Shopping with kids can be a nightmare. If you are like me and don't have any family members living close by where you can dump your beloved rugrats when you need some retail therapy, then you need to make sure the shopping centre you are about to visit has both a cafe and a playground. And if they just happen to be side by side, then that's a big fat shopping bonus!
The Lidcombe Shopping Centre has exactly that. I've only recently discovered this place, even though it has been around for a while. However in the last 12 months the centre has undergone some major development and there are now some of our favourite stores located within its walls. The quirky and ultra cheap Japanese cult store Daiso is there, as is a very cool Kmart. There is a huge party store as well as a big Spotlight store and the list goes on. On the grocery side there is an Aldi, Woolies plus loads of other fresh food places. And it is also across the road from Costco in case you need to do a mega shop. And for kidlets there is a cool little playground to be explored.
And that playground is smack bang next to a great cafe called Chow Bella on the ground level. A lovely looking Leaf Cafe is close by too, but it doesn't have the same view of the play area as Chow Bella does in my opinion. The kid friendly Chow Bella Cafe is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. It has an on trend fit out with subway tiling, industrial style seating, pops of yellow here and there, as well as ample space and access for those of you with prams. The outdoor seating has the best view over the playground, but you can also see the playground reasonably well from some of the indoor tables near the window. And for those unplanned emergencies, the shopping centre's parents room is practically next door on the ground floor, so you won't risk pulling a hammy if you have to make a quick dash for it.
The playground is fully enclosed and has an assortment of play equipment suitable for kids probably aged 8 years and younger. The gate to the playground is on the other side of the cafe, so if you have little people, sadly you will have to get up and down from your seat to let them in and out. There are shade sails over the playground which will provide some sun protection during the warmer months. The ground is covered in that spongy soft fall stuff, so hopefully there shouldn't be too many oops a daisys!
Chow Bella's coffee is very decent and they all come with a cute shortbread cookie. And the babycino was spot on - perfectly frothy and the two big fat rainbow marshmallows on the side received the big thumbs up from my little lads! If you are a fan of mega shakes they are on the menu here, as are some delicious sounding frappes - nutella, tim tam, Turkish delight and salted caramel to name but a few. There are also decadent white hot chocolates as well as matcha and chai drinks available too, in case you are not a caffeine addict.
The cheapish kids menu includes nuggets & chips ($7), spag bol ($7), fettucine boscaiola ($7), and fish & chips ($9). All of these dishes include either an orange or apple juice. For breakfast there are simple items on the main menu such as toast with spreads ($3.90), nutella crepes and museli with fruit and yoghurt that are suitable for our little people. And to indulge after their meal there are kid size sundaes availabe for $3.00 and a soft serve ice cream cone for just 50 cents!!
The all day breakfast menu for adults covers the ususal cafe staples very nicely. My choice of the Lite Breakfast ($14.90) included toast with poached eggs, smashed avo, grilled tomatoes and fried halloumi. The Bacon & Egg Roll ($7.50) is fairly traditional, but it does contain 2 eggs. But don't worry, those of you who prefer a bit of fancy in their bun, can order the Breakfast Roll which has baby spinach and tomato relish added to the bacon & egg.
At lunch and dinner time the menu really comes to life. You can have everything from tapas stlye dishes, to Korean fried chicken, or if you like to get a bit messy, you can order the Ribs for 2! There are also loads of burgers, salads and pastas featuring on the menu. The front cabinet is groaning with such sweet looking cakes so you will be well sorted if you are only after coffee and cake mid shop too.
So Little Munchers what is your favourite shopping centre cafe/playground? Is there one out there that we haven't reviewed yet??
92 Parramatta Rd, Lidcombe NSW
02 9748 8802
Mon-Tue-Wed-Fri-Sat: 7am - 7pm
Thu: 7am - 9pm
Sun: 8am - 7pm