Wouldn't it be nice if every park in Sydney had a cafe? Don't you think the city would be a happier place? Kidlets would be happy mucking around in the playground or scooting here, there and everywhere, and parents would also be happy, as they would be fully caffeinated. Well it seems that this little dream of mine is starting to become a reality, thanks to the team behind the Grounds Keeper Cafe. See they already have a brilliant cafe in Ryde Park. And now they have a brand new cafe in Francis Park Blacktown, and they are about to open another cafe in Parramatta Park. The Grounds Keeper's motto is that every ground needs a Grounds Keeper, and I couldn't agree more!
The Grounds Keeper in Blacktown has taken up residence in the space that used to be Reflections Cafe. There is still the same amount of generous seating inside and out of the cafe, therefore it's the ideal venue for Mothers Groups and a catch up with friends who have prams. There are high chairs available for little bottoms to sit in as well. They provide table service at the Gounds Keeper and the staff are super friendly and patient, as you need to be when dealing with kids who change their mind every 2 seconds about what they actually want to eat/drink. And there is a hole in the wall for the take away trade, which is perfect for those of you who may just want to eat out in the playground or at one of the many picnic shelters in the park.
Now the best thing about the Grounds Keeper Cafe is that when you sit outside (and even from some of the inside tables), you have a great view of the playground, so you can let older kids have a play whilst you sit back and relax with your brew and scroll through your instagram feed. Toddlers will need to be supervised however, as there are quite a few cement stairs that they can tumble down and there is also a water course close by.
All of the facilities are awesome in the park. There is a water splash playground; an excellent all abilities playground which has equipment suitable for both big and little people; fantastic picnic shelters; loads of beautiful green space; a great bike/trike/scooter track; bridges over a water catchment; very clean toilet areas, complete with baby change tables; loads of parking; basketball courts; views over the train lines; and last but not least, obviously the cafe.
We spent over 2 hours at the cafe and playground when we visited recently, because the boys were just having such a great time - and the water park wasn't even working as it was in the middle of Winter. So I daresay, you might need to be prepared to linger a little longer in the warmer months. But I've also heard that it can be quite manic on weekends and school holidays during Summer, so my advice would be to arrive early.
Now lets talk about the new Grounds Keeper Cafe. The food is seriously good, just like it is at the Ryde Park Cafe, with the same menu being used. The prices are definitely more expensive than those of the previous Relections Cafe, BUT the quality of the food is far superior! Kidlets have their very own menu for both breakfast and lunch. The prices range from $6.50 - $9.50 at brekkie time. There's a Ham & Cheese Toastie; Eggs & Bacon on toast; Ham & Cheese Omelette; or the delightful Pancakes with berries, ice cream & maple syrup. Our lads happily devoured a plate of the pancakes in between their playground frolics.
At lunch, little bellies can be filled with a Wagyu Burger ($12.50), Chicken Tenders & Chippies ($9.50), Kafta Skewers & Chippies ($9.50) or Penne Napolitana ($9.50). And I'm sure your kids will be very thirsty after all of the running around, so they can have a babycino ($1), kid size milkshakes, soft drinks, juices or just good old table water. If you need a sweet treat for your babes, there are some yummy looking home made cupcakes lurking in the cake cabinet.
The adults menu at the Grounds Keeper takes its inspiration from the Middle East. Delicious Shakshouka, Kafta Tagine Eggs and Hummus Awarma feature, as do more traditional Australian style breakfast dishes like Bacon & Egg Rolls, Pancakes and Granola. And let me tell you the granola is amazing - I have never seen such huge macadamias in a granola before! The breakfast menu ranges in price from $11.50 - $23.00 which is the price for the Whole Grounds (aka the big brekkie).
The lunch menu for us big people is extensive and we are looking forward to going back and checking it out very soon. Lebanese Mezze Boards, Tagines, Salads such as Fattouch and Slow Cooked Lamb with Quinoa, and yummy sounding wraps and burgers are all available. However I think I'll be ordering the Fatit al Hummus which is toasted pita bread layered with chickpeas, minted yoghurt and topped with slow cooked lamb and toasted pine nuts - boy that sounds good!
Now if you still have room after your meal, I urge you try one of the amazing little bundt cakes that are on offer at the Grounds Keeper in Blacktown. These little babies are home made and I have't really tasted anything like them before. Apparently they are Filipino in orgin and they have a very delicate and very moist, sponge like texture. The purple delight is made from beetroot and is served with lemon curd, coulis and a pistachio crumble. The green bundt is made from pandan leaves and they both have a delicious jam like topping. Both bundts go perfectly with the Di Gabriel blend of coffee that the Grounds Keeper brew up, that's for sure.
After we finished our meal, we went and did some trainspotting for a while and then we went for a big explore of the park (to walk off our huge meal). The park is actually located in the Blacktown Showground Precinct, (the show is on in early March each year), so it would be an awesome day out combining a visit to the show and the park. There is also a flourishing community garden in the precinct as well, and the vegies that are growing, showcase the diversity of the background of residents who live in the local Blacktown area.
So my dear Little Munchers, let's hope the Grounds Keeper family keep forging through Sydney with their cafes in parks, beacause in this day and age we most definitely need to be outdoors more, and we also need more happiness in our lives x
Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri: 9am - 4pm
Sat & Sun: 8am - 4pm
Cnr Richmond Rd & Balmoral St
Blacktown NSW 2148