Every now and then you just stumble into a little unassuming gem of a cafe. You're not really expecting much but then you are blown away with what eventuates. And that's exactly what happened to us the first time we visited Chat Time Cafe in Dural last year. Since that visit however, Chat Time has had a facelift and a name change and the results are amazing! The cafe is now called S.A.L.T. and it looks like it could be at home in any funky inner city location, but it's not, it is located out in the North West of Sydney, in the heart of Dural Mall.
With industrial seating, subway tiling, retro lighting and polished concrete flooring, the interior of the cafe looks completely different to the suburban cafe interior that it used to have. What isn't different however, is the service. It is still as warm and friendly as ever. The lovely owner and his team clearly love families and kids - you are always greeted with a big smile, almost like you are a long lost relative.
At S.A.L.T. there is indoor and outdoor seating, with the outdoor area being under cover. If you visit in the cooler months there are blankets available to keep you warm. If you have a pram the outdoor area is the best place to sit as it has easy access and enough room for you to park it. You will also find outside a tiny little play area for kidlets - a small table and chairs with some toys. High chairs are available as are toilets in the mall, but they do not include a baby change table.
The menu too has been tweaked somewhat at S.A.L.T. - thankfully although the "Kiddycino" still features! The "kiddycino" has definitely made it on to the list of Little Munch's best - it's like having your kidlets morning/afternoon tea all rolled into one. A plastic cup comes full of luke warm frothy chocolatey milk and is sprinkled with real chocolate flakes. This is accompanied by a small handful of tiny teddys, 2 marshmallows and a lollipop. For $3.00 I think this is good value, as I've been to some cafes and all you get for the same price is a small cup of frothed milk. Make sure you do ask for a kiddycino and not a babycino ($1) as they also serve these, but they only have a marshmallow and we wouldn't your bambinos to be disappointed now, would we.
Little Ones also have their very own menu at S.A.L.T. and it is very reasonably priced. Sandwiches are $4.00 each and you have a choice between nutella, honey, vegemite or peanut butter. They do grilled cheese fingers $3.00 ($8 with ham); a ham & cheese croissant ($9); and chicken strips with chips will cost $10.00. For morning/afternoon tea you can obviously have the kiddycino or a slice of fairy bread for $2.00. There are also loads of sweet treats on the display shelves. If your kids think they are too big for kiddycinos they also have juice poppers, kids size milkshake, ice cream sodas and a full range of soft drinks available.
We've dined both for lunch and breakfast at S.A.L.T. and the menu is still as tasty as ever. The sandwiches at lunch time are awesome with my favourite being the Southern Style Fried Chicken with slaw and aioli (pictured above). Old school open melts, burgers, salads and soup are also on the menu. The menu ranges in price from $8 - $17 and there is something available to suit most dietary requirements.
The all day breakfast menu is outstanding! This has become out favourite spot to enjoy brekkie after the boy's sport on weekends. The home made baked beans with smoked bacon and parmesan are the perfect way to warm yourself up after standing on a rugby pitch for too long at some ungodly hour and the omelette, well let me tell you it's probably the best we have sampled in Sydney to date! It is perfectly cooked, beautifully light and fluffy and you can choose what fillings come wrapped up in it. Some other options we are yet to try are the zucchini & fetta fritters with smoked salmon & mint; or the home toasted granola with tahini yoghurt & fresh fruit. I was also very excited to see that S.A.L.T. are using sourdough from the Bread and Butter Project - this is an awesome bakery with a social conscious that I love to support.
S.A.L.T. is also an excellent spot to stop in for a caffeine fix and sweet treat. Coffee lovers will enjoy the decent Lavazza brew that comes with a tiny teddy (if you are dining with more than one kid you may have to ask for more tiny teddies so that you can share the love between your kids, or just eat it yourself!). Freshly baked muffins, scrolls, pastries and slices as well as big fat cookies are available to satisfy your sweet cravings. My pick is the double caramel slice that is flavoured chai like spices - it is seriously decadent!
Being located next to Woolies and ALDI plus some other excellent shops in the Dural Mall (make sure you check out the butcher), means that S.A.L.T. is the perfect spot for a caffeine fix before you do your weekly shop. It's also a great place to catch up for a gossip with the girls or just to sneak out to for a quick lunch by yourself with the kids. S.A.L.T. is open 7 days a week from 8am and they do get very busy as they are a firm favourite amongst Dural residents. And now that they have had their lovely make over, I'm sure the crowds will be coming form further afield as well - so maybe get in early to nab yourself a table.
I must mention that S.A.L.T. is a cash only business, so make sure you go to the ATM before you arrive. And if kidlets have been well behaved during their visit, they can ask the cashier sweetly for a lollipop that is in the big barrel on the front counter x
So my lovelies, do you have a child friendly neighbourhood gem as good as S.A.L.T.? Would you like to share it with all the rest of us?
Dural Mall, 46 Kenthurst Rd Dural NSW 2158
Open 7 days - breakfast & lunch