The Picnic at Burwood is a whimsical elevation of the humble outdoor dining experience. The outdoor cafe is located inside a pavillion in a park in Burwood, a few metres from a large, fenced in playground. The location is a big part of the appeal for families and has lead to its popularity among with parents who like great food, but who have small kids who like to swing on things.
Another drawcard is picnic-inspired design, with a white and yellow colour scheme and plenty of greenery through out the gazebo. It feels like al fresco dining in Europe, yet is a stones through from a huge Westfields, in the middle of suburban Sydney.
The Picnic doesn’t take bookings on weekends, so expect to wait around 30 minutes in peak times. Arrive early for a shorter wait time. We turned up at 10am, were told there would be a 15 minutes wait for our party of 3, but our table was ready five minutes later. Don’t be turned off by given a lengthy wait time – you’ll be put on their waitlist and send an SMS when your table is ready, meaning you can head up to the playground and let your kids run their steam off before their meal, which is a win in my book.
If you don’t fancy waiting at all, you can borrow a picnic rug and order food from the kiosk.
The menu is broken up into Breakfast (until 12pm) and Lunch (from 12pm). We are in time for brekkie and order the Pavlova Hotcake ($18.50, soft pancake with house made coconut crumble, berries, meringue, lemon curd, passionfruit cream and mango sorbet), Super Breakfast Bowl ($21.50, dukkah poached egg with quinoa tabouli, kale, avocado, shredded carrot, cucumber, pickled cabbage, edamame beans and sweet potato, served with organic sprouted bread), from the kids’ breakfast menu The Bear ($7, bear-shaped toast with banana and blueberries and your choice of peanut butter, butter, Nutella or Vegemite), Kids’ Size Classic Shake ($5, choice of chocolate, vanilla, strawberry or banana).
The husband orders a coffee, which takes the longest because it’s an incredibly busy coffee day, apparently, our server apologises profusely. It’s no matter because our food arrives quickly and the coffee arrives as a dessert for hubby to happily sip as our daughter is entertained by colouring in.
This cafe is an Instagram dream with it’s beautifully presented dishes and bright natural light. Thankfully the meals are not just pretty – they’re delicious. The food vanishes and the plates are clean. It’s thoughtfully designed not just for a pretty photo but to satisfy their diners’ hunger, too.
The Picnic ticks every box for us, and is sure to become one of our favourite cafes in Sydney.
The sleepy inner west suburb of Forest Lodge has been undergoing a massive development over the past year or so, particularly with a mass of apartment buildings going up around the Harold Park area. We’ve been driving past frequently watching the development spread and wondering what kinds of businesses would be opening nearby to services the burgeoning community.
The answer is the Tramsheds at Harold Park. The old Rozelle Tramway Depot, originally built in 1904, has been beautifully refurbished to create a place for locals in this growing area a place to meet, eat and fulfil other vital day-to-day needs.
While the Tramsheds was obviously built to satisfy the need for services in this area (where previously there has been none), it’s also a gorgeous destination for people all over Sydney to drive to and enjoy as an outing.
The building is home to a variety of businesses, the majority being food-related, but also including a medical centre, nail bar, hair salon and supermarket. There are grab-and-go type of outlets and seating areas that look a bit like an upmarket food court, as well as table service cafes and fancier restaurants. Something, really, for everyone.
When driving to the Tramsheds, be aware that if you park inside their parking lot it will cost you. Under 1 hour is $3, between 1 and 1.5 hours is $8. 1/5-2 hours is $13. A bit steep in my opinion, so we exited before taking a ticket and found street parking across the street – free for two hours.
Inside the Tramsheds you’ll notice a full-size restored tram as the centrepiece to the building. If you want to go inside, enter through the door for the Butcher and the Farmer cafe that is on the outside, next to the main entrance.
If your kid is particularly enamoured with the tram you can eat inside it on the tiny tables. We found the tram to be fantastic entertainment for our daughter while we waited the 20 minutes for our table in the cafe.
As we visited on the 2nd weekend after opening, I expected that it would be somewhat chaotic, and that it was. It felt to us like the staff are still finding their feet. I’m sure that in a few weeks they will have settled into a routine and the whole centre will be running smoothly.
We chose to dine at the Butcher & The Farmer mainly because it was next to the tram. The waitstaff seemed a bit overwhelmed at the large amount of people who had come to dine, but were friendly and helpful during our stay.
The breakfast menu we ordered from was on the small side, but had all the types of food we would regularly want to order – wholesome food with enough vegetarian options for me to choose from, and something plain for the fussy five-year-old. (It’s worth noting the adorable Splashlings toys that accompanied us – they’re so great for taking out dining.)
My husband and I both ordered the Avocado, Tomato & Meredith Sheep’s Feta (with basil on farmer’s toast, $16), plus a coffee for the hubbie ($3.5).
We ordered the little one the Poached Eggs (on farmer’s toast, $12) which they obligingly scrambled for her when we asked, plus a Blueberry, Strawberry & Raspberry Smoothie (with yoghurt and milk, $8).
The avocado on toast dishes hit the spot. Fresh soft bread, creamy avocado, tomatoes bursting with flavour. The coffee, according to my java-addicted spouse, was excellent, and he was thrilled with how large it was. Our daughter’s smoothie was similarly massive, so best shared between two. Her scrambled eggs were absolutely delicious – so good it’s a shame they’re not on the menu.
I did think the dishes were a tad bit expensive for what they were, however. Similar dishes cost a few dollars less in other up-market cafes in the inner west.
We strolled around the rest of the Tramsheds to check it out and were impressed with the various businesses we saw. At the moment, they include:
Middle Eastern spiced grilled meats, vegetables and exotic salads.
Belle’s Hot Chicken
Famous fiery chicken and natural wines from Australia and abroad.
Serving up simple and delicious Latin American and Spanish inspired tapas.
Boxing Works (gym)
Butcher and the Farmer
A paddock to plate restaurant, retail butchery and takeaway.
Takeaway coffee and pastries.
Chambers Cellars (bottle shop)
A new bakery, pizzeria and mill.
Fish and Co.
Connecting diners to the ocean, with a food story showcasing sustainable and local seafood.
Flour Eggs Pasta
Fresh authentic pasta made the original Italian way.
By The Little Marionette, the perfect place for your morning coffee or afternoon pick me up.
My fave gelato of all time. Choose from 35 flavours on their regular menu, plus 5 daily specials.
Harold Park Medical Centre
A family medical practice open 7 days a week for appointments or walk-in consultations.
An authentic Vietnamese restaurant.
Moe & Co. (hair salon)
My Donut Box
We love their Nutella-filled donuts.
Organic bulk foods, nuts, seeds and spices.
Osaka Trading Co.
A modern Japanese menu with a seafood focus.
An Old World England-themed bistro and brewery.
Local, market and farm fresh produce, a delicatessen and daily supermarket staples.
The Depot Nail Bar
One final note about the Tramsheds: they have the fanciest parents’ bathroom I’ve ever seen. It’s massive, clean and, dare I say it, almost elegant! An absolute winner for all the families.
The Tramsheds 1 Dalgal Way Forest Lodge, NSW 2037 Hours: Daily, 7am-late Phone: 02 8398 5695 Online: tramshedsharoldpark.com.au Get Directions Access: The building is fully accessible for wheelchairs and strollers. The path leading to the Tramsheds, however, has some steps on the footpath, so strollers and wheelchairs will need to go up the main road instead. The cafes we dined in had tables that were very close together so not suitable for wheelchairs or strollers. The rest of the Tramsheds, however, had wide spaces and seating that looked much more suitable.
Do you love donuts? Then get thee to the brand new Grumpy Donut store in Camperdown, opening 9am Saturday September 24th.
Grumpy’s began when husband wife, Scott and Elise Honeybrook, decided to launch a business together to bring quality, hand made donuts to Australia. The result has been a smash hit, with Sydney-siders clamoring for their massive yeast-raised donuts with fancy toppings.
I was invited to the grand opening of the store to check out the new place and try the donuts. While the Buttered Toast and Smores are favourites with Grumpy’s fans, I really loved the Pink Lemonade and whatever the pink one with sprinkles is called.
Light and fluffy with the perfect amount of sweet glaze, these donuts are just delicious.
Please note that the store is quite small and has very little seating. Your best bet is to get the donuts to go and eat them nearby.
The little inner west suburb of Summer Hill is often left out when one thinks of upmarket family cafe options. A lot of families, however, live in the area so it came of no surprise to hear about Envy Deli Cafe, an extremely kid-friendly cafe in the neighbourhood.
From the front, Envy looks like a regular cafe, but a closer look in the window reveals adorable teddy race car treats and tea cups made out of marshmallows. It’s a dead give away that they get a lot of local kids in here!
While there is seating in the front of the cafe, it’s the courtyard out the back with the massive jacaranda tree giving diners shade that is the prime seating area. While the courtyard can be accessed through the front of the cafe, it does have a very narrow door that might prevent strollers from entering. A few metres around the side there is a door leading directly into the courtyard.
While kids clearly rule at Envy, there are plenty of diners of all ages enjoying the gorgeous spring weather on the day we visit. A toy box, colouring books and tins of pencils are stashed near the bathroom for kids to grab and play with at the tables while awaiting their meal.
The kids meals are a bit light on the menu – just the one “kids breakfast” and a kid-sized version of the pancakes, but the three kiddos we are dining with are happy with the choices: The Kiddie Breakfast (1 scrambled egg, chipolata sausages and toast, $8.50) and Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes (with cinnamon ricotta and maple, and the blueberry swapped for strawberry, $10).
The adults order light lunches: The Roast Beetroot Salad (pear, fetta, crushed pistachios and cherry tomatoes, $16) and Smashed Avocado and Fetta on Toast ($9.50) with added roast tomato $4.
Our meals arrive quickly thanks to the friendly staff, who weave in and out of the tables, tree trunk and tiny guests darting to and from the toy box. It’s chaotic but in a contented way. There’s very little in the way of children wailing or whining thanks to so much entertainment to be had.
The food is delicious and quickly polished off, and we grab the kids, order kid-sized milkshakes to go in chocolate and strawberry, and head to the nearby playground on the far side of the shopping complex across the road.
With the playground gate safely locked behind us, we let the kids run off their milkshakes while we relax in the sun.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Minimal – bring a folding stroller and enter through the rear. Easy access: No – a step and narrow door in the front. Change tables: Yes. Kids’ menu: Yes.
A few weeks ago we stopped by Flour Drum in Newtown when we were looking at properties in the area. We were desperate for food to eat on the go, and were beyond delighted with the food Flour Drumm put together for us, including an egg and bacon roll that Mr Adventure devoured, and a yogurt parfait that they custom made for me, despite not being on the menu. They were so friendly and the food so good that we had been keen to get back there for a full meal every since.
Flour Drum’s motto is seasonal, simple and fresh. The decor is rustic with a side of hip, and the ambiance is warm and welcoming.
The menu is painted all over the walls, and includes all-day-breakfast and daily specials. They have a wide variety of meals, including plenty for this vegetarian to choose from. While there isn’t a designated kid’s menu, the team are happy to whip something up for little ones – in our case, it was a kid’s serving of scrambled eggs and toast.
Out the back is a little garden area filled with things for tiny guests to discover such as a pond with gold fish, a dollhouse, and a barbie campervan when we visited. The dollhouse is particularly interesting as it’s mounted on the wall rather than being on the ground. I looked it up online afterwards and read that the dollhouse was installed to appease a possible ghost of a young girl who’s spirit was said to visit the cafe.
We didn’t encounter any ghosts (I guess the dollhouse works!) but did enjoy the warm staff and delicious, wholesome food. Flour Drum sources ingredients from local suppliers including fresh eggs delivered straight from the farm, daily baked hand-made rustic breads, boutique artisan coffee, milk delivered directly from the farm and housemade muesli, jams, preserves, peanut butters and sauces.
The cafe is very kid-friendly – as well as being accessible for strollers and wheelchairs with disabled access, a disabled wash room, high chairs for babies and nappy change facilities.
During our visit we enjoyed Free Range Eggs with sourdough ($9), avocado ($5) and tomato relish ($5). The lovely waitress was a bit concerned I wouldn’t like the relish so gave me fresh tomato too, bless! Mr Adventure Enjoyed house-made Lasagna and iceberg lettuce salad which I think it making a comeback as the new popular lettuce on the block (move over, kale!).
Oh, and don’t forget the babyccinos – they’re FREE OF CHARGE and come in the cutest little smiley mug with a marshmallow. You can’t get more welcoming than that.
I knew we had stumbled on one of the best kid-friendly restaurants in Sydney when we were greeted with “the kids can draw on anything!” at the door by the very friendly staff at Little Tastes Cafe St Peters.
Inside the cafe is the much-lauded play area. It’s a great size with loads of toys, and the walls and tabletops are covered in chalk paint, so kids are literally welcome to draw on the walls. I’ve heard that on Saturdays the cafe hangs paper on the walls for kids to paint on, but we arrived on a quiet Thursday during the school holidays just after a massive group, and had the playroom all to ourselves.
Our friendly server let us know that babyccinos were on the house, officially making it the best deal in Sydney. They usually come with a marshmallow, but had had an unfortunate incident on the day we arrived that deprived our kids of their marshmallow. Not like they even noticed, however, they were having so much for playing that we had to beg them to sit down to eat. As an indication of how this compares to our usual cafe outings – if a babyccino arrives without a marshmallow, it’s usually met with a turned up lip and serious attitude.
The cafe serves all-day breakfast and simple burgers, rolls and salads. They have a great kids’ menu with items like toast with jam, toasted sandwiches, the “Big Bubba Breakfast” with eggs, bacon sausages and toast, “Eggs with Toast Soldiers” and a fruit salad. All of the kids’ meals are under $10, with cheapest being $3 for the toast with jam, peanut butter or Vegemite.
All of the meals at the cafe are reasonably priced, which is another massive plus in my book. We love eating out, and often with kids you end up needing to eat out even if you hadn’t planned to, so it can seriously add up to be very expensive, very fast. With prices like these, however, we will be dropping by all the time rather than just on special occasions. The meals for adults at Little Tastes range from $6 for an egg and bacon roll to $10 for the “Budget Brekkie” (two eggs, bacon or spinach, feta on thick toast) and $17 for the most expensive dish on the menu, the “Big Breakfast” (two eggs, bacon, sausage, mushrooms, haloumi, grilled tomato, toast).
We ordered toast with jam and a grilled cheese sandwich for the kids, and a SpanishOmelette ($14, three egg omelette with red onion, tomato, chorizo and paprika served with thick cut toast) and Smashed Pumpkin ($16, two eggs your way on a bed of smashed pumpkin and feta with bacon and tomato served with thick cut toast). They happily swapped my bacon for spinach which I appreciated too.
While we waited for the meals, the kids played and played and played. The kids’ meals arrived first, and they sat relatively peacefully at their table to eat. It was a bit of a wait for our meals, but with such a small cafe and only two staff members working there, it was understandable.
I really enjoyed my smashed pumpkin dish. It really hit the spot for me, and I loved the thick cut toast, plus the delicious pumpkin and feta. All of the dishes were very generous in portion size, too.
The bathroom is around the back of the cafe, and has a change table – hallelujah!
The cafe has both a fantastic and terrible location. It’s wonderful as it is right across the road from the massive Sydney Park, making it a great cafe to team up with a park visit. It’s also on a very busy road however, so keep a close eye on kids when you’re walking to the cafe. The cafe itself is quite small, so if you arrive on a busy day and need to sit outside, you’ll need to also keep a very close eye on little ones.
We loved our lunch at Little Tastes and can’t wait to go back.
“Curiouser and curiouser!” cried Alice, and also us, when we heard of a magical new cafe in Concord where, rumour had it, fairytales had been brought to life.
The Fairy And The Frog Creperie was opened in 2015 by couple Catherine and Guillaume (the “frog”), serving sweet and savoury crepes, old fashioned milkshakes and high tea, in an environment reminiscent of a Disney movie. Think “Alice in Wonderland” meets “Snow White” and you’ll get the gist.
While the cafe does not specifically cater to children, it’s become a very popular venue for parents to take their kids thanks to the whimsical world they’ve created in the tiny little space.
As a nod to kids who can’t get enough of the cafe, there is a private dining area for up to four children that can be reserved, and a delightful room out the back that can be hired for an extra special birthday party.
While the cafe usually serves authentic French crepes, I attended their first special event – a “Mad Hatter” themed tea party.
The special event was a bit on the pricey side for a high tea- adults were $60 and kids $45 – but I did think it was excellent value as not only was the food top notch (possibly my fave cupcakes ever), but there was also a roving Alice in Wonderland who chatted with the kids and then told them stories in the party room, gorgeous face painting and games.
I was super impressed by the food at the cafe. All of the high tea items were just delicious. As we sat down we were presented with scones and jam, the most gorgeous cupcakes (which were just incredible), home made iced coconut, a powerful fruit punch and tea.
After a while, out came delicious finger sandwiches, such as egg salad, cucumber and cream cheese, salmon etc, and then even more pastries.
Fruit tarts, banana tarts, chocolate eclairs, petit fours, oh my! It was an extravaganza of epic proportions and we were so full that we had to ask for containers to take the food home in to finish later.
After we ate, the kids were whisked into the back for story time, face painting, and some games. It was a time of blissful peace for the adults to eat and enjoy chatting.
I can’t recommend this gorgeous cafe highly enough. Yes the pricing is a bit steep, but the quality is excellent, and so much effort as gone into the details not just in the cafe but also the events, parties, menu, decor, that this really is a special venue worthy of a bit of a spurge for a special treat.
The cafe is starting to run monthly high tea events for families, so keep your eyes peeled on their Facebook page for updates.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: No. Easy access: Yes. Change tables: No. There is no bathroom in the cafe – please note that you will have use the bathroom in the cafe two doors down. Kids’ menu: No.
If you have a sweet tooth like me, then you might be similarly always on the hunt for the best dessert in Sydney.
I’ve been loving the Tella Ball shakes at Foodcraft Espresso & Bakery in Erskineville pretty hard since the Nutella-injected donuts perched on top of Nutella-flavoured milkshakes almost broke Instagram last year, so it was with great excitement that I heard the original creators of this delicious extravagance, Aki Daikos and Simon Kappatos, were opening a Tella Balls Dessert Bar in Dulwich Hill.
A photo posted by Tellaballsdessertbar (@tellaballsdessertbar) on
The Instagram pictures for the cafe have been killing me – particularly this gelato donut on a stick, which sells for $7. Sadly when I visited they didn’t have any for sale, but I guess that means there is a reason to go back next time?
There are no savoury dishes on the menu at the dessert bar – just sugar, sugar and more sugar. It is 100% a pure dessert bar.
As well as their signature Tell Balls and milkshakes, the dessert bar serves house-made gelato, Nutella layered lasagne, waffles, pancakes, and amazing sweets that feature Nutella heavily as a signature ingredient.
I visited on a week day before school let out to ensure we had a quiet dining experience. Even at midday on a Friday it was pretty busy, so I can imagine the cafe is a bit of a zoo on weekends.
My dining companion Jayne from Girl Tweets World and I ordered a few dishes to share between us. The Vanilla Tella Ball Shake with a Boston Custard Tella Ball on top ($10), the Ferraro Bowl (a smooth Ferraro Rocher mousse in a chocolate bowl served with vanilla bean gelato, $13), and the Ricotta and Blueberry Pancakes (2 stack buttermilk ricotta & blueberry pancakes topped with Canadian maple syrup and mascarpone, $16).
The vanilla shake was excellent, and the donut on top fluffy with a very tart custard inside. We were a bit regretful not to have ordered the Nutella one seeing as it’s the signature shake, but sometimes it’s good to brand out and try new things, right?
The Ferraro Bowl looked incredibly sweet, but surprisingly wasn’t. I really appreciated this, as even though I love all things chocolate, I can’t handle feeling ill after injecting myself full of dessert these days. I really particularly enjoyed the crisp chocolate shell with nut shards on it, and its pairing with the refreshing vanilla bean gelato.
I deliberately ordered the pancakes that did not have Nutella as I thought I couldn’t handle more chocolate after the Ferraro Bowl, and it was a good move when they were all on the table in front of us, with our dining companions looking on in … horror? awe? Who can tell!
The pancakes were excellent. Not super-fluffy, but a good size, and nicely soaked with maple syrup. I found the double serve of cheese a bit too much for me – I didn’t love the ricotta with this dish, and could have just done very nicely with the mascarpone and blueberries. I love fruit with my pancakes, so the huge amount of blueberries it was served with did me very nicely.
I would love to go back on another day to try more dishes from the menu. Tell me if you go and what you try.
This tiny little place, tucked away from busy Darling street, is one of the most kid-friendly cafes in Balmain. While their main game is coffee (check out their website, The Little Marionette for more details about their roasting business), they also have fantastic food and friendly, accomodating staff.
We noticed on our visit that most families were getting their coffee and food to go, and enjoying it in Gladstone Park across the road. We chose to dine in and enjoyed the surprisingly quiet dining area inside.
It’s pretty obvious that families are among the prime visitors to this little cafe from the outside. They have set up a challkboard wall and at any time of day you’ll see either kids creating a masterpiece on the wall and pavement, or evidence of the mini Picasso who had dined there perviously. It’s a genius move really, as parents can order their coffee or food to go while kids are happily occupied.
We ordered an In House Bircher Museli (with yoghurt and honey, small $7), pot of English Breakfast organic tea ($4), Breakfast Sandwich (fried eggs, bacon, spinach, fresh tomato and avocado topped with relish on Turkish toast, $12), a kid’s toasted Cheese Sandwich ($4), Babyccino ($1), flat white ($4).
The babyccino was a hit, with the takeaway cup and marshmallow perched on the straw. My bircher was delicious – very generous serve for a “small” size. Alec said repeatedly how delicious his sandwich was, so I think we have found our new regular cafe in Balmain.
Across the road from Marionette on Booth is Gladstone Park, where you will find large grassed areas under cover of trees, a large playground with climbing structures for kids of a wide age range, basketball courts and bathrooms.
Grandma’s Little Bakery is a kid-friendly cafe in Alexandria, serving up home-style cooking and baking in a cosy, friendly environment. Their concept is “bringing together flavours & loved recipes from real Grandmas & Grandpas from all over the world”, which I found very sweet.
As a result, their menu features dishes like their famous Shakshuka (2 eggs served on a hot pan, olive oil with added ingredients like feta or spinach, served w/ Bread), soups, salads, sandwiches, and an all-day breakfast menu.
This little cafe is a favourite with families because of its little play area inside. While it is really best suitable for toddlers, older kids were having a blast in there too.
We ordered the Unique Ricotta Pancakes (served with yogurt, strawberry & dressing with honey blossom sauce with a touch of nuts & seeds, $12.50), an iced chocolate, $5.50, and a kids’ fresh juice, $4.90.
The food wasn’t the fastest, but we were there on a busy day. We also found the staff to be a bit harried, but again, probably because it was a busy day.
The store part of the cafe features rows upon rows of jams, cookies and baked goods if you feel like taking something home for later.