Beach weather is upon us folks and that means it's time to get some sand between your toes and head to the coast. We tend to head to the northern beaches when the sun is shining, to a secluded little beach inlet that is perfect for little kids - in other words it doesn't have big waves that will dump little bodies. The only downside to this beach is that it doesn't have a cafe. So if we want to combine some sandcastle making and a yummy breakfast we head to Dee Why. We've tried most of the cafes along The Strand over the years and they are all relatively kid friendly but my recent online research told me that the On Shore Cafe Brasserie was meant to be the most child friendly of them all.
On Shore Cafe Brasserie is a big, light and airy space. If you sit out the front you will have gorgeous views of the beach, and of course these are the most popular, so you may find yourself seated inside. There was a big group of families sitting at a communal table in the middle of the cafe when we arrived - this table is the perfect spot for mother's groups who have kids that little bit older and can sit in high chairs. There most definitely is room and access for prams although it just may get a bit squishy if you try to park a few of them around the table. At the back of the cafe behind the kitchen you will find a large loo complete with a baby change table and they also have a big stack of high chairs - so I understand why they are considered to be so kid friendly.
The menu at On Shore is basic cafe fare with a few Asian meals thrown in for good measure. They have a kids menu for lunch and dinner which includes nachos, dumplings, burgers, schnitzel, fish and chips as well as pasta with meatballs. The prices range from about $4.00 - $11.00 depending on what you choose. At breakfast time there are quite a few choices suitable for kidlets off the main menu. Our boys had toast and a croissant. An assortment of jam and butter is already on the table ready to be used, which meant the butter was already at room temperature - I find it very frustrating when cafes give you portions of butter which have come straight out of the fridge - very difficult for little (and big) fingers to spread! Other child friendly aspects to the menu are that kid size milkshakes come in disposable containers and they also have a range of juices, smoothies as well as spiders and babycinos for little ones to quench their thirst with.
For breakfast I had an open DIY omelette (you choose the fillings), which interestingly came with a hash brown - which was quickly stolen by one of my boys. Mr Munch had the jumbo breakfast which was huge and full of your big breakfast favourites. Nothing on the breakfast menu costs more than about $19.00 and considering the large portion sizes I think this to be quite good value. Coffee was decent but not brilliant, I've had better brews from some of the other cafes along The Strand.
On Shore is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Their hours are very family friendly, opening at 7.00am each day - perfect for those of us who have mudlarks. You can also have have an early lunch or dinner and they cater for functions just in case you are looking for a child friendly function venue. At lunch time they serve everything from fish and chips to BLATS to salads and nachos. At dinner time meals get a lit bit more fancy with loads of seafood items on the menu including the seafood platter with the lot. Most mains will cost about $30 + and the seafood platter is north of $100.00. On Shore Brasserie is fully licensed so you can also enjoy a wine or ale with your meal - perfect on a hot summer's day.
We really enjoyed our breakfast at On Shore Cafe Brasserie - the food was tasty, and the service was quick and friendly, just as you need it to be when dining out with kids. After our meal we wandered across to the awesome fully fenced playground in the park across the road and had a quick play. From there the boys chased some poor old seagulls down onto the beach where we spent the next couple of hours building seaweed castles, playing a few beach games and having a quick dip.
The only opportunity to improve with a day out at Dee Why is parking. As Dee Why is such a popular spot come the warmer months, finding a car park can be quite tricky. There is street parking along The Strand as well as a car park down near the the surf life saving club but when we arrived at about 7.30am they were almost all taken. So just be warned if you arrive mid morning or later, you may be doing the block quite a few times before you can score a spot.
So share some love Little Munchers - what is your favourite family friendly beach-side cafe and why?
16 The Strand, Dee Why Beach NSW 2099
02 9972 2325
Open 7 days: 7.00am - 9.30pm