I dare say the parents around Ashfield are quite smug these days. They have one of Sydney's best cafes right on their doorstep. Located right in the middle of suburban Ashfield, you will find Excelsior Jones. This cafe was reviewed so many times last year about how it was the latest, greatest and hippest cafe to open in this cafe infested city of ours. I actually presumed that it wouldn't be that child friendly, but I'm pleased to say I was very wrong!
The first thing I need to comment on is the service. I have this pre(mis)conception that hip/trendy/cool cafes come with a good dose of hipster attitude and therefore aren't particularly fond of families with children. The staff at Excelsior Jones are young and hip, BUT they seriously have a good service ethic. From the moment we walked in to the moment we left, the service we received was some of the best I've experienced in Sydney. There were crying kids, there were screaming kids, there were kids in big prams that needed tables to be moved for them and not once did I see an eye roll from the staff or a scowl, just fast efficient service. Or maybe they've realised the faster you get the families in and the faster you feed them, the faster they will get out!!
The interior of Excelsior Jones is quite spacious with a decent amount of table seating. If you prefer you can pull up a stool along the front window and also the kitchen. Kids I'm sure would love watching the guys in the kitchen cooking up a storm as there is a big window giving you a bird's eye view. Large windows abound in this corner positioned building which allows loads of natural light to flood in. The neutral colour scheme has a coffee like tone to it. The interior is actually quite minimalist, white chairs are paired with plain tables and a few plants here and there as well as green cushions on the banquette seating give it an almost minimalist retro feel - if there is such a thing! There is a good stack of high chairs available for little bottoms to sit in and as I said earlier, staff are more than willing to move seats around to accommodate prams. They have a large loo on site (baby change table though is MIA).
We were at Excelsior Jones for breakfast. I had a bacon and egg sarnie ($10), and it turned out Mr Munch had the same hankering so unfortunately that is all I can show you from the menu. The menu is reasonably priced ranging from $5 - $16, so many hipster joints served meals that hover around the 20 buck mark so it's nice to be able to eat somewhere cool that won't do too much damage to your hip pocket. Likewise at lunch time the prices are still reasonable and everyone raves about their crinkle cut chips with aioli or T. sauce for $7.
Now on to the all important coffee - it was superior. They use 5 Senses coffee and it can come in your typical espresso style or you can be on trend and ask for a drip filter. I also noticed that they use different beans depending on whether you have white or black coffee. So if you consider your self a serious coffee buff this is the place for you.
There isn't a specific kids menu save for the house made chicken nuggets with chips ($10) for lunch. However there are quite a few options off the main menu that your kidlets will enjoy. For example a serve of toast with spreads will set you back $5. The little bulls munched on the muffin of the day (apple and raspberry) $3.50 and there are are loads of other baked goodies that kids would enjoy
For the kiddie drinks Excelsior Jones serve a very sweet babycino for the very sweet price of $1.00. Milkshakes can also come in kids sizes for $4.50 and they are sensibly served in a disposable coffee cup with straw. There is actually an awesome variety of milkshakes: lime & coconut, jaffa, butterscotch, cherry ripe and banana to name a few. Juices are available for $4.50 and if your kidlets are into hot chocolates they cost $3.50 (just asked for it to be served in a take away cup). Table water is of course free and you receive this as soon as you sit down. Once again the cups are the non breakable kind all adding to how kid friendly Excelsior Jones actually is.
One thing I do need to warn you about however is the jelly beans. On the front counter is a cute old fashioned red gum ball machine full of them. The little bulls clocked it as soon as we walked in. We don't ordinarily let our kids eat lollies early in the morning - and before you vigilantes out there get on your high horse YES I do realise a marshmallow is a lolly - hence why we didn't want them to have any more sugar at such an early hour. As a result both bulls had serious hissy fits as we went to pay the bill, causing other parents in the cafe to give us that knowing look of sympathy and the staff....well they are clearly used to them, as they just made way for us to escape quickly.
So dear parents, do your kidlets have melt downs in cafes - any helpful hints on how to deal with them quickly?
139A Queen St Ashfield, NSW
02 9799 3240
Mon - Fri: 7.30am - 4.00pm
Sat-Sun: 8.00am - 4.00pm