pancakes also available and also made everyday by Caroline. If you are dropping by at lunchtime they have a selection of toasted sourdough sandwiches to fill your belly.
Now for your kiddliwinks, they can partake in pikelets, pancakes or cookies for m'tea/a'tea and they also have a lunch special for $5.50: a sandwich such as ham or cheese with milk and cookies. As you can see from the photo below, No.1 son made the most of our special date by ordering a Fanta and ice cream sandwich! I love the straw that came with the Fanta - it's the little touches that count, don't you think? The ice cream sandwich was one from the groovy Pat and Sticks range - a funky ice cream freezer full of their yummy sandwiches greets you as walk into Addie and Me.
I had a chat to the lovely owner of Addie and Me and she is very proud of her petite cafe - as she should be. She's a mother of 4 kids (her only daughter is Addie) and she has grand plans for her little delight, hoping to soon open up the cafes on Saturday and also Sunday morning for breakfast. During the school holidays Addie and Me is open from 9.00am - 2.00pm and during school term it stays open till 4.00pm.
Make sure you check out all of the lovely bits and bobs for sale when you have finished your refreshments. There are some fab party pieces you can pick up for your next party at home (if I lived close by I would have all of my kids parties at Addie and Me, sure beats the standard Maccas party any day!).
On the way home I didn't hear a peep out of No. 1 son as we hooned past those golden arches, perhaps that was because his gob was full of the gum ball that he scored as we left Addie and Me x
***Since visiting Addie and Me I've been told that they have spare baby change stuff in the drawers of their baby change table for those of us who forget the wipes etc - like I did so many times when out and about with my bubs!***
Shop 3/7 Stewart Ave, Hammondville NSW 2170
Open from 9am