I think we all know how fabulous the Darling Quarter Playground is, and if you don't, make it a priority next weekend to take your kids into the city to check it out. Whilst you are there you will of course need a coffee or perhaps even a meal, and a great place to get both of these is Vesta Cafe Ristorante - because it is a hop, skip and jump away from in the playground - not right in front, but very close by.
Vesta is obviously an Italian cafe/restaurant. And it is one of many eateries located in the dining strip at Darling Quarter. What I like most about Vesta is that they serve a really good coffee and they open early (6.30am Mon- Fri & 8am on weekends) and then stay open until late most days. So you can eat there basically at any time of day. They are also reasonably priced considering their location in one of the busiest tourist centres of Sydney.
Access to Vesta is very easy. The closest parking station is at the Wilson Darling Quarter car park, which costs $16.00 on the weekend if you book online (during the week it can be quite exxy). You park way underground and catch the lift back up to Earth. When you come out of the lifts there are toilets which have a baby change table in it - these toilets have always been spotlessly clean when I have visited. So I advise getting everyone to do their business here, as the public loos out in the dining strip and playground are used heavily on weekends and can be a tad foul. From here walk a minute or so up to Vesta and if you have a pram with you the access is really easy.
Whilst you settle down on one of the tables at Vesta, your older kids can happily muck around in the grassy area out the front of the cafe. Just a warning although, during peak periods there is a lot of human traffic around the area, so your kids can easily get lost in the crowd. If you need to restrain younger ones, high chairs are available. When we were there it was quite chilly and windy, so in the cooler months you will need warm jackets for everyone.
A lot of families dine in the area so you don't have to worry about kids who make too much noise or who have melt downs - everyone is in the same boat and I think the staff are used them to! The staff were super friendly during our breakfast there on a Saturday morning and we were served super quickly, which was handy as the boys had the playground in their sights the whole time and were hankering to get over there.
There is a kids menu available at lunch time which costs $10.00 and includes pizza, pasta and chicken/fish & chips. At breakfast time there are quite a few things on the main menu that children can eat such as toast, porridge and hotcakes. The boys had toast with peanut butter ($5) and they washed these down with babycinos ($1). Hot chocolates, smoothies and fresh juices are also available. There is also a self help water station on the front counter if the kidlets just need some h2o.
The adults in our group all went for the Avocado Toasted Sourdough ($14). The toasted sourdough was topped with smashed avo, house marinated fetta, diced tomato and two perfectly poached eggs. A balsamic reduction was then drizzled over it. I loved that the eggs were included in the price and that you didn't have to pay extra for them like you do in so many cafes out in the burbs these days. If this dish isn't substantial enough for you then perhaps try the Breakfast Tasting Plate ($20). This includes eggs benedict with smoked salmon, bircher muesli and hot cakes with a strawberry & rhubarb compote!
If you dine at lunch/dinner time, the Vesta menu is all about communal dining. There are loads of divine sounding salads, pastas and pizzas available and they all seem to be under the $20.00 mark. If you're not a sharer, they also have burgers, paninis for $16 -$18 available. The 12 hour lamb panini sounds perfect - it has the slow roasted lamb shoulder with tomato, lettuce, haloumi and tzatziki stuffed in it!
I'm sure you won't linger very long over your meal at Vesta because that playground is just too tempting for kids. Make sure you grab a takeaway coffee before you leave as I guarantee you that it won't be a quick visit as there is loads of equipment for the kids to play on. Vesta is also the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat if you are attending any of the fantastic Monkey Baa performances at the Darling Quarter Theatre.
The Witches (by Roald Dahl) is showing at the Lend Lease Darling Quarter Theatre in the July School holidays. If you would like to win a family pass for the performance on Tuesday 30 June at 1pm, all you have to do is answer the question below by 12.06.015 and the winner will be picked at random from the responses. The pass is valid for either 2 adults & 2 kids or 1 adult & 3 kids - valued at $90.00!
Have you been to the Darling Quarter Playground Little Munchers? If so where did you take your little ones to eat?
1-25 Harbour St, Darling Quarter, Sydney
Mon - Wed: 6.30am - 5pm
Thu - Fri: 6.30am - late
Sat: 8am - late
Sun: 8am - 4pm