I think I have found the most child friendly cafe that I have ever been to! And you have to travel to an outlying suburb of Canberra to find it. The suburb is called Macgregor and to be totally honest I almost couldn't be bothered to drive there on our recent holiday to the Nation's Capital but golly gosh I'm so glad I did! See I was on a mission to Little Munch the whole of Canberra and it was the last day of our visit and to be honest I was suffering burnout - a bit over eating, a bit over navigating Canberra and a bit over solo parenting my two boys (Mr Munch was earning some bacon). Alas I made the trip from one side of Canberra to the other and as soon as I pulled up I saw some brightly coloured bunting with the cafes name on it and I realised that I had saved the best cafe to the last.
Tommy & Me hasn't been opened long and you can tell - everything looks so fresh, bright and clean. From the fit out to the brilliant selection of toys (more on those later) it was a delight to walk into such a lovely cheery space. The cafe was created by a couple who have kids and saw a big gap in the Canberra market for a cafe that was both business and child friendly. They have seating outside which is perfect for people who don't really have the aural ability to cope with the sounds of kids having fun, as well inside seating, which is of course where we sat.
The inside of the cafe is very spacious, with a decent amount of room between tables, so it is perfect if you need to have a discreet meeting (or a good gossip session) and you don't want people overhearing your conversation. This also means that there is plenty of room for prams and kids in high chairs. They have free WIFI as well in case you need to fire up your laptop or if you have older kids who are bit too big for the toys provided and need entertaining on their electronic devices. Likewise if you are someone like me who constantly updates FB, instagram etc so the world can see who is currently being Little Munched!
Now on to the fantastic toys and activities for kidlets. There is a little ride on car that kids can hoon around the cafe in (just be careful of wait staff with hot coffees); there are several tables set up with colouring pencils that are also perfect for kids to play grown ups at and have their meal at their very own table; there is a box and shelf of toys plus a toy kitchen complete with its very own coffee machine; there is a small wooden picnic table perfect for kids who want to use the large size sketcher and there is even a blackboard on the wall as well as a blackboard table with a bucket of chalk. All of these activities are in perfect view of your table so hopefully you can have a moment's peace whilst the kids are busy playing. All of the toys looked brand new. You know how sometimes you go into a cafe and they have a token box of kids toys and they look pre loved (insert grubby and germ ridden), well this is not the case at Tommy & Me, the toys were clean and in excellent condition.
If your kids need a pee break whilst playing, head up the back of the cafe where you will find a brilliant loo. Complete with baby change table and loads of space for your pram you will also find baby wipes and a basket of toiletries (eg spray on deodorant, hair bands) available for parents to use in the loo. This is a brilliant idea as I remember a few too many mornings leaving the house forgetting to do any personal grooming when my boys were babes.
Now what elevates Tommy & Me from an excellent child friendly cafe to a sheer brilliant child friendly cafe is that they have weekly activities for both kids and parents. For example on Mondays between 10am - 12pm if you drop in for a coffee your kids can make free edible kid craft and all you have to do is buy a coffee! Other awesome events are New Parents Meet & Greet where they have guest speakers offering advice on all sorts of topics and Mummy Pamper sessions to name but a few - there are plans as well for a stretch & relax class. During school holidays they also offer activities for kids and if you are after some edible craft ideas to do at home with your kids just check out the Tommy & Me FB page and have a look at some of the photos of what they get up to - such simple ideas that even I, the NFI crafter could achieve with my boys!
I have been raving on about how awesome Tommy & Me is and I haven't mentioned the food yet. We arrived mid afternoon so some afternoon tea was in order. The front counter was full of delicious cakes, slices and cookies - a lot of which is gluten free. I had a piece of white chocolate blondie and it was OMG good, and the boys had a piece of caramel slice and a jelly cup. As they were both devoured I presume they were OMG good as well. I love how the kids food all came in/on plastic serving wear. I didn't sample their Grinders coffee as I had already doubled my quota for the day at previous cafes so I sampled one of their old fashioned milkshakes instead and the boys had pop top juices.
You can have both breakfast an lunch at Tommy & Me and they also provide Take Home Meal Boxes. So if you can't be bothered cooking or you forgot to defrost the chicken, you can grab a meal to go - if I had been there earlier in the week I would have grabbed a couple of boxes to take back to our hotel room for dinner. Bacon & egg rolls, muesli with yummy toppings, pear and raspberry breads etc are available for brekkie and at lunch time yummy sandwiches, wraps and bagels can be enjoyed. Saturday is Churros day - they are freshly made to order. You order and pay for meals at the counter to the super friendly staff and if your kidlets are with you when you do this just be advised there is a basket of small bags of mixed lollies available for purchase and good luck getting away from the counter without buying them!
If anyone reading this review is thinking about opening up a kid friendly cafe then I suggest you get yourself to Macgregor and check out Tommy & Me. They have created the formula for a perfect child friendly cafe. Likewise next time you are in Canberra, take a little drive out there, it's only a 20 minute drive from the "heart" of Canberra. When we first arrived in Canberra I went to the Tourist Information Centre and asked if they knew of any child friendly cafes in the Capital - I was met with a blank stare. So I think I'm going to send a link of my review to the staff at the Centre because Tommy & Me needs to be on the list of the best things to do in Canberra when you are travelling with kids!!
12 Chalmers Pl, Macgregor ACT 2615
02 6254 0065
Open 7 Days from 8.30am