I dare say every parent in the northern beaches has probably visited the Flying Fox Cafe in Mona Vale more than once since they've had kids - it seems to be a bit of an institution! However, if you're not a local resident this is a great place to visit with the kids, because not only is it one child friendly cafe but it is also right next to an awesome enclosed playground and it's also close by a lovely little beach - so it makes for the perfect family day out.
The Flying Fox Cafe is located in Winnererremy Park and it truly is a cafe beside a playground! Your first challenge when you arrive will be to find a car space. Early in the morning we didn't have an issue, but by mid morning you might be doing the rounds for a while to score a spot close by. One of my lovely readers had given me some inside knowledge about the parking, and told me that the best spot was on the street, as you didn't have t pay for it. There is a car park within the park, but it is pay by the hour and those pesky rangers do wander around frequently - and trust me you will be spending quite a few hours here!
Before I tell you about the cafe, I'll have to start with a quick playground review, because you have to practically walk through it to get into the cafe. This playground is pretty darn amazing. It's fully enclosed, it's huge, quite a bit of it is shaded and there is equipment for young and old (more for older kids although). From swings to slides, to bouncy things and climbing frames, your kids will run around like little maniacs trying to test it all out. The ground is nice and spongy, so hopefully any little falls won't hurt too much. There is also one cool flying fox that is in constant use and I presume this is what the cafe is named after!
Just to let you know that you do have to keep an eye on your kids in the playground - especially younger ones, as there were some playground thugs lurking the morning we visited. These kids were about 10 years + and they were there without any adult supervision. I don't normally helicopter parent the boys in playgrounds but I did keep a close on eye them this time, because these kids had potty mouths and a bit too much testosterone surging for my liking. I'm presuming when it's not school holidays these kids are happily ensconced in the class room, so it won't be an issue for you and your little ones.
Because of these little thuggish chaps, I had to take my littler chaps into the Flying Fox Cafe with me to order our morning tea. My plan was to grab some morning tea and then sit on one of the picnic benches within the playground, whilst the boys continued to play. From inside the cafe you can actually see quite a bit of the playground, so if you have older independent kids you can probably leave them out there whilst you order your food. It's pretty much "self help" inside the cafe. You order and pay at the front counter and if you are sitting inside your order is brought to your table. If you are wanting takeaways for the playground, you get a buzzer which lets you know when your order is ready. The menus are on the table next to the front counter and you can also help yourself to table water here too.
Inside the cafe there is a little enclosed play area suited to preschool age kids. As no one was in there, I let the boys check out all of the well used toys. This is a good place to plonk your kids whilst you go up and order your food. It took me a while to get served, the young staff in their funny little hats all seemed busy doing other things. However once I handed over my money, our order did arrive at our table very quickly.
There are two seating areas for the cafe - one is undercover and the other is outside under a shade sail in a garden like setting. Both areas can be easily accessed with a pram and there is loads of room to park them, so it's the perfect mother's group hang out. There are tables of various sizes so families big and small are well catered for. High chairs are readily available and if you need to use the toilets, they are to the side of the cafe near the playground - and yes they do contain a baby change table.
The Flying Fox Cafe has a kids menu that covers both breakfast and lunch. For brekkie kids can have pancakes with fresh banana & maple syrup ($9.50) or bacon & egg with white bread ($12.50). There is also toast, banana bread, muffins etc from the main menu which I'm sure most kids would like. At lunch time, the usual deep fried suspects feature on the menu (nuggets & chips; fish & chips; schnitzel & chips; calamari & chips; melted cheese fingers & chips) and it ranges in price from $8.50 - $12.50.
The boys chose fruit drinks and cupcakes for their morning tea. There is a huge selection of sweet treats in the front cabinet as well as ice creams and lollies - typical kiosk type fare. So you don't have to come in for a meal you can just grab a snack to go. They also have kids size milkshakes ($3) and babycinos. I ordered a babycino just to see what it was like - and I was pleased to see that it was served in a takeaway cup with the marshmallow inside the warm froth, so no chance of any breakages.
The Danes coffee that they serve at the Flying Fox was very good indeed. To be honest, I didn't think it was going to be, as I saw quite a few parents in the playground bringing in coffees from other cafes. I thought that maybe the coffee at the cafe was not up to standard, but it passed my coffee snob test easily. I was a bit naughty with my morning tea choice - firstly it was full of calories and definitely not good for my waist line and secondly my boys hate lemon and therefore I knew that I wouldn't have to share a lemon meringue tart with them! The tart was perfect - crispy base, tangy curd and nicely browned meringue.
If you are dining at the Flying Fox for breakfast or lunch, the menu covers all of the standard cafe choices. At breakfast time you can have everything from toast ($4) to a big breakfast ($18.95) and at lunch time the menu includes burgers, fish & chips, club sandwiches, salads etc and most of the dishes cost under $20.00.
After our spot of morning tea I convinced the boys that the playground had become too busy and that we should go for a explore instead - so off we we trotted out the other side of the cafe and across a bridge and up some random path into the bush. Worried that we would get lost, we turned around and headed back to the cute little beach that is nestled along the foreshore of Winnererremy Park. The boys played happily in the sand whilst I did my best impression of parenting by catching up on my Instagram feed!
So Little Munchers, have you been to the Flying Fox Cafe? And how do you deal with little thugs in the playground?
2 Mona St, Mona Vale NSW
Mon - Sun 8.00am - 5.30pm