It seems that Hospitality Professionals have finished gentrifying the pubs of Sydney and are now moving on the good old Bowlo. The Greens in North Sydney was the first example of this and now I have found another family friendly bowlo that has been given a bit of the trendy treatment - The Backyard in Concord.
I found out about the Backyard via a press release that I was sent from the owners. It raved about how kid friendly they were, so one day during the school holidays when my little ferals and I were suffering from cabin fever, we escaped the house and decided to road test the lunch menu. I plugged the address into the GPS and off we went in search of the Backyard. We arrived at the address and saw an unpretentious building that was home to the Briars Greenlees Sporting Club. I couldn't see any sign for the Backyard so I decided to drive around the block just in case I was at the wrong entrance. I ended up back in the Briars ample car park and thought I would pop in and ask if they knew where this Backyard actually was. We walked into the club and still no signage, so I asked the first person I saw - a lady working behind the bar and she advised me that the Backyard was the club's bistro down the back.
As we wandered into The Backyard dining area I finally saw some signage! We were greeted by a handsome chap behind the counter who showed me the menu and advised that we ordered and paid at the counter. After a quick scan I placed our order and I was given a buzzer, then we headed out the back doors into the "backyard" so to speak. The club has 3 greens - two are in use for bowling and the third - the backyard - is for kidlets to run amok on. The boys were like bees to a honey pot and straight away started playing with the big pile of toys available on the green. There are well used Little Tikes cars, building blocks, cricket sets and more for kids to muck around with on the green, whilst you sit back and relax of a cool drink or an expertly brewed coffee.
The outdoor eating area is undercover and you have a perfect view over the green, so you can always watch what your kids get up to. There are tables of different sizes and there is plenty of room to park your pram right next to where you sit. High chairs are readily available and if you do need them, the toilets are located inside. There is also an inside dining area which would be the best place to sit on a hot summers day. You will also find a big stack of colouring sheets and pencils in here if you need something to keep the kids occupied.
On to the all important food - it is a stand out! The Italian inspired menu changes regularly. It is short and sweet but it all sounds so good. The kids have there own reasonably priced menu and the boys chose the flathead & chips ($6) and spaghetti with napoli sauce & cheesy toast. Both serves were the perfect size for the lads to polish off and let me tell you those flathead fillets were sublime! The other choices on the menu are a chicken schnitzel with chips & salad ($6) or a chicken parmigiana with chips & salad ($7). For dessert there are two choices: ice cream with very berry or choc sauce ($4) and a choc fudge cookie crumble sundae ($5), which sounds delightfully decadent. Otherwise there is a huge selection of cake in the cabinet inside. After much umming and ahhing the boys went for cupcakes!
I chose the spaghettini with prawns, calamari, chilli oil & parsley ($18) and it was simply delicious. The seafood and pasta were cooked perfectly and there was only a hint of chilli, so you didn't find that your mouth was on fire and I loved the garnish of crunchy fried bread crumbs and micro herbs. Some other examples on the main menu are the Briar's steak sandwich ($12), three cheese eggplant parmigiana with salad & chips ($12); beer battered flat head with mushy peas, chips & tartare sauce ($12); or the dirty big tommahawk steak - 500g bone in, rib eye, grass fed yearling steak with your choice of mash & veg or chips & salad ($32) and all I can say about that is Yabba Dabba Do!
The Backyard opens at 11am every day, so you can just drop in for a spot of morning tea. They make Pablo & Rusty coffee which is nothing short of brilliant (my personal favourite and as such I will go out of my way to find a cafe that serves it). You are spoilt for choice with the sweet treats and once again it is all reasonably priced. If you are just in need of a wine, because parenthood does that to you some days (actually almost every day) you can also just enjoy your vino whilst the kids play and if you don't have to count your calories grab a bowl of thick chips with rosemary salt and aioli......nom nom!
We had such a nice experience at The Backyard - we were actually the only people sitting outside and the only family dining there. According to the press release I received you need to make a booking on Friday and Saturday evenings as it gets packed. The Backyard's motto is a "place for all" and it most definitely is - it is still has that friendly club feel which will keep the regular patrons happy, the fabulous food will keep the foodies happy, the green will keep the kidlets happy, the booze and coffee will keep the parents happy - have I missed anyone?
So Little Munchers has your local bowlo been gentrified yet? And if so is it a family friendly gentrification?
14 Ian Pde, Concord, NSW
(02) 9743 1907
Open 7 days for lunch & dinner