I think Chicken and Fishhead in leafy Beecroft is one of Sydney's original child friendly cafes. I actually remember when it opened - it was before we had kids - Mr Munch and I used to catch the train from Beecroft into the city for work. If we were running late we would grab a take away from the cafe to fortify us for the long commute into town. We even went to Chicken and Fishhead occasionally for breakfast on weekends and I would admire all of the pretty little girl's frocks in the shop that is at the back of the cafe and think to myself that one day I would come back and buy them when I had my own little gaggle of girls.
Fate intervened and I didn't end up having that gaggle of girls, just two beautiful boisterous boys and we moved a bit further north west so I didn't find myself in Beecroft that often. However last weekend we decided to venture back to see if Chicken and Fishhead was still oh so child friendly and I am happy to report that it most certainly was.
We arrived just a bit after 9am on Sunday morning and were the first customers. We plonked ourselves down at the first table as you walk in the front door - because this is where the kids play things are at. The stylish owner brought menus and paper for the boys to draw on. Our drinks order was taken and promptly delivered. The di Gabriel coffee is decent and a babycino will set you back $1.50 and kids size milkshakes come in takeaway coffee cups.
Now I need to talk more about the kids play area. There are about 4 brightly coloured little chairs at a bench under the front window. There's a stack of books, puzzles and pots of colouring pencils. Our table was right next to this area and it would have been a bit tricky for other little ones to share the space with our boys. When you arrive, if this area is occupied, just grab one of the puzzles, books or pots of pencils and take them to your own table for your kidlets to use.
Chicken and Fishhead have an excellent children's menu that covers both breakfast and lunch. Kidlets can have everything from toast to fairy bread to an awesome sounding lunch box that comes with a roll, apple, popcorn, chocolate crackle and juice for $9.95. We ordered the boys toast ($4) for breakfast - one with Vegemite, the other with jam. The boy's toast came very quickly - 1 slice of sourdough each and they were served on very cute melamine plates. If you are after a treat for your babe (and yourself) you will find cupcakes, oh so sweet biscuits, banana bread, muffins, caramel kisses and brownies in the front cabinet.
Now for Mammas and Pappas the breakfast menu ranges from $6 - $18. You can have breakfast trifles, ricotta hot cakes, waffles and even a big breakfast. Our bacon and egg baguettes were full of deliciousness and were great value for $10.00. At lunch time there are fancy sounding frittatas, pies, tarts, salads, soup and burgers on the menu. Prices range from $15 - $22. I do believe that Chicken and Fishhead also open for dinner from 6pm on Wed, Thu and Fri evenings.
Whilst we were eating our breakfast the cafe began to fill up with all sorts of people and this is when I found the only problem with Chicken and Fishhead - the limited pram access. Besides having to negotiate a few steps to get into the cafe, there isn't much room for big beasts of prams, for example the mini tractor I used to have (a Steelcraft strider) wouldn't have fitted in and either would Bugaboos etc. The space is narrow and when all of the tables are occupied there isn't any room to manoeuvre your prams. If you have a very little babe, pop them in a pouch and for a bit older babes there are high chairs for them to sit in. Otherwise you can just pull up a pew outside, which would be lovely on a sunny day.
As I mentioned before there is a shop up the back of the cafe. Besides frocks, it sells gorgeous gifts, toys and even clothes for boisterous boys. There are some cafe tables up here and I presume if you sat here you would have to keep a firm on eye on your little terrors to make sure they don't leave their grubby paw prints all over the shop's stock! I spied a loo up here as well but someone sneaked into it just before I went to do my mandatory baby change table inspection. Oh well, I'm just going to have to go back for another coffee some time to complete my examination.
When you have finished your meal, send the husband to the playground with the kids whilst you check out all of the pretty little things in the shop. Just to let you know the shop is only open from Mon - Sat 9.30am - 5.00pm. The playground is just across the road near the train station so if your kidlets are train spotters, they will love all of the suburban trains zooming by and the train theme of the play equipment. There is also an amazing children's book store close by called the Children's Bookshop which you and your brood will love, so if you have the time drop by.
Now I think I read somewhere that the cafe's name is derived from the nick names that the owners have for each other. So my dear parents please do tell, what would your cafe be called if you were to use the nick names you and your other half have for each other??!!
3 Wongola Place, Beecroft NSW
02 9484 8149
Mon - Sat 8am - 5pm
Sun: 9am - 3pm
Dinner from 6pm Wed- Fri