Last weekend I decided that we should visit the new Ikea in Marsden Park and my plan was to throw the boys into the "Smaland" play area they have, and then I could take Mr Munch and show him all the things we "desperately" needed in chez Little Munch! Upon arrival we were met with a sign saying that there was a 30 minute wait for the Smaland. Insert expletive. The boys howled with disappointment at the thought of being dragged through Ikea, so I promised them we would stop in for a treat at Ikea's cafe enroute through the store. So off they took trying to find it, and we lost them in all those darn nooks and crannies that Ikea is famous for. When we finally found them, they were playing on the store's computers - you know the ones the staff use to check availability of stock! Heaven only knows what stock they had moved, so we grabbed them and went straight to the cafe only to find it was full to the brim!! Cue more howling and expletives. Thankfully I had one last ace up my sleeve - I knew of a cafe a 5 minute drive away that was next to a playground, so we abandoned Ikea and headed a bit further west.
Livvi's Cafe and playground Elara, is in a new Stockland housing development just off Richmond Rd in Marsden Park. Most of the houses in the area are still being built, hence why I think the cafe is only open on weekends. The cafe is right next to the sales office for Elara and there is loads of parking available on the surrounding streets. Livvi's Cafe Elara is following in the steps of the Livvi's Cafe in Five Dock. Both cafes are right next to playgrounds created by the Touched by Olivia Foundation. They are built in conjunction with Stockland developments.
The cafe at Elara is probably a bit more like a kiosk - it has been made out of a converted shipping container (as have the loos). There are a few tables and chairs scattered around the deck in front of the cafe and protection from the elements is via a sun shade sail. Access into the cafe is super easy as there are ramps everywhere which is perfect for those of you who have prams, wheelchairs or walking frames. There is also loads of green space, so you can bring a picnic rug and dine out near the playground too.
Livvi's Cafe in Elara is run by a lovely couple with two kids. They are really friendly and come out and chat to the customers when they aren't busy. They clearly understand the demands of dining out with kids and we even had a laugh about the joys of taking kids to Ikea!
The cafe fare at Livvi's - pies, sausage rolls, toasties, wraps and pre-made sandwiches as well as yummy selection of sweet treats and cold drinks. Caffeine addicts will be delighted to see Campos Coffee being served and tea lovers will love the selection of T2 teas on offer at Livvi's Elara - they will go perfectly with one of Livvi's chocolate brownies. The boys still trying to convince me that they had suffered a punishment by being dragged around Ikea, suggested that they needed a bag of lollies as compensation - and I complied (anything for a moments peace and quiet I say).
Livvi's at Elara would be a great spot to meet up with your mum's group on a sunny day. There is loads of space to park all of your prams and there is a massive and very clean sand pit right next to the seating area on the deck of the cafe. If your kids don't like getting sandy butts, then there are also a couple of buckets of toys for them to play with and there is of course the playground! Just a word of warning - the playground is quite safe, but isn't completely secured, so make sure you keep a close eye on little runners.
The playground has 3 major pieces of equipment - a big round swing, a ping pong table and soccer posts (grab a soccer ball out of the toy bucket near the cafe). My baby Beckhams had great fun here! There are also mounds to climb over and fruit and vegie patches to explore. And if you have any smarty pants in your brood they will love trying to figure out the wooden puzzles that are to be found on each table in the cafe.
When we visited Livvi's on a Saturday afternoon the cafe was fairly quiet, but I'm thinking as all of those houses are completed this place is going to go off! And how lucky will the residents be to just wander down the road with the kidlets to have a Campos coffee and a play.
So Little Munchers if you have had failed expedition to Ikea, just remember that all is not lost as you can regain your sanity at Livvi's Cafe in Elara. And as all Livvi's Cafe are social enterprise cafes, it means that you can feel good in the knowledge that your money will be helping out an Australian family as well as an Australian charitable organisation (20c from each coffee goes back to TBO) and not going abroad to make those flat pack kings in Sweden that little bit richer!
Elara Blvd, Marsden Park NSW
Thu - Fri: 7am - 1pm
Sat: 9am - 3.30pm
Sun: 10am - 3.30pm