The Coonanbarra Cafe in leafy Wahroonga has been serving customers for many years. It is located directly opposite the beautiful Wahroonga Park which is home to one awesome playground. The cafe itself is housed in a lovely old building that dates back to 1894 and it is the perfect spot to drop by for a meal or takeaway coffees before you let your kids run wild in the park.
When we arrived for any early lunch we easily found parking on the street in front of the cafe. A delightful waitress immediately greeted us and asked us if we would prefer to sit inside or out. I asked for an outside table as it was a spectacular day and it had a lovely view of the park (I also knew that I could use the sight of the playground as bribery over the boys to behave during their meal). It wasn't until we sat down that I noticed all of the other customers dining at the cafe. They had two things in common - they were well heeled and they were of a much older generation than I. Worried that they would be clutching at their pearls because two young boys had just sat amongst them, I gave the boys the Easter Bunny chat (ie. I'll call her to make sure she does not hop on by our house on Easter Sunday if they dared to misbehave!).
It's funny isn't it how you can judge people too quickly, as the boys didn't perturb the other diners one little bit. I think they quite enjoyed seeing two spirited children being out and about - it was only myself and my dining companion (my well heeled Mother) who were concerned about the boys behaviour. Thankfully the boys are of an age where they can sit in chairs, however if you have little ones they will need to be contained as the street is quite busy. You can obviously sit inside if you would prefer (the interior is just a wee bit daggy for my liking). There is room for prams at the outside tables and there are also high chairs for baby bottoms to sit in. If you need to use the loo these are located inside the cafe and down a very steep set of stairs and they don't contain a baby change table. However the toilets across the road in the park do have a change table that you can use.
Kidlets have their own menu at the Coonanbarra Cafe and it contains 4 options:
Knowing that the boys aren't the biggest eaters in the world I only ordered them a meal to share - nuggets and chips. Our thoughtful waitress made sure the kitchen split the dish in two, in order to avoid any arguments between the boys. The individual portions were huge, so if you have little eaters as well, I suggest they halve one of the cooked meals. The chicken nuggets looked very home made, not your Maccas garden variety of nuggets, that's for sure, and the chips were big, fat and super crunchy. If your offspring require dessert then they can have ice cream with topping for $4.00 or with a freddo frog for $5.00.
The adults menu is really yummy and broken up into sections. "Sandwich and Burger" ranges in price from $6 - $18. We road tested the steak sandwich and it was delicious. Then there is "Salads" from which we had a garlic prawn salad with persian fetta, roasted beetroot, roasted tomato, baby wild rocket & fried quinoa (the beetroot & tomato weren't roasted). If these types of food don't tickle your fancy then you can choose of the "Pasta and Risotto" section or the "Knife and Fork" section. These both range in price from $20 - $26 and a couple of tasty sounding examples are wild mushroom risotto or three spiced lamb stew (which is served with a spiced fried boiled egg!).
I've heard from friends that the breakfast menu is really yummy. The most expensive item is about $16.00 which is surprisingly cheap when you are dining at a cafe in the upper north shore. The Belaroma coffee that they serve at the cafe is pretty good, not the best I've ever had but if you need a caffeine fix it will definitely suffice. There was a steady stream of parents crossing the road from the playground to the cafe to grab their takeaways, so perhaps I'm just been a bit too fussy.
Service was a mixed bag, and overall left us feeling a little negative about our visit. Without doubt, it should be a major focus for improvement. Throughout our visit, we had both good and not so good engagement with staff, and the lack of consistency was disappointing to say the least. In this day and age, if you're working in hospitality, it's all about the customer, so when you come across staff who do not seem the least bit interested in assisting customers, you wonder why they are working in the industry at all, and how they landed the job in the first place. Rant over. Hopefully you have a better customer service experience on your visit.
Obviously after your meal at the Coonanbarra Cafe you will have to check out the playground. It was upgraded last year and it contains equipment for both big and little kids. There is a train theme happening and if you have train nerds in your brood they will also love watching the real suburban trains whizzing past across the road as this is where Wahroonga Station is. The playground is enclosed (but the gates can be easily opened by both of my kids aged 5 & 6) and there is a reasonable amount of seating for parents. The swings are just outside of the enclosed area and there is also loads of beautiful green space out here for children to run off some steam. Part of the playground is covered by shade and when we visited the playground was spotless - I think it would be one of the best on the north shore.
Little Munchers what is your favourite playground on the North Shore? And more importantly does it have a playground next to it?
64 Coonanbarra Rd, Wahroonga NSW 2076
02 9489 0980
Open 7 days from 8.30am