Mondayitis - we all suffer from it. We would much prefer to stay in bed than get up and get the kids out the door for school, or go to work or do both. But you know what, we get through it and normally with a bucket load of coffee. My Mondays consist of the school drop off for no.1 and then straight to swimming lessons for no. 2. On the way home no. 2 always wants to hit a playground and I always want to hit a cafe. I'm starting to run out of options of places to review that we haven't been, that will satisfy both of our demands.
This last Monday we ended up a Lake Parramatta - we had been to the lake once before but it was a bit of disastrous experience. Basically 2 mothers didn't see eye to eye over a playground dispute between their offspring. I was one of those mothers and in order to avoid maximum embarrassment to all concerned I was whisked away by Mr Right before things got a little out of hand. As a result we didn't get to try out the cafe and I've never been keen to return there, just in case I ran into my sparring partner.
Deciding that enough time has passed (3 years) I decided to return to the lake and I'm happy to report that I didn't run into the other mother and we did get to check out the cafe. The cafe is attached to a house like building and the verandah/deck of the house is basically the cafe. Simple table and chairs are scattered around the undercover deck and there are also some which are located outside to make the most of lovely weather. The cafe overlooks the lake and you can see all the of the local birdlife flying around trying to score a stale bread meal from the visitors to the lake.
When we arrived there were only a few customers at the cafe. I couldn't see any staff, so we sat at a table and I noticed the menus hanging from the wall so I helped myself and went and sat back down. I had a quick scan of the menu and something instantly caught my attention - a $3.00 babycino! I just had to order it. Not because I'm flush with cash, I just needed to see how much bang for your buck you received for $3.00.
I'll start with the positives - it was served in a plastic cup - sensible; it was served at room temperature - also sensible; and it was large - large enough to warrant a straw. To me it resembled more of a milkshake than a babycino. So I'm not sure if it was good value or not - my cappuccino cost $3.70 so for 70 cents more I received a regular coffee. I asked the Little Munch FB community for their thoughts and they all agreed that it was too much to pay, especially as there was no adornment (e.g. marshmallow).
Just to let you know, it's kind of self service at Lake Parramatta Cafe. You get your own menu, find your own table and then order and pay at the counter. I finally found a staff member lurking behind the counter when I went up to place our order. He (like me) was obviously suffering from a serious case of Mondayitis, and as a result service was a wee bit lacking.
Lake Parramatta Cafe is open for breakfast and lunch as well as morning and afternoon teas, 7 days a week. The breakfast menu is quite extensive and covers all of the breakfast staples perfectly. It ranges in price from $6.20 for raisin toast up to $17.40 for a hearty (full) breakfast, which includes tea or coffee. There isn't a specific children's menu for breakfast but I'm sure most kidlets would be happy munching on raisin toast or pancakes ($8.80).
At lunch time the menu once again is full of the usual lunch time staples - burgers, wraps, salads etc. They are fairly reasonably priced with most prices averaging around the $10- $18 mark. There are two specific options for kids, Chicken Nuggets & Chips for $9.50 and a Mixed Kids Meal for $9.50 (fish cocktails and calamari plus some chips). There is also a kids gelato cone for $3 available for dessert.
To be honest with you, I didn't order anything off the menu, just a cookie from the "self serve" cookie jar (I was a bit worried about how many grubby little fingers had helped themselves to cookies before I had put my impeccably clean ones in). The cookie was delicious (I had a little nibble of course) and easily devoured by my little bull.
Once you have finished your eating at the cafe it's time to hit the playground. Just follow the path up beside the cafe and you will walk past toilets (which include a baby change table) and then across a small carpark into the place where all kids want to be. It's a very decent playground with a small scooter path winding through it. My little bull spent ages checking out all the equipment whilst I checked out all of the gorgeous rock sculptures. If you have your chess pieces handy in the car you can always set up a game on the chess board located on one of the benches.
Once your little ones become bored of the playground you can go for a walk around the lake. The surface is relative easy with a few pot holes along the way, so be careful if you have a really fancy pants pram. If that seems too strenuous just remember to bring along some stale bread and you can feed all of the ducks that you will find along the lake's edge.
So tell me dear parents, what is your cure for Mondayitis and would you baulk at paying $3.00 for a babycino?
Illawong Dr, North Parramatta NSW 2124
Open 7 days 9.30am - 4.00pm weekedays and from 8.30am weekends