One of our favourite child friendly cafes in the North West of Sydney has had a change of ownership and a change of name. To make sure that it was still child friendly as ever, we popped out there for lunch recently, on a beautiful sunny day. Mezze Me in Rouse Hill has now become the Mezze Bar Cafe which has now become The Local Shed (May 2016). And I am happy to report that it is still as fabulous as ever, and still as child friendly as ever - and the food - well it is simply amazing!
Meze Bar Cafe is located in the historic Mungerie House in Rouse Hill. Just to give you a quick history lesson - this building dates back to the 1890's and was once the top floor of a two storey house that was located across the road! For some reason the bottom floor was demolished and they moved the top floor (on top of logs) to its current position and it became the homestead for a large sheep property. That property has now become a housing estate, but luckily the building has survived and we can enjoy all it has to offer, when we visit Mezze Bar Cafe.
Mezze Bar Cafe is a really spacious, light and airy cafe. There is loads of seating inside and out, and there is very easy access for prams - it's the ideal spot for a Mother's Group, as quite a few prams can fit around the outside tables. The day we visited for lunch, nearly every table had a pram parked next to it! There are high chairs and decent toilet facilities with a baby change table too, so families are very well catered for here. If you need a bottle to be heated up, just ask a member of staff and they will do it for you, and if you want to occupy your kidlets at the table, they have colouring in supplies. My boys however prefer the cool playground that is right next door to the cafe!
The all ages and abilities playground has very clean sand pits, climbing frames, a water pump, slippery slides, those things your kids speak (yell) to each other through, a mini castle and the longest snake you will ever see, that snakes its way around the whole playground. My favourite thing about this playground is that there aren't any swings!! So you don't hear every 2 minutes "Mum can you push me." There is a swimming pool and tennis court also on site but these are for the use of the residents of the housing estate only.
Just to let you know, you don't have full sight of your kids in the playground and it isn't fenced, so depending on how free range your parenting style is, you may have to make your kids eat before you hit the playground with them. The outside area of the cafe is hedged with plants so when you are sitting down your visibility of the playground is limited. Now that the boys are that little bit older, we let them play down there by themselves, if there aren't that many kids in the playground. From some of the tables that are located outside you can stand and see and hear your kids. However on a day when the playground and the cafe are packed, I wouldn't be so relaxed and I would be down there with them.
There is a lovely grassed area in front of the outdoor eating area, so another idea would be to bring along a picnic blanket and plonk yourselves down on that, with some takeaways from Mezze Bar Cafe and that way you would have full sight of the playground.
Children are very well catered for at Mezze Bar Cafe - they have their own menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. My little man had the Crumbed Chicken for lunch and the portion size was huge! The chicken was so succulent and I think it had a panko crumb on the outside. For the gelato, kids can choose one scoop from a huge variety on offer and my dude went for the velvety smooth white chocolate gelato. And I love how it is served in a little plastic cup.
Babycinos ($1.50), hot chocolates ($4.50), kids size milkshakes ($3.00), soft drinks ($4.00) and bottled juices ($4.50) area all available to quench our little people's thirsts, as is table water. If you arrive in time for morning/afternoon tea you can let your kidlets choose a sweet treat from the selection on the front counter inside the cafe.
Now on to the all important food for the parents! Mmmm it's so yummy! The menu still has a Middle Eastern influence and it is such a nice change to go to a cafe and to see that there isn't a panini, or a BLT or a caesar salad in sight! The food is designed to share (or not) depending on what mood you are in. I can highly recommend the Middle Eastern Spicy Lamb ($19). This huge dish consists of freshly baked pita bread (which is nothing like you buy in the supermarket) topped with a big dash of creamy hummus and the spicy lamb mince mixture, then sprinkled with pine nuts and a handful of crisp rocket. To finish it off, it was drizzled with olive oil and I think zaatar.
The other amazing dish we sampled was the Shish Plate. Served on a beautiful aubergine coloured plate were 4 skewers of chermoula chicken and lamb kafta. They were served atop cos lettuce and tabouli then it was finished with a tahini and yoghurt dressing. A little pot of purple pickled vegetables also accompanied the meal. There are so many other tantalising sounding mezze plates on the menu as well as tagines and it all sounds so good!
If you dine at breakfast time the menu does have some classic breakfast dishes such as granola, omelettes, eggs benedict, and banana bread, but they also have quite a few Middle Eastern inspired dishes such as sweet cous cous that comes with warm cardamon milk, mixed nuts, dried fruit & rhubarb compote or the Moroccan falafel with soft poached egg, homemade mint yoghurt & roasted tomato. The breakfast menu ranges in price from $6.50 - $20.00.
If you have a sweet tooth you HAVE to try one of Mezze's desserts! Our charming waiter convinced us to sample the Sticky Spiced Persian Fig Pudding and I'm so glad he did (although I wish I had worn my stretchy pants rather than my skinny jeans). This seriously moist little pud came with double cream, caramelised figs, crushed pistachios and the most amazing fig and almond gelato! I'm also very relieved to see that they still have the spectacular dessert share plate on the menu. We had this the last time we dined at Mezze Me and it is a great plate to share with the whole family (the picture below is from our previous visit).
So my dear Little Munchers if you are after an amazing food experience that is seriously child friendly you must check Mezze Bar Cafe. This place ticks every single Little Munch box and then some!
16 Bellcast Rd, Rouse Hill NSW
Open Wed: 10am - 4pm
Thu - Sat: 9am - late
Sun: 8.30am - 4pm
**bookings recommended on weekends**