Who eats out at breakfast at 7am? Shift workers and bleary eyed parents, that's who. For some reason the little bulls have been waking at 5.30am of late, I'm blaming Santa because it's all about how many sleeps until he falls down our chimney. Not that many cafes in the suburbs open at 5.30am and I've discovered that the only places that open early are the chain restaurants, so as a result we went and checked out Pancakes on the Rocks - mind you we were no where near the Rocks, we were in Northmead. Our dining companions were the Police, and some nurses from Westmead kids, who were less than impressed when they were seated next to us - completely understandable - after nursing sick kids all night, you would most definitely not be in the mood for sitting next to raucous little boys when you are trying to enjoy a quiet breakfast.
Our decision to dine at Pancakes on the Rocks in Northmead was based on my boys requesting pancakes for breakfast and basically I didn't have the ingredients in the cupboard to make them. So we popped down to Northmead - as I said earlier it opens early (7am on the dot) and as we had never been to Pancakes on the Rocks before, either at the Rocks or in Northmead, I thought it would make for a good review.
When we arrived we were greeted by the super friendly waitress and seated with an assortment of menus. I never knew that pancakes could be served in so many different ways! They can be sweet or savoury and they come with all sorts of weird and wonderful toppings. I'm a firm believer that pancakes are a sweet food. Best with lemon & sugar or jam & butter or just plain maple syrup. I've never grasped the whole North American thing of pancakes with bacon and maple syrup etc.
However Mr Munch lived for a few years in the States when he was younger, so he has no problem with it and hence ordered pancakes with bacon, scrambled eggs, whipped butter and maple syrup - just plain weird I say! Anyway his meal was quite large and very filling but I think the eggs may have been reconstituted powdered thingys, the colour, texture and taste were all CSI evidence of this!
The little bulls ordered off the extensive kids menu - well they saw a photo of a smiley face on the cover of the menu and didn't look any further. The items all have cute names and are presented to appeal to children. The gasp that came from the little bulls when their breakfast was placed in front of them made me realise that I'm never going to be able to cook pancakes at home for breakfast again, because there is no way I can replicate this:
I chose something incredibly decadent for 7am in the morning and went for the Banarama. The serve was huge, delicious and rich and as a result I didn't really eat anything else for the whole day. The pancakes were light and fluffy, the banana was perfectly caramelised, the cream and caramel sauce were rich and thick. My only complaint was the ice cream - it was very sugary and cheap tasting.
On to the oh so important coffee. Sadly but not surprisingly it was Ordinary with a capital O! I know that most family friendly joints don't serve up decent coffee, but I so wish they would. It doesn't take much to train up your baristas and use some decent beans, but alas they seem to be into quantity and not quality I suppose. The little bulls had kids sized apple juices that came in plastic cups and there are also milkshakes and fizzy drinks that come in kids sizes and at reasonable prices.
The other child friendly aspects are :- loads of high chairs, a baby change table in the loos and lots of space to park your prams. Interestingly they didn't have any kid's activities like colouring in which I thought they would, being such a family friendly restaurant and all, so BYO.
The menu at Pancakes on the Rocks isn't limited to pancakes, you can have pizzas, nachos, salads, ribs and steak! Basically they have covered all bases. You can even wash it all down with a glass of vino if you so please. Personally, I would probably choose not to go back to Pancakes on the Rocks, its just not my kind of venue. I know my kids loved their meals but they got bored fairly quickly with the ambience of the place - so much so that those poor nurses moved tables to be away from us! And as a bleary eyed parent I seriously need good coffee first thing in the morning to kick start my day - don't you?
So tell me dear parents - are you into savoury pancakes, or do you just find it weird like I do?
Cnr Briens & Redbank Rd, Northmead NSW
02 9683 4322
Open from 7am - late 7 days