Tuesday, November 16, 2010

King of the Kids - A Secret No More!!

King Country - Redlands Best Kept Secret
58 Dinwoodie Rd Thornlands Qld 4164

T:  3206 4051

Rating out of 5:           5 child friendly forks!!  Totally geared to kids and Mums being able to relax.

Clean highchairs available? Yes.
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? Yes and very cheap.
Play area? Yes, as well as farm animals, a rainforest walk and when it is busy they have pony rides, face painting and a jumping castle!!
Activities at the table? No, not needed.
Room for kids to move around? Absolutely.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes, it's all about the kids.
Prices? Very reasonable menu prices for both adults and kids.  All activities are FREE.

We went to King Country for a friend's little girl's 4th birthday party, and to be completely honest, driving there I thought it was like driving to the other end of the earth.  The GPS kept taking us down backstreets instead of sticking to the main road and we were running late, so I was feeling a bit stressed.  But once we got to King Country at Thornlands, it was like an oasis of calm and so fantastic for the children!!
When you arrive it appears to be just another plant nursery, which seem to be in abundance for this area.  But take a walk to the back and you will find a casual cafe with indoor and outdoor dining, a lovely rainforest setting including a small rainforest walk, and a plethora of children's activities.  There is the standard fenced play area right next to the cafe, and then farm animals that children can go in and pat and feed including a goat, sheep, piglet, chickens and turkeys.  This is all free.  Plus, during school holidays, for busy periods or special events such as booked Mothers Group get togethers or childrens birthday parties, they also offer pony rides, a huge jumping castle with a slide and beautiful face painting.
The coffee was lovely and the menu options were excellent, with kids menu items starting from $2.50 for sandwiches.  They are open 7 days and I would definitely recommend for Mummy get togethers, school break up parties or play dates, or perhaps a family outing on the weekend.  Daddy can pick up the mulch and a few plants at the same time!!  I have never given 5/5, but this is a fabulous spot - King Country is King of the Kids!!  We will be back there.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Would you like Kookaburras with your Coffee??

Green Tree Frog Cafe at Walkabout Creek
60 Mt Nebo Rd
The Gap  4061
T:  3300 2558

Rating out of 5:        4 child friendly forks
Clean highchairs available? Yes.
Pram access? Yes, as well as through the wildlife area - sneaky exit for prams to avoid the stairs.
Kids' menu? Not specifically.
Play area? Not needed with the animal viewing.
Activities at the table? No.
Room for kids to move around? Yes.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes.
Prices? Cheap cafe prices, and entry to the park is cheap too (free for under school age kids)

Yep, the name says it all....Green Tree Frog Cafe at Walkabout Creek is set amongst the wildlife of Brisbane Forest Park, and it is a fabulous place to take kids for a cheap outing without battling the crowds.  Children under school age are free to go into the wildlife area, and from memory I think school age children are about $2 and adults $5.  It is not a large walk through area, but it is enough for littlies to learn about different animals without having a whole day out.  We arrived at about 10am, walked around the wildlife area until about 11.30, which was then perfect timing for an early lunch at the cafe and home for the littlies'  midday sleep.

The wildlife area includes a platypus, wallabies, a big fat wombat, all types of lizards, snakes and water creatures, and various birds including a frog mouthed owl and several overly eager kookaburras.

The cafe's menu is limited to assorted sandwiches and paninis, sausage rolls, fruit and caesar salads, as well as cute cheese boxes with dried fruit and crackers.  But it is perfect for fuelling up after a big walk around looking at animals.  The coffee was perfect for an exhausted Mummy and Daddy keeping track of all four!

We sat outside on the goregous verandah, positioned up high in the trees of Brisbane Forest Park.  Be careful of the kookaburras as they come down and literally take the food from your plate!!  This provided great amusement for the kids!!

The Green Tree Frog Cafe is open from 9.30am til 2pm Monday to Friday, 10am til 3pm Saturday and Sunday, as well as a special Sunday brekky offer from 8.30am, which is best to book in for.  I would definitely recommend for a family outing that is relaxing for parents and also exciting for the kids, without it being a big full day outing where everyone goes home cranky.  It was the perfect half day out and would also be fun for a group of mums mid-week.  Enjoy!!

Sunday, October 3, 2010

School's back....time for a civilised Mummy catch up that can accommodate littlies too.

The Chelsea...a place to eat in Paddington
Ground floor of the Barracks building 
Shop 2, 61 Petrie Terrace.
T: 07 3367 1288

Rating out of 5:  3.5...maybe 4 child friendly forks....best to sit outside with children.

Clean highchairs available? Yes.
Pram access? Yes, outside seating area.
Kids' menu? No.
Play area? No.
Activities at the table? No.
Room for kids to move around? Yes, outside.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes, outside.
Prices? Lunchtime two courses with a glass of wine was very reasonable.

With school going back today, why not have a Mummy lunch outing, where you feel special and spoilt, but can still accommodate the littlies under school age.

Okay, I admit that The Chelsea is not geared for children.  It really is an adults outing.  However, I went there recently with a group of friends and several of us had young children in tow.  We requested to sit outside and that the numerous highchairs be included with the setup.  We arrived and everything was ready as we requested.  The outdoor area has enough space that if the kids want to run around after having their lunch they can, without disrupting any other tables.

The lunchtime deal of two courses and a glass of wine for $33 was excellent value, and great for a Mums' catch up.  The food was lovely.  Menu options for kids are a bit limited but can be tailored from the adults menu.  On this occassion, mine were very happy with a big bowl of chips and some of my dessert!!  Not the healthiest I know, but it doesn't happen everyday.

It was a lovely day out where we all felt a bit civilised and still comfortable with the children being there too.  I believe that The Chelsea's owner has three young kids himself, and so he seemed more than accommodating and understanding of having the children there, and went out of his way to ensure we were happy with everything.  I would say that it wouldn't work to have more than one child accompany you inside the restaurant, but outside was a great option.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Go West....Centenary Tavern is great for kids!

Centenary Tavern
96 Sumners Road
Middle Park, Qld  4074
T: 3376 8111

Rating out of 5: 4 child friendly forks.
Clean highchairs available? Yes.
Pram access? Yes
Kids' menu? Yes.

Play area? Yes, outdoor playground and indoor computer room.
Activities at the table? Yes.
Room for kids to move around? Yes.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes.
Prices? Reasonable- normal tavern prices.

I actually took Polly and her friend from school to this venue to see Babba, the Abba impersonator kids show.  If you ever get a chance to see it I would highly recommend it for both kids and parents....I think the mothers were dancing as much of the children.  Anyway, I was really impressed with the child friendly resturant that is on offer at the Centenary Tavern. There is a fantastic playground that is perfect for children over 2 years, which is visible through the large windows and also monitored on CCTV.  The indoor computer game area was small but most of the kids were drawn to the outdoor area, so it was big enough for the demand.

The food was very much standard family tavern meals, that were reasonably priced.  But I have to say the coffee was great, and the coffee lounge area was really pleasant.  The main dining room was also nice with plenty of space in between tables which is always good with prams and highchairs

I think the Centenary Tavern would be a great location for a Mothers Group or a Mummy mid-week catch up.  But it would also be fantastic for a family dinner or a catch up with friends where everyone can relax and have fun.  They also do Kids Parties which I think would be great too.  If you live on this side of town, it is definitely a great option for dining out with the kids.

Check out our Interview page, to see the latest interview with a busy Mum; talking about favourite child friendly restaurants and cafes in Brisbane / South East Queensland.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Verve for lunchtime catch up with Daddy.

Verve Cafe and Bar
109 Edward Street
Brisbane 4000
T: 3221 5691

Rating out of 5:    3.5 child friendly forks  - great to take the children for a lunchtime quick bite with Daddy, but essentially not set up for kids. 

Clean highchairs available? Yes.
Pram access? There was enough room but there arestairs.  So you would need assistance to carry the pram down.
Kids' menu? No, but plenty to choose from off the adult menu.

Play area? No.
Activities at the table? No.
Room for kids to move around? Yes, but limited.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes.
Prices? Reasonable- normal cafe prices.

From the street, Verve is very discreet and hidden, but once you venture down the stairs it is an amazing  and vibrant space.  Initially it feels like you are entering a nightclub as the lights are dim and the music is louder than the average lunchtime restaurant.  But this is why primarily I thought it was a great option for kids.  It is loud enough, without being deafening (you can still hear each other speak), that children will not be annoying or disruptive to those seated around them.  You don't have to continually remind them to keep their voices down or stop tapping their cutlery!!

The walls are covered in colourful and interesting skateboard artwork, which was of particular interest for our kids.  The tables and chairs are very basic, and it suits the space and feels very much like its name - "Verve". 

The salmon cakes were delicious and suitable for children to share - with a little help from the kitchen to "hold the pesto".  But there were many other options that could be tailored to kids.

I am not suggesting that this is a place to take your children for a play date.  I thought it was more suitable if Dad or a friend works in town and you wanted to take the children into the city on school holidays for a lunchtime catch up.  Afterwards you can always venture down to the Botanical Gardens, catch a Citycat from the Riverside ferry stop, or  go for a beautiful river side bike ride for an after-lunch school holiday activity.  Have fun!!

Check out our Interview page, to see the latest interview with a busy Mum; talking about favourite child friendly restaurants and cafes in Brisbane / South East Queensland.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Govs just gets better and better....

Gov's Espresso and Collectables
2457 Gold Coast Highway,
Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast

Rating out of 5:    4.5 child friendly forks - awesome set up for kids!

Clean highchairs available? Yes.
Pram access? Yes, through the side gate.
Kids' menu? No, but gorgeus cupcakes.
Play area? Yes - fantastic.
Activities at the table? No need.
Room for kids to move around? Absolutely!
Child friendly atmosphere? Ditto
Prices? Very reasonable - normal cafe prices.

I know I reviewed this one not too long ago, but I wanted to give you an update.  The new sandpit and play area is now open.  It is huge compared to the previous one and you can catch up with other Mums at unmatched collectable tables and chairs within the gated area, so the children are not crying at the gate for you.  It is fabulous and I would highly recommend a visit if you are on the Gold Coast.

The only drawback being that with the recent renovation, the access is a little disjointed, but this was okay once we worked out where to go.  Also, the GC Council has limited their ability to prepare or toast anything onsite and everything needs to be in a takeaway capacity, even if you are eating/drinking in the cafe.  So the already limited menu is even more so.  It is great for a bircher museli brekky, a lunchtime sandwich or morning/afternoon tea ....and the coffee is divine.  It really is an espresso bar with a fabulous play area for kids - makes for a great catch up with other Mums whilst enjoying a coffee, or a really lovely family outing with the spectacular Spring weather.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

There's Pandemonium here.....

Pandemonium Cafe
215 Given Tce
Paddington, Brisbane  4065
T:  3369 4420

Rating out of 5:  4 child friendly forks - very tolerent of children and the food is great!

Clean highchairs available? Yes - about 4 available.
Pram access? Yes, outside.  Inside might be a bit squishy.
Kids' menu? No, but the menu is easily adapted for children.
Play area? No.
Activities at the table? No.
Room for kids to move around? Yes, but limited.

Child friendly atmosphere? Yes.
Prices? Very reasonable.

Located in a lime green "queenslander" in the heart of Paddington, this cafe is an old favourite of mine.  It is very casual and the retro furniture and the non-precious atmosphere, makes you feel comfortable and at home from the moment you walk in the door.  The owner seems to take a hands-on role and has been there every time I go, waiting on tables, taking coffee orders and generally speaking with her patrons.  She is very welcoming of families and takes the time to talk through the menu to make it suitable for the children.

On my most recent visit, the front courtyard had a table of about 15 women, all with young babies or toddlers.  Everyone seemed happy and well looked after.

It does not have a play area or anything specific for children, but the food is fast and the atmosphere is very kid friendly. 

The coffee is lovely and they cater for all walks of life including coeliacs, vegans, vegetarians, and my family being carnivores!!  Plus they have a special on takeaway coffee - only $2 for small and $2.50 for large.  So a great stop if you are going walking with the pram through Paddington, or just want a coffee fix as you are driving through.

All the food is made to order and made on the premises and reminds me of the old style country town cafe, with big servings and wholesome food.  Great for a Spring family outing for brekky, lunch or coffee on Fathers Day.  Dad and the kids are sure to love it!!  We will definitely be back.

Check out our Interview page, to see the latest interview with a busy Mum; talking about favourite child friendly restaurants and cafes in Brisbane / South East Queensland.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Mums & Bubs was brilliant, but not just for Mums with Bubs!!

Mums & Bubs (MnB cafe)
Stanley Street Plaza
Little Stanley Street
Southbank,  Brisbane,  4101.
Just near where the Southbank Markets are held and opposite the Aquativity Centre.

Rating out of 5:    4.5 child friendly forks - an excellent option for a mid-week stop for Mum with the kids, or a whole family weekend outing.

Clean highchairs available? Yes and plenty available.
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? Yes
Play area? Yes.  Not a playground, but a lovely area for children to play, read or watch a movie.
Activities at the table? Don't need it, as the lovely play area is very closeby.
Room for kids to move around? Yes.
Child friendly atmosphere? Absolutely
Prices? Very reasonable.

Open only 6 weeks, this is an absolute gem of a place.  The owner has thought of everything!  Located just near the Aquativity Centre at Southbank, it is great to give your kids a play and then head into Mums & Bubs for lunch or morning/afternoon tea.  The food is prepared by chefs, and a decent menu is available for both adults and kids.  The cafe environment is gorgeous with ottomans scattered in the play zone and beautiful comfy chairs and lounges in the cafe area.  The kids play area is not a playground as such, but a beautiful chill out zone with a library of books and toys and a large flat screen television playing movies.  So it cleverly caters to a mix of ages.

The coffee was divine and it is licensed, so it would be a nice and relaxing option for dinner on a Friday night.  Not only that, but they do kids birthday parties too.  They can either provide the catering to you near the Aquativity centre, or anywhere in the parklands; or you can have the party in the cafe.  You can even have the cafe all to yourself after a certain time, and play your own choice of dvds and music etc. 

The only drawback is the parking at Southbank, but you can generally get a paid park underneath or perhaps catch a Citycat straight to the Parklands.

I really love this cafe and would highly recommend it for Mums catching up during the week, but also for families wanting a night or morning out.  Definitely not just a Mothers Group meeting place.  Personally I think it would be great for a Sunday morning brekky, followed by a bike ride through Southbank Parklands.  With the Spring weather on its way, what a perfect way to have a family morning out and about.  We will definitely be back there soon.

Check out our Interview page, to see the latest interview with a busy Mum; talking about favourite child friendly restaurants and cafes in Brisbane / South East Queensland.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

It's all about Soul.....

Soul Bistro
5/16 Baroona Road
Milton,  Qld,  4064
T:  3367 8188

Rating out of 5:     4 child friendly forks - an adult dining experience that easily accommodates kids.

Clean highchairs available? Yes
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? No, but tapas meals at dinner and light options for brekky and lunch.
Play area? No.
Activities at the table? No
Room for kids to move around? Yes.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes.
Prices? Very reasonable.

Soul Bistro is an adult dining experience that has enough space (when dining outside) and a menu that easily adapts to dining with children.  We have been there for dinner previously and the food and service was impeccable.  BYO any alcohol with a tiny $2 corkage per person, and the wait staff come and top up your wine - which you would expect in a high end, high priced restaurant.  But the tapas banquet menus start at only $16 per head!!  For kids you can order the specific tapas plates - our kids love the grilled haloumi as one option!

More recently it has become a regular stop for us for Saturday brunch.  The colder evening weather and "triplet toilet training" have restricted our dinner outings temporarily. 

Soul Bistro does not have a specific kid's menu but there are many options for the children including honey, date and walnut loaf, french toast or simply toast with rose whipped butter.  There are also sweet options in their window.  Our children love the homemade lemonade and the milkshakes, and I love the coffee. 

No provided activities for kids, but there is enough space for them to run around after they have eaten and toilets right nearby - which has been very handy for us of late!  You just have to be careful as the road is quite close as is the TAB.  They can very quickly wander off to the road or sneak in through the auto doors of the TAB if you are not watching.

I love this place and would highly recommend it to families.  Might see you there on a Saturday morning!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Gap has it down-pat....

The Gap Tavern
21 Glenquarie Place,
The Gap,  Brisbane.
T:  3366 6090

Rating out of 5:        4.5 child friendly forks - Loved it for a family.

Clean highchairs available? Yes
Pram access? Yes, could potentially be a bit squishy.
Kids' menu? Yes.
Play area? Yes.
Activities at the table? No
Room for kids to move around? Yes.
Child friendly atmosphere? Definitely.
Prices? Reasonable and the kids ate free.
I have not been to The Gap Tavern for a while, but recently decided to have dinner there for a mid-week catch up with friends.  It was great!  We arrived and ordered immediately and the kids meals came out in a flash.  We were perfectly postioned near the heaters and in full view of both the playground and the computer room.  So once the children had eaten it was so easy for them to go and have a play, while we enjoyed our meals.  The kids ate free which was fantastic and our meals were reasonably priced for "pub food".  Most at the table had steak and I had the Chicken Supreme (it sounds like a pizza but was actually a very tasty chicken breast dish). 

All the children of varying ages had a ball.  The playground is probably not suited for children under 2 years unless you plan to stand by their side 100% of the time.  For our children the playground and the computer room were perfect especially mixing with some of the older kids in our group of friends.  I would recommend that when you book you ask for a table close to the playground and computer room, as it would be tricky to relax if you were sitting away from this area and the children were not in view.

It did get cold quickly, especially in the playground, but all our children were well rugged up.  It is probably more appropriate for night time family dining when it warms up a bit. 

We will definitely be back there when the warmer weather arrives - a great family option.  We were able to relax and the kids had a ball - everyone enjoyed themselves!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Ribs and Rumps was not on my return list...

Ribs and Rumps
Marina Mirage

Shop 16/74 Seaworld Drive
Main Beach, QLD 4217
T: 5591 1677

Rating out of 5:      2.5 child friendly forks (maybe 3 as it was a nice location)

Clean highchairs available? Yes
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? Yes.
Play area? No.
Activities at the table? No
Room for kids to move around? No.
Child friendly atmosphere? Okay, but not ideal.
Prices? Expensive but the children ate free.

We were holidaying down at the Gold Coast and decided we wanted to check out the new restaurants at upmarket Marina Mirage shopping centre.  Ribs and Rumps seemed to be the most child friendly on paper.  From the entrance it looked to be more like a wine bar, so we were worried when we arrived that we might be out of place carting 4 children in there.  But once we went into the restaurant there were a couple of other families there too.

The waitress looked at us strangely when we asked for three highchairs (which we had asked for when we booked as well), but when she saw the triplets toddling behind, she fetched the chairs with haste!

The children's drinks and meals came out very quickly.  The kids meals were huge and in fact I could have ordered two meals to feed all four children.  Plus the children's meals were free.  How do I keep stumbling on this??!!  Again, I don't know if this was a short term promotion, so ask the question when booking.  The kids menu was very much deep fried options.

Our meals were extremely slow, as were our drinks.  So by the time we received them, the kids were getting very restless and were keen to go.  It is hard to entice 3 x 2 year olds to sit in their highchairs for over two and a half hours in total!  So we really scoffed our meals which was a bit disappointing.

I felt the adult meals were fairly high priced when looking at the menu.  But when they came out they were viking sized servings!!  We also could have ordered one meal to feed the two of us.  The menu was very meaty, which I probably should have anticiapted from the name "Ribs and Rumps" but there were not many light options.  My meal was okay, but not great.  This could be partly due to the fact that I was a bit stressed by that stage as our meals had taken so long and the children were tired.

We had a lovely new mum come up to us and compliment how well behaved our children were.  Her comment was quite funny "...two against four...I don't know how you do it.  I struggle taking one out to dinner."  Seasoned diners at the ages of two and five!

It is a beautiful location and it was an enjoyable night, but we won't be rushing back there.  It was too disorganised and when dining out with children we need a lot more structure than that.

A trip to the Pacific...

Pacific Golf Club
430 Pine Mountain Rd
Mansfield  (near Carindale)
T:  3343 0888

Pic copied from their website, as my camera ran out of batteries. but our food did look like this!!.

Rating out of 5:        4 child friendly forks

Clean highchairs available? Yes
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? Yes.
Play area? Yes - indoor playroom.
Activities at the table? No
Room for kids to move around? Yes.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes
Prices? Very reasonable.

We have been to Pacific Golf Club a few times, but recently we had a friend's birthday gathering there.  I think this is an excellent child friendly option.  There is a kids' room where they can play, and although this is out of view, we sat close to the playroom entry so we could check on them regularly and hear what was going on.  The kids' menu has several options besides the standard chicken nuggets, and the adult menu is excellent and very reasonably priced.  You would expect the standard of food to be "clubish", but it isn't.  The children had spaghetti bolognaise, I had the salmon and Mike had the steak, and we were all suitably impressed.  Prices are very reasonable too.  The only trap with a place like this where there is a kids playroom available, is that some people just let their children go in there and not see them for the night.  This did cause some issues, with having to intervene and advise some of the bigger kids to slow down with the young ones.  But otherwise I would highly recommend this venue as a great family option, catering to children of varying ages.  We will definitely be back there.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Gov's Rules!

Gov's Espresso
2457 Gold Coast Highway
Mermaid Beach, Gold Coast
T:  5667 1098

Rating out of 5:  4.5 child friendly forks

Clean highchairs available? Yes
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? Not specifically, but plenty on the menu for kids.
Play area? Yes - great outdoor play area for the kids which is being extended as we speak.
Activities at the table? No
Room for kids to move around? Yes, outside only.  Indoor tables are a bit more "adult" like.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes
Prices? Very reasonable.

I loved this place!  It is a real hidden treasure.  Just a few blocks from the beautiful and exclusive beaches of Mermaid on the Gold Coast, is this fantastic and interesting coffee shop.  It is in an old house and each of the rooms are set up like a house - lounge room, dining etc and are full of retro and eclectic pieces.  Mike and I took the kids in there as we had heard it was a good place to take children, and I must admit I was sceptical at first....

From the front it looks like an old junk shop.  Then as we walked in I realised it was full of these interesting antiques and retro knick-knacks.  I was seriously questioning what we were doing there at that point with 4 littlies and 8 eager hands wanting to touch everything.  The barista signalled to us that we might want to head through to the back, so we did.  What a treasure in the backyard....

A big open area with random tables and seating, and in the corner was an old style boat perched on top of a sandpit.  There were beach toys and Tonka trucks strewn across the lawn and an antique looking bed perfect for kids to chill out and read stories.

We ordered coffee and brekky and the kids played.  It was lovely and relaxing.  I can highly recommend the bircher museli and the coffee was great!!  The only issue we had was that the littlies did not want to leave, especially once a Mothers Group arrived and there were so many kids to play with.

The staff were fabulously friendly, and the waitress chatted to us about the extension underway with a whole new play area.  So we will have to get back there to check it out soon.

There is also a back entrance from the side street through the side fence gate.  This makes pram access really easy.

I would highly recommend Gov's Espresso!!  It is both interesting and relaxing and with the extension of the cafe and play area it will be a brilliant place to go with a family.  It would be perfect for a mid-week Mothers Group or Sunday family time.  Loved it!!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Friday night at the Club...or was it a Chinese restaurant from the 80s??

Bardon Bowls Club
69 Bowman Parade
Bardon , Brisbane,  4065
T:  3366 2981

Rating out of 5:  3 child friendly forks

Clean highchairs available? Yes
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? Yes.
Play area? Yes - indoor toy area including Wii, and outdoor running around area.  The outdoor area is not secure and borders a road, so important to have someone watching them.
Activities at the table? No
Room for kids to move around? Yes.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes
Prices? Very reasonable. Steak starts from $12.  Kids meals are huge at $7.50

I would love to give this place a higher rating as they were so friendly and it really is easy to take kids there.  But the only thing letting it down was the time taken for the food to come out and the fact that all our meals were staggered.  Mine came out an hour before Mike's, and the kids meals came out in between that.

The decor is definitely like an RSL and the meals remind me of the local Chinese restaurant from when I was a kid - standard sweet and sour pork and honey prawns, which in the 80s we thought was so exotic!  They also serve steak which was a big meal served with salad and chips - and cheap as chips from $12, or $13 for reef and beef!!  Of course it is not the standard you would get at a specialty steakhouse, but good value all the same.  I ordered the san choy bao, which was beautiful and fresh and very filling at $11.  The kids meals are limited but good value.  Fish or nuggets served with chips or salad.  There were 10 nuggets to a serve and a mountain of chips - I could have just ordered one meal to feed all four of my kids.

The staff are so friendly, with "Big John" coming around handing out lucky door prizes, which included a kids birthday barefoot bowls party and gorgeous cupcakes from Luscious Cupcakes valued at $800.  Then they were selling tickets for the meat tray, like the old style "Friday night at the club" with banter going on as to who was going to win it.  Then another bloke came around handing out free Freddo Frogs to all the kids - a special after dinner offer on Friday nights.  It was a very old style friendly "club" atmosphere.

Our littlies ran around outside kicking a soccer balls for ages.  I would recommend you keep an eye on them through the window or be out there with them, as it does border the carpark and the road, and there is no fencing.  But a massive area, so it is not like they are close to the cars, unless they actually run over there.  Inside also has a toy corner, the Wii and space for them to move around.  As far as being relaxed and inviting of children it was excellent.

However, we ordered our meals at 6.30pm.  Mine came out at 7.15, the kids meals at about 7.300 and then Mike's just after 8.15pm.  This was the only thing letting it down.  They were extremely busy and obviously were not coping with the rush.  So I think if we were to go there again we would get there at 5.30pm and order immediately.  I think that would then enable the kids to eat earlier, have a play and then head home at a reasonable hour.

Definitely child friendly and definitely reasonably priced for a family.  We will go back there, but earlier with a game plan for ordering.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Milk takes you back....

Milk Cafe Milkbar
Windsor Homezone,
142 Newmarket Rd, Windsor.
T:  3357 3009.

Rating out of 5:  4 child friendly forks

Clean highchairs available? Yes
Pram access? Yes.
Kids' menu? No, but plenty on the main menu suitable for children.
Play area? No.
Activities at the table? No
Room for kids to move around? Yes if indoors, but limited.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes
Prices? Very reasonable.  Latte was about $3.50, sandwiches start from about $6.90.

Milk at Windsor is the follow-on from the concept opening at Ashgrove.  The Windsor store replaced Cafe Mama which Mothers had been raving about for years as a way to have a coffee and let the kids have a play.  When Cafe Mama closed I know there were a lot of disappointed patrons.  Personally I thought the play area at Cafe Mama was so tiny and only suitable for one or two children at the most, which made it difficult. 

Milk is not trying to replace this concept, but it does provide a child friendly cafe option.  There is no play area or activities at the table, but the atmosphere is suited for children.  The decor is light and fresh and the food gives you that home-baked feeling.  The menu reminds me of the old style milk bars and I think they have tried to capture that nostalgic feeling throughout the store, while still maintaining a modern feel.  They offer some good kids options with fairy bread, sandwiches or "wicked" hot chips, as well as gorgeous mini cupcakes.  The drinks are great too for kids, with the traditional baby-cino or the old fashion malted milk.  The options become more decadent for adults with Baci hot chocolate, tiramasu affogato or an Irish cream latte.  I thought the menu for adults was also very good and reasonably priced.

The tables are spaced apart so children are not annoying other diners if they climb on and off their chair, and most of the people in there had children under 5, so everyone was very tolerant.  There is no need to book, but there are only 4 highchairs, so perhaps if you plan to go in a larger group it might be wise to ring ahead and have the highchairs set aside.

I would highly recommend this for Mums with bubs wanting to have a mid-week catch-up or an after school treat with their school age children.  It would be lovely for a family Sunday brekky too.  Very child friendly, even though it does not have the play area like its predecessor.  We will be back there.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Eating in style, and the kids still eat free....

Lagoon Restaurant
Ground Floor
Marriott Hotel
158 Ferny Ave, Surfers Paradise, 4217
T:  5592 6800

Rating out of 5:  4 child friendly forks

Clean highchairs available? Yes

Pram access? Yes but limited with split level areas.
Kids' menu? No, but it is a smorgasbord and a great range for kids.
Play area? No, but great pool area with caves to go walking after dinner.
Activities at the table? Yes, colouring in.
Room for kids to move around? Not really.  More so after dinner, around the pool area.
Child friendly atmosphere? Yes
Prices? Adult smorgasbord was $69, but the children ate for free.

This restaurant does not tick all the standard criteria above, but for other reasons I really liked the Lagoon Restaurant for a family dinner.  Mainly becasue it was fresh food for the children, and not deep fried, and it was great for the adults too.

We met some family for dinner at the Marriott on the Gold Coast.  We had a choice of the Japanese Teppanyaki where they cook the food in front of you, or the Seafood Smorgasbord.  We chose the latter.  Even though the Japanese option would have been entertaining for all ages, I was a bit concerned about the children reaching the hot grill.  So the decision was made - seafood.

Everything was well set up when we arrived, so there was no mucking around with seating arrangements.  I quickly got four plates happening and filled them with an array of salads, cold meats, a few prawns and some fish.  The kids loved it and sat happily tasting the different options on their plates.  The waitress also brought out some colouring activity packs which was great. 

Mike and I definitely enjoyed our meals with fresh oysters and prawns, salmon, whiting and fresh salads.  There are other choices besides seafood, but we decided to make the most of it.

We all had dessert together - the kids enjoyed ice cream and we indulged in some more decadent options.  It is a high end dinner option, with the adult meal costing $69 and the wine bar another $20.  But children 5 years and under eat free, and are not limited to nuggets and chips like so many other kids menus.  For a family of six (like us) this was actually a very reasonable option.  The other thing I really liked was that I could get food for the kids immediately and did not have to wait 20 minutes in between ordering and bringing the food out.

Afterwards we took the children on an "adventure walk" through the caves that surround the gorgeous pools at the resort.  So they got to run around and wear out, while we got to run off our desserts, or at least a mouthful.

This was a lovely treat that we would definitely do again, and I can highly recommend it to families. 

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Hogs Breath was a breath of child friendly fresh air!

Hogs Breath Indooroopilly
104 Coonan St
Indooroopilly, Brisbane
T: 3378 5533

Rating out of 5:  4 child friendly forks

Clean highchairs available?  Yes
Pram access? Yes
Kids' menu?  Yes
Play area?  No
Activities at the table?  Yes, colouring in.
Room for kids to move around?  Kind of, but would need to be supervised.
Child friendly atmosphere?  Yes
Prices?  Very reasonable and from Monday to Thursday the kids meals are free.

I have not been to Hogs Breath for years...probably my last visitation was pre-children in my early 20's while holidaying up at Mooloolaba with friends.  Hogs Breath at Indro is a bit hidden away.  It is located in the Coles Centre at Indooroopilly Junction and you have to park and catch the lift to the top to get to the restaurant.

I must say I was impressed.  The Manager welcomed us with excitement as we walked in with the 4 littlies...not a response we get regularly!  The three highchairs were set up for us promptly and colouring in activities were quickly delivered to the table.  The children's meals came out fast and were pretty big.  We were dining on a Tuesday evening, and from Monday to Thursday, kids meals are free.  So not only were they massives kids meals, we didn't even have to pay for them!  I am not sure if this was a temporary promotion, so make sure you ask when you book.  Our meals were not far behind which was great.  At least we could all eat together and not have to scoff our food down once the kids are restless and want to go home.  Our steaks were perfectly cooked and the sauce was delicious.

Included in the free kids meals was a lemonade and ice cream for dessert.  Once the children had finished dessert, the Manager brought over 4 helium balloons to take home.  So the children were in heaven - lemonade, colouring in, ice cream and now take-home balloons!  We all left happy!!  We will definitely be back.