I want to transport the Hastings Hotel to Sydney! See they provide FREE babysitting so that you and your mates can enjoy a meal and a drink in peace. I know there are some places in Sydney that do something similar but you have to either pay for the child care or it is only available during the afternoon. The Hastings do it during the night - you know that time we all used to go out and have dinner without a care in the world. I'm a bit funny about babysitters, unless they are family, I don't really let people look after my kids. Now the thing about the babysitter at the Hastings (who is fully qualified), is that I could see my kids at all times during my meal.
The Hastings Hotel is one of the local pubs in my home town of Wauchope. So if by chance you find yourself on the mid north coast you must check out this awesome little town and have dinner at the Hastings. On the night we dined, we arrived at 6pm and we immediately signed the boys into the "creche" and then we proceeded to our table that had the perfect view of where they were. Quite a few of the tables in the restaurant have a good view and some of them don't, so if you tend to be a bit of a helicopter parent, just ask for a table close to the child minding area when you make a booking. If you have little ones who are too young to be left alone, you can easily take your pram with you into the restaurant, as the whole dining area is very spacious and access into it is also very easy from both the car park and street. High chairs are also available if you need them.
Whilst we were busy being adults, the kids were entertained with colouring in, drawing on the blackboard, playing with all the toys, board games and a gaming console. The lady in charge of looking after the kids was really active with them and played games such as tic tac toe and hang man with the boys. She made sure that they all shared the gaming console and had the same amount of time playing so as to avoid any little melt downs. On the evening we dined the boys (and their cousins) were the only kids in the creche so it was a bit more relaxed and the boys came and went as they pleased. They had the choice of eating with us or back in the playroom and they were as happy as little pigs in mud (as were their parents).
Now if there wasn't enough for the kids to do in the play room, they also received a free activity pack with their meal - plus a juice & ice cream!! Kids can choose between bangers & mash; nachos; schnitzel & chips; cheeseburger & chips; or nuggets & chips - the cost of each meal is $10.00, so the value is extremely good. I'm sure if a pub were to offer all of these brilliant child friendly facilities in Sydney you would be paying north of $15 for the kids meals.
The boys enjoyed bangers and mash and they received two scoops of ice cream for the dessert treat. All the kids meals that I saw coming out of the kitchen were decent in size, so if you have very young kids then perhaps they can just share a meal. The kids meals were also delivered before the adult meals which meant that we could make sure they ate properly and then shooed them back into the child minding area. As a result we ate our meals in peace and could enjoy some proper adult conversation for once!
The adult meals are typically country in that they are large in size. You have a choice of vegetables or salad with chips with most of the meals. Our group ordered a variety of dishes from the menu and specials board - flathead fillets with chips and vegies ($17), VB battered barramundi with chips & salad ($17), rib eye cutlet with mash and vegies ($20) and crispy skin salmon with prawns, asparagus and hollandaise ($20). The meals were delicious, served very quickly and I think we only had one complaint - that the rib eye was a wee bit chewy.
As we could linger over dinner thanks to the kidlets being fully occupied, we had the opportunity to enjoy dessert. The dessert menu is limited and has your usual country favourites on it - cheesecake, lemon meringue pie, pavlova etc. We received generous slices so we were glad that we only ordered a few to share, especially after the big sized mains we had just consumed - gotta love country cooking!
When the stars started sparkling in the country sky, we bid farewell to the Hastings - much to everyone's dismay (except perhaps the babysitter!). The boys most definitely did not want to leave as they were completely occupied and we didn't want to leave the "adult" world that we crave so much when we are home with kids night after night x
So Little Munchers tell me - have you seen a place as good as the Hastings, especially in terms of value for money?
Hastings Hotel FB
12 High St, Wauchope NSW 2446
02 65 861963
Open 7 days lunch & dinner
If you find yourself in Wauchope make sure you check out these other kid friendly places to eat: