I think a kids menu speaks volumes about child friendliness. For example if it is full of the usual deep fried suspects such as nuggets and fish & chips, you know that they really couldn't care less what kids eat and that they are almost an afterthought. However when I see a kids menu like the one below from Vanilla Bean and Lime Cafe (VBL) in Padstow, I just know that they really understand that kids deserve to eat just as well as parents do:
The reason I wanted to review VBL was because of their kids menu. I thought if a cafe has taken so much time and effort to create a fantastic kids menu then it therefore should be a brilliant kid friendly cafe and it certainly lived up to that, but just lacked a little bit of the wow factor. However I should say that the cafe is located in a row of shops opposite the Padstow train station - hence they do a huge trade in commuter take away coffees. This probably is also because they serve excellent Campos coffee. So I think the constant stream of takeaway customers took away from the ambience that one is after for a leisurely weekend breakfast (hang on, can breakfast ever be leisurely when dining out with kids?!).
There is both inside and outside seating at VBL, with bright lime coloured seating throughout. There are some cute vintage posters on the walls and loads of comfy cushions along the bench seats. They open early at VBL, no doubt because of their close vicinity to the train station and this is brilliant for families who have early risers like we do.
As my little bulls are fruit and yoghurt lovers, I couldn't go past ordering them the Banana and Strawberry Skewers with yoghurt - probably the healthiest breakfast the boys have ever had on our dining out adventures. Every last bit was eaten up and perhaps for the price of $6.00 they could have done with a third skewer.
The breakfast menu for adults was comprehensive to say the least - 18 choices in total. You can have anything from toast to muesli to pancakes right through to some very tasty savoury items. I ordered a 3 egg omelette with ham, cheese and tomato ($13.50). The omelette was huge and wholesome.
Mr Munch chose the very delicious Turkish bread with soft scrambled eggs, spinach and smoked salmon ($15.50). They have loads of specials at lunch time, especially during the week - it's standard cafe fare but hey if you're dining out with your kiddliwinks in a suburban cafe, you probably aren't after anything too flash.
Service was brilliant - gorgeous young staff were fast, friendly and efficient. They bought the boys colouring pencils and colouring books to use when they started getting a bit restless. They also made sure they were served first and interacted with them quite happily which is nice to see in staff so young.
Its hard to go wrong when serving Campos, and the coffee at VBL continued that trend. They serve a standard babycino with a marshmallow on the side. There is room for your prams however I noticed the parents mainly sat outside who had them. High chairs are also available.
VBL ticks a lot of the child friendly cafe boxes, with an extra big tick for their kids menu. It's a decent suburban cafe and if I lived locally I would happily drop by regularly.
61 Howard Rd, Padstow NSW 2211