So many eateries these days do not take reservations which can make life difficult when dining out with children. There is nothing worse than waiting in a huge queue, when you have impatient little people with you. So when we decided to go out for a Sunday family lunch last weekend, I had three prerequisites:
1. The place had to take reservations
2. It had to be in a suburb that we hadn't reviewed before and near the beach so that we could go for a dip afterwards
3. It had to be kid friendly (obviously)
After a great deal of forensic investigation and analysis (watch out CSI...), I came up with Shuk. A cafe/bakery/deli that is located in North Bondi (which is about a 3 min drive from the iconic Bondi Beach). The cafe has a play area and best of all you can make an online booking - which is exactly what I did, the day before we wanted to dine, requesting a table near the play area out the back.
Shuk occupies a corner position in a lovely old art deco building, in the back suburban streets of North Bondi. Parking is at a premium here, especially on weekends so just be prepared to walk a bit if you arrive at peak dining time (a good opportunity to get those steps up!). There is also a bus stop right outside the cafe, with the number 389 bus to/from the city stopping there. When we arrived at midday, Shuk was packed to the rafters - this is one popular dining spot. After standing around for a while at the "please be wait to be seated" sign, a very relaxed young chappy came along to help us. I explained that we had a booking and asked if it was ok to be near the play area which is at the back of the cafe. When he stared blankly back at me, I realised that I had made the booking in vain. He knew of no such booking, but he still did his best to accommodate us.
Shuk's small play area/garden has a few tables in it, with one being right in the fenced off play area. These were all taken except for a small table in the sun (which we decided against as it was too hot) so luckily there was one table left on the outside of the cafe for our little fambam - which was fully shaded. The outside tables and the garden area all have space for prams and Shuk also has a decent number of high chairs available. The play area is a cute little space with a chalk board and toys suitable for smaller people like toddlers - it also has a sun sail over it. I'm also pleased to report that there is a baby change table available out here too. Also it is full table service so you don't have to leave the area at all. If you sit outside make sure you keep an eye on wandering kids as the streets surrounding Shuk are quite busy with traffic. There is indoor seating as well at Shuk, but there definitely isn't any space in here for prams when the place is full.
Leaving the first little arrival hiccup aside, I cannot fault the service at Shuk. The staff are young and lively, and the food and drinks came out really quickly from the kitchen despite the place being so full. There is a small menu for kids featuring a boiled egg with sourdough toast ($7); chicken schnitzel with chippies ($12); or chips & sauce ($7). The schnitzel & chips is a very decent size meal, so our boys just shared one serve between them. For drinks they have freshly squeezed orange juice for little people, that comes in a cute glass jar (although I did see juices being delivered to the play area which were in disposable cups). Babycinos are available, as is table water.
Now lets talk about us bigger people. The food is a fusion of Israeli and Mediterranean cuisines and I'm pretty sure your taste buds are going to like it! At lunch time you can have everything from Shakshuka (the house speciality) to beautiful fresh salads, to really interesting sandwiches - which is what we went for. My slow cooked lamb sandwich with pickled vegetables was just gorgeous (the lamb was incredible) and Mr Munch's chicken schnitzel sandwich on freshly baked Israeli bread was huge and tasty! These sandwiches were $14.00 and worth every cent considering their size. And as Shuk is fully licensed they were washed down with a Bloody Mary - the perfect Sunday drink I believe. Now Shuk are open for breakfast and dinner as well. And their sweet treats deserve a mention too - make sure you pop in to see what is on offer in the cake cabinet.
So my dear Little Munchers if you find yourself over Bondi way drop into Shuk to try out some of their tasty tucker, but perhaps go first thing in the morning (they open at 6am!!) when it isn't so busy, or telephone to make a booking so that you can nab a table out in the garden play area x
2 Mitchell St, North Bondi NSW
Sun - Wed: 6am - 5pm
Thu - Sat: 6am - 5pm; 6pm - 10pm