Communal tables. You will find them in most cafes these days and I don't like them! I think the reason is that you are forced to talk to people who you wouldn't normally chat to. It's not that I'm anti social (quite the opposite, I'm a real sticky beak) it's just that I had a very annoying experience a couple of weeks ago when we dined at a communal table in Lid & Jar in Rhodes.
Lid & Jar is a spacious industrial looking cafe located near Rhodes train station. On a weekend it is easy to score a parking spot close by on the street, otherwise you can park in the Rhodes Shopping Centre and then walk up. Lid & Jar's (they also have a sister cafe in Chatswood) ethos is to source the freshest ingredients possible and serve you coffee that has been made from the most perfectly roasted coffee beans. And they most certainly live up to their ethos, as both the food we ate and the coffee we drank were excellent.
There is both outside and indoor seating available at Lid & Jar, and as the cafe is so spacious you can drive your pram right into the cafe and park it right next to your table. If you sit outside your kids can run around the paved area in front of the cafe (just be warned that this area is surrounded by streets). When we arrived for breakfast on a Sunday morning, every table in the cafe was occupied except for the large communal table. So we plonked ourselves down on one side and checked out the menu. At Lid & Jar you order and pay at the front counter and the staff bring your meals to you when they are ready.
Not long after we were seated, another family came and plonked themselves down on the other side of the table. Their perfect pigeon pair of kids were a bit younger than ours, so one remained in the pram and the other one who looked about 3, was put in one of the cafe's high chairs. We exchanged pleasantries and then they proceeded to pull out an Ipad for their little one to play with (our boys were doing the same, as there isn't anything else to keep kidlets occupied at Lid & Jar). The thing is, the toddler was playing Eggy Words! My boys were playing Plants v Zombies or something equally non-educational. Then the questions started - what school do your boys go to, what reading levels are they on, where do you want them to go to high school!! And then the question that makes my skin crawl the most as a mother of two boys - are you going to try for a girl!
Luckily my coffee arrived just after that last question, because I was blown away with how picture perfect it looked and forgot to implode at the interrogator across the table. They seriously know their latte art at Lid & Jar. My skim flat white not only looked perfect but also tasted perfect. Coffees are $3.80 for a cup and $4.30 for a mug and when they are brewed this well, they are worth every cent! They also do all of those fancy pants methods of brewing - siphon, aeropress, chemex etc, which I have no clue about. For tea drinkers there is a full selection of T2 teas and you can also get your "daily fix of raw" with one of Lid & Jar's cold pressed juices ($9.30!). If you just want some H2o, help yourself to some at the front counter - it's actually very much a help yourself place, as it hard to get the attention of any of the staff especially when they are busy.
They don't have a kids menu at Lid & Jar but there are a few things that kids can eat. The front counter is full of baked goods so that is a good place to find something for breakfast and they also serve toast with spreads ($3) and banana bread. The standard babycino with a marshmallow is also available. At lunch/dinner time fruit platters, corn fritters & hot chips are some examples what kids may like to eat, but there's not much else. The boys went with their usual chocolate croissant and they had a crunchie honeycomb milkshake as well - my nemesis across the table rolled her eyes when the boy's meals arrived - she had cut up fresh fruit from home for her kids to eat! Oh well.
The adult's food is generous in size and very tasty. The Big Breakfast had scrambled eggs, bacon, chorizo, field mushrooms, roast tomatoes and wilted baby spinach as well as toasted multi grain sourdough. It's the perfect bloke's breakfast for a chilly Autumn morning as are the Fresh Corn Fritters. Two large fritters come with bacon, avocado salsa and a pile of rocket. The kitchen obviously have their act together as our meals came out very quickly despite the cafe been so busy, which was a relief for me as I didn't have to make any more polite chit chat with my communal neighbours.
After breakfast we bid farewell to our competitive communal neighbours and made a quick exit out the back door (because this is where the loos are at). The toilets were spotlessly clean and service quite a few businesses that are located next to Lid & Jar. There isn't a baby change table but there is enough room to get your pram in there to change a nappy. If you need some entertaining after your meal, the Rhodes Waterside Shopping Centre has a cinema and an Ikea and for an outdoor option you can head down towards the water and go for a stroll in the the park that borders the river.
Do you like sitting at communal table Little Munchers? And what is the most annoying question you get asked as a parent?
3/7 Rider Blvd, Rhodes NSW 2138
02 9188 2598
Mon - Fri: 7am - 11pm
Sat - Sun: 8am - 11pm