There are plenty of cafes in Bondi, usually super busy, over run with tourists, and serving very average food. We discovered a new cafe recently called Paradise Road Diner, which is on its way to becoming a new local favourite breakfast and lunch spot, particularly for families.
The diner evokes the feel of 1950s America, with its vintage interiors and classic menu. Plenty of burgers, shakes and eggs your way – all at very affordable prices.
We ordered a classic cheese and tomato omelette ($16, served with a half ruby grapefruit), bagel with cream cheese ($6), and a classic chocolate shake, $6.
The food came quickly and was spot on. The perfect size for breakfast on our way down to the beach. The shake was truly a classic, served in a stainless steel cup for the small one. No gimmicks here, just really simple, good food and shakes.
The staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful, to us and all of the other families who were dining at the same time. Crayons were brought for toddlers to scribble with, furniture was moved to accommodate strollers, and welcoming smiles greeted every one at the door. The delicious food with no waiting, combined with the staffs’ welcoming attitude, ensured we will be back again soon.
The Sofitel Hotel prides itself on being Sydney’s Hotel of the Arts. As such it presents an Archibald inspired High Tea at the same time as the Archibald exhibition is on display at the nearby Art Gallery of New South Wales. While the high tea is over (today, September 27th, was the last day), the Sofitel has a Wentworth High Tea available all year round.
The basic high tea starts at $49pp, including savouries and sweets and your choice of tea ($59 with a glass of sparkling wine) and a ticket to the Archibald Prize at the Art Gallery of New South Wales.
Chef of Sofitel Sydney Wentworth, Boris Cuzon, created an amazing replica of last year’s masterpiece, a portrait of champion snowboarder Torah Bright, by artist Zoe Young, on decadent white chocolate, as the centerpiece of each platter.
The platters were arranged very differently from a regular tiered high tea. The sweets and savouries were arranged artistically on a piece piece of slate, and placed on a tripod-like stand.
Opera cake “splash”
Mini pastel macarons
Gold framed apple “tarte fine”
Scone, cream and homemade jam
White chocolate painting
Egg & herb sandwich
Roasted beef and tomato mini baguette
Chicken and leek tartlet
Avocado, tomato, lettuce mini baguette (vegetarian option only)
Mixed vegetable sandwich (vegetarian option only)
The food was a great amount for lunch – I polished off the lot and didn’t feel ill from eating too much food. The desserts were so small that I didn’t feel like I had sugar overload at the end, either. The only weak spot I would suggest would be the scone – it was tiny and more like a biscuit than a big, fluffy scone.
The sandwiches were fresh and light, and I liked that I received my own extra vegetarian sandwich platter.
At $49 I thought the price was very reasonable. The only downside of our experience was the service. While very polite, we had to constantly flag down a server if we needed anything, like ordering the tea or asking for the cheque. We would have all loved our waters to be topped up and an offer for an additional tea or coffee.
I usually say that Bondi Beach is for tourists and avoid it like the plague. The massive crowds make me super frustrated and trying to find somewhere to park makes my husband homicidal. Bondi does, however, have a lot going for it – there’s a reason it’s the most popular beach in Sydney, after all. If you’re prepared to brave the crowds, you’re in for a bit of a treat.
You have two options – drive or catch the bus. Driving is faster and pretty easy, but parking is crazy, particularly on weekends. We’ve never not found somewhere to park, but it can often be a good 20 minutes walk from the beach. Catching the bus obviously means no parking, but the queues to catch the bus out of Bondi can get out of control. Either way, be prepared and allow lots of time on both ends.
Where to eat
This is always my first thought when I go basically anywhere: “What is there to eat?”. Bondi is full of great dining options, depending what you’re in the mood for.
Something fancy: Bills Bills has the most mazing ricotta hotcakes. They are also super kid friendly, but a bit on the pricer side. Read the full review here. Bills Bondi: 79 Hall St, Bondi Beach
Something fast: Harry’s Cafe de Wheels
Makers of delicious pies, this is my favourite option when we want to grab something and keep walking. Their pies with potato and mushy peas are legendary, and also make for a cheap lunch. Harry’s Cafe de Wheels: 2/152 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Something away from the crowds: Paradise Road Diner
This is a new place that just opened. They serve basic bagels, burgers and breakfast dishes, with old school milkshakes. Reasonable prices and far from the tourist crowd. The vibe is relaxed, the staff friendly and welcoming to small children. Paradise Road Diner: 296 Campbell Pde, North Bondi
Something with a view: Lamrock Cafe
Lamrock Cafe serves really solid breakfast and lunch meals with a killer view. They have a big menu with all the brekkie dishes you’d expect (think pancakes, eggs and “big breakfasts”). Friendly staff, a bit squishy and service can be a bit slow. The price you pay for breakfast with a view. Read the full review here. Lamrock Cafe: 72-76 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Something sweet: Gelato Messina
There are lots of choices for ice cream in Bondi, but our favourite is Gelato Messina for their busting-with-flavour inventive creations. A “tiny” scoop is the perfect size for kids ($4). My favourite flavours are Salted Caramel with White Chocolate Chip and Yogurt Berry. Gelato Messina: 6/61 Hall St, Bondi Beach
Where to swim
If you have older kids, head to the flagged section where the life guards are on patrol. Bondi gets big rips so it’s not safe to swim in the surf outside of this area.
Smaller kids will love splashing in the waves in the north end of the beach as they roll onto the shore. The area is partially protected by Ben Buckler headland, making the waves smaller. Kids can sit on the sand banks with small waves rolling up to their feet.
At the very north end of Bondi Beach is a free, outdoor children’s pool The graduated pool has no waves, so is very safe for children to swim. The shallow end is particularly great for young toddlers and preschoolers.
Where to play Bondi Beach Playground is right behind the beach promenade, giving it one of the best views of any playground in Sydney. It’s fenced and gated, with decent shade. Nearby is the Bondi Pavillion where you’ll find toilets and change tables.
Kids will also love climbing the rocks behind the Bondi Beach Children’s Pool, scooting up and down the promenade, and, if they’re either in strollers or strong enough to scoot or walk longer distances, attempt the Bondi to Bronte coastal walk(picture above of Tamarama Beach, along the walk). Note: the coastal walk has lots of stairs.
Enjoy your trip to Bondi! Where are you planning to visit now the weather is warming up?
A very happy birthday to me! I love to celebrate with high teas, so the family and I head to the Shangri La Hotel Lobby Lounge on this birthday to try their Traditional Afternoon Tea. The Traditional Afternoon Teas are priced at $42 pp, $52 pp with a flute of Chandon NV Brut and $65 pp with a flute of Perrier Jouet Brut Champagne. (They also offer a Wickedly Chocolate Afternoon Tea which I will try next time.)
The Lobby Lounge is a relaxing venue. Not as posh or filled with character as many of the other tea venues, but instead very laid back and relaxed, while still being chic. Afternoon tea here is a quiet, refined affair. Small groups gathered to sip tea and munch on treats – more of a sedate crowd than the large groups of hens and birthdays you often see at many afternoon teas.
There was a bit of a mix up with our reservation and they prepared one more afternoon tea than we needed. It was a bit confusing but they were extremely gracious about the mix up, and gave us the extra tea service anyway. Very kind.
Included in the tea is your choice of tea and coffee. I believe it’s not limited to just one tea or coffee as my parents both ordered one of each and we weren’t charged for the extra pots of tea. I appreciate little things like that, it makes the tea feel like good value rather than getting the bill and finding unexpected charges having added up.
Our afternoon teas arrived on large platters, very impressively displayed. My dad has some dietary requirements which they were more than happy to accomodate with zero fuss, and my afternoon tea was vegetarian – exactly the same as the Traditional Tea except for the sandwiches.
One of the main reasons I was so keen to try this afternoon tea is because I wanted to sample delights from the hand of renowned pastry chef, Anna Polyviou. I have to say, they did not disappoint.
The afternoon tea is served in 3 layers. Sweet on top, savoury in the middle, scones on the bottom.
Top layer: Sweet
Tropic-Anna: Coconut dacquise, white chocolate disc, coconut and Malibu crème, tropical fruit compote, popping mango pearls, baby coriander. This was one of my favourites. Light, citrusy with a hint of coconut. Amazing.
Carrot cake: Carrot cake rice bubble and hazelnut crunch layer, Apricot and carrot insert jelly, praline cremeux, caramel glaze, and yellow graffiti. Finished off with orange and milk chocolate discs. This is a dessert Polyviou is well known for, but as I’m not the biggest fan of carrot cake, I enjoyed the others more.
Rhubarb and Ginger Pudding: Rhubarb and ginger cake, whipped cream baby celery on top, custard sauce. My other favourite. Simple and so delicious.
Berry Me: Vanilla panna cotta, raspberry jelly, biscuit crumbs, mixed berries, meringue kisses, yoghurt and strawberry macaron, baby basil. A very delicious, creamy affair.
Middle layer: Savoury
Tart: Caramelised onion, goats cheese, tomato and baby basil salad. Delicious! The basil salad was unexpectedly cooked inside and was delicious.
Traditional Sandwiches: Roast pork, Vietnamese salad roll; Chicken and celery sandwich; Salmon, cucumber and cream cheese, salmon roe, sandwich.
I had vegetarian sandwiches instead. I’m not sure exactly what was in them, but they were light, with very fluffy, fresh bread, and light, tasty ingredients like sweet potato, cheese and cucumber. Really good.
Bottom level: Scones
Buttermilk and vanilla scones, Buttermilk and tea raisin scones, Clotted cream, Mixed berry jam. The scones were on the flat side, small and dense, rather than the large fluffy ones you often get in high teas. They still tasted great, but were more like an American biscuit than a traditional English scone. The jam was flavourful but a bit on the runny side, and the cream was thickly whipped.
I highly enjoyed the Traditional Afternoon Tea – in particular the surprising, innovative desserts. I will absolutely be back to try the Wickedly Chocolate Afternoon Tea next time.
As an inner city family, we spend a lot of time at Coogee Beach. It’s one of those hidden Sydney gems – not as popular as the biggies like Bondi or Manly, so it flies under the tourist radar. Today, as part of the Kidspot #ShareAustralia competition, I’m writing about our top three things to do at this gorgeous beach.
The Coogee vibe is laid-back, and the beach usually has far less bodies on it than the more famous ones. Given how stunningly beautiful Coogee Beach is, it’s surprising that it’s not swarming with sun-seekers all year-round.
Where to eat: Coogee Pavilion
We lunched at the newly renovated Coogee Pavilion. Their pizza is amazing and the Pavilion is filled with fun activities for kids, like the life-sized magnetic Scrabble board. (169 Dolphin Street, Coogee)
What to explore: The beach!
On the day we visited, there were free kite flying lessons on the beach, sponsored by the nearby Coogee Pavilion. Large sea-themed kites were set up on the beach and were as you’d expect, a magnet for all the children nearby. Friendly staff handed us a regular-sized kite on arrival and showed Cheese how to fly it. Within a few months she was off and running and her first kite was flying high.
Where to play: Coogee Beach Playground at Grant Reserve
A scenic stroll around the foreshore brought us to the Coogee Beach Playground at Grant Reserve (Beach st, Coogee).
This large playground includes climbing structures, slides, swings and more, set next to barbecues (perfect location for your next outdoor get together!) and nearby bathrooms.
After all the play, Cheese needed a rest, and actually fell asleep in the stroller as we walked along the boardwalk. Note to parents with kids who need to be strolled to sleep, this path, past the playground, is perfect for you.
This post was meant to have the top three things to do in Coogee, but I can’t leave out dessert …
The last stop on a Coogee day is always at Gelatissimo (1/258 Coogee Bay Rd, Coogee) for some really fine gelato and sorbet (my favourite is the Mango Sorbet).
Coogee is one of our favourite areas of Sydney. What’s yours?
The Langham Hotel has under gone a significant refurbishment, and is now lighter and brighter than ever before. The Palm Court at the London Langham Hotel is heralded as the birthplace of the traditional Afternoon Tea, so it has been on my list of “must-do” Sydney afternoon teas for a while.
Mother’s Day is always a good excuse for an indulgent high tea, and so it was the location for an elegant lunch (yes, even with my 30 year-old in tow) to celebrate, well, me!
The Palm Court at the Langham Hotel offers guests an exclusive afternoon tea experience with their new global partner, Wedgwood. The beautiful tea experience was heightened with the serving of Wedgwood specialty teas in tailor-made “Langham Rose” Wedgwood teaware.
Our server for the tea was lovely beyond belief. She offered our testy preschooler a hot chocolate and made it on the lukewarm side without being asked. Perfect not just for Cheese to drink straight away, but also in case of spills.
Since we visited on a weekday, it was a quiet seating. Our tea and then food were brought out quickly. I particularly enjoyed our server’s attention to detail through out the tea, ensuring that we were happy with everything and asking if there was anything more we could do for us. She also made an effort to engage with Cheese, and complimented us on how well behaved she was (lucky Cheese saved her tantrum for refusing to wash her hands in the bathroom!).
With one vegetarian and one regular diner, our platters looked exceptionally pretty with the added variety.
Starting with the savoury, I loved the pumpkin tart the best. It was just a delicious morsel of pumpkin and pastry with nuts for garnish. Next was the corn and avocado cornet (delicious) and the sandwiches. The sandwiches were sadly the only part of the high tea that I wasn’t happy with. All three were a kind of vegetable medley – it would have been nice to have a bit of variety like an egg salad, or cucumber. The bread was also kind of on the dry side and god stuck in my mouth. The fillings were fresh and flavoursome however.
The scones were my favourite part of the tea, along with the pumpkin tart. They were freshly made that day (not warm, but obviously not made long ago) and came with the most delicious strawberry jam and cream.
Desserts included a pannacotta with lychee, blueberry tart, sesame macaron and a kind of pistachio cake. My favourite was the blueberry tart, which was nice and tart rather than sickeningly sweet. I wasn’t a fan of the macaron as I don’t like sesame flavour in general, but Alec really enjoyed his. The panacotta was creamy and light, and the cake a dense chocolaty way to finish.
At Tartine in Mascot, the humble jaffle sanga is being elevated to new heights. “Tartine” literally means “open sandwich” and at this cafe, you will not just enjoy tartines with amazing toppings like double smoked leg ham, provolone, chives on sourdough, you can also indulge in a delicious jaffle, unlike any you’ve likely ever had before.
Chef and co-owner Anthony Telford has brought the French open sandwich to Sydney, along with his partner Amy Kirchhoff, who’s the creative behind the interior.
The food is simple and reasonably priced, with every item on the menu is under $10. The tartines are beautifully presented on Brasserie bread, which is one of our favourite local breads. Jaffles are stuffed with combinations like heirloom tomato, buffalo mozzarella, or even dessert options like nutella, banana and marshmallows.
Families are extremely welcome at Tartine, and we did see several babies and toddlers having lunch at the same time that we visited. There is plenty of outdoor seating, which is particularly good for strollers, and a large lounge area that can also accommodate a stroller.
We started with an English Breakfast Tea ($4.5 pot), Flat White ($3.50 small, $4 large), Hot Cocoa ($4).
When i asked for the hot chocolate for Cheese, the waitress very helpfully let me know that she would make it lukewarm for her, which we all appreciated. It came out with the most adorable kitty face, making Cheese’s face in turn light up with joy.
Next up was the food: Vegemite, Feta, Avocado, Sourdough ($9.50), Cheese Jaffle ($8), Herbed Cottage Cheese, Tomato & Avocado ($9.9).
The jaffles and tartine were so delicious. Wonderful bread supporting fresh, flavoursome fillings. My avocado was the perfect ripeness, and the combination with the cheese and vegemite was heaven for my tastebuds.
Cheese devoured her jaffle, as did Alec his. We fought over who ate Cheese’s crusts.
We still had room for dessert, so ordered the Apricot and Frangipane Tart ($4) and a Coconut Tea Cake ($4).
The tart was delicious – light and fruity, with the perfect crust.
The tea cake was dense and moist – what Cheese didn’t want I finished off for her.
We loved this hidden gem in Mascot and will be back frequently for more jaffles and tartines.
I’ve written about how I love The Tea Cosy before. This adorable, family-owned cafe is tucked down in The Rocks. It’s well worth a visit for a quick scone and tea, or a larger afternoon tea like I had on this occasion.
Alec once again had the Ploughman’s Lunch ($15). We ordered Cheese the Kid’s Devonshire tea ($7, one plain scone, jam & cream and a babyccino) and I enjoyed the High Tea ($35 pp: sandwiches, 2 scones, 2 drinks and cakes).
The scones at The Tea Cosy are always the star of the meal. I think they are baked fresh all day, so the ones we had were the freshest scones I’ve ever had. The jam is sensational – such a big flavour in a tiny bite of jam.
I also loved the sandwiches – the bread was so fluffy and fresh that it almost melted in my mouth. The toppings were great – cream cheese and cucumber and curried egg. The egg was my favourite and I could have eaten even more.
The desserts were very simple – one lemon meringue tart and a berry friand muffin type of thing. I really liked having just the two pastries as I often find high teas a bit too sweet when they have the large tray of desserts. I must prefer to have more sandwiches and scones and only a few sweet things at the end. So this was basically my perfect high tea.
Cheese loved her fancy babyccino (it came with two marshmallows – one was eaten before I could snap the picture) and scone. She even ate it with jam this time.
I love The Tea Cosy and always want an excuse to get back down to The Rocks so I can indulge in more scones, yet again.
Highchairs: Yes. Stroller storage: Minimal – it’s a very small space. Easy access: Small steps in, narrow corridors. Change tables: No. Kids’ menu: Yes.
The Tea Cosy
33 George Street,
The Rocks NSW 2000
Phone: (02) 9247 4955
Hours: Mon, Wed-Fri 10am-4pm, Tues closed, Sat & Sun 9:30am-5pm Get Directions
Rainy days in Sydney just destroy me. Especially when the rain has set in for weeks and we are all getting a serious case of cabin fever. On one such rainy day we head over to the Macquarie Centre for lunch and shopping (along with half of Sydney, it seemed). After the stress of finding a car park was over, we head straight to The Vogue Cafe for lunch.
The Vogue Cafe is such an interesting little palce. It sits inside the shopping centre, and even has a seating area that is pretty much in the car park, but it’s an adorable, whimsical place, and it’s hard to remember that you’re actually in a shopping centre.
The staff are all very sweet and assure me that they are very kid-friendly. There are a lot of families having lunch when we arrive, as well as lots of young couples who are possibly big kids at heart.
The Vogue Cafe feels a bit like something out of Wonderland. While the menu is pretty straightforward, they are known for their fantastical shakes. Called “Magical Milkshakes”, they are topped with things like whipped cream, rice bubbles, pop corn and jelly snakes, with a chocolate and sprinkles rim. The weekly specials are even fancier.
The cafe is popular and we have to wait about 10 minutes for a table. The service is fast, and after we order, everything starts to arrive quickly. The kids milkshake arrives first, which is perfect for wriggly kids.
We ordered the TVC Mix Up (scrambled eggs tossed with feta and basil, served with soy and linseed toast, $12.50), sides of grilled tomato ($2) and avocado ($2), Benny Dict (salmon, two poached eggs, hollandaise sauce, chives, served in chiabatta bread, $16.50), BEB (egg and bacon baguette served with BBQ sauce ($8), Kids Sourdough Soldiers (with vegemite, $4), Hot Chips ($7), Kids Magic Milkshake (chocolate, $4), Magic Milkshakes (vanilla and strawberry, $7 each), Nutella Milkshake (8).
The food is great. While they are known for their milkshakes, their food is really delicious and also very well priced. My eggs are a huge serving that I can’t finish. Probably because I also drank that giant Nutella milkshake first.
The Nutella milkshake is what The Vogue Cafe is well known for, and it did not disappoint. The milkshake was creamy and delicious, and I really enjoyed the quirky waffle cone filled with gummy snakes on top.
We were sitting right next to this area with little stools and a tree, which was perfect for entertaining Cheese when she got bored and we weren’t finished eating.
The Vogue Cafe is a great dining outing, even if you’re not planning on shopping at the Macquarie Centre.
I’ve been dining at Davo’s Trattoria with my family for years. It’s been the one constantly good restaurant in the neighborhood where I grew up, and we’ve been dining at Davo’s for celebratory events since it opened in 1990. This was my first visit with a child, and, as always, Davo’s was a delicious and delightful experience.
The food at Davo’s is really solid Italian cuisine. I always have the Gnocchi Napoletana ($15.90 for an entree serving is plenty for me). We also ordered Garlic Bread ($3.50, serves four), Potato Fries ($6.50), Lasagne di Casa ($20.90), Atlantic Salmon ($29.90, served on a bed of sweet potato mash and with baby bok choi and marinated cherry tomatoes finished with honey glaze) and the Black Angus Eye Fillet ($33.90).
The staff couldn’t have been more welcoming and accommodating to our wriggly toddler. We especially appreciated the crayons to draw on the paper table cloth with. Tracing outlines of everyone’s hands is endless fun (or, at least, fun until dessert arrives).
We always order dessert at Davo’s. I usually have the Chocolate Mousse, which is perfection, but this time I tried the Trio of Pavlovas, of which I wasn’t a fan – they were more like merangues than pavlovas. We also ordered the Kid’s Ice Cream with chocolate topping, Tiramisu (my dad’s all-time fave), a tropical sorbet and tropical panna cotta. The rest of the desserts were all delicious – next time I’ll order my old favourite!
Last Bite: Davo’s serves delicious Italian food that has been pleasing local families for many a year.