Adventure, baby!

Emily Staresina

Emily is an intranet guru, passionate about organizing information to make it easier for others to find it. She’s brought organization to replace chaos at The National Archives of Canada, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Google, PricewaterhooseCoopers and most recently Stockland. Emily’s also a newish mum whose organized world flipped on its head with the arrival of her son, Baby Lukas.

The Grounds of Alexandria: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Alexandria, Sydney

The Grounds of Alexandria is about as kid-friendly a place to eat as you can get: in addition to its indoor dining, there’s a large outdoor garden area with lots of space for prams and careening toddlers. Oh and there’s a pig. Called Kevin Bacon.

The Grounds, as the locals affectionately call it, is an oasis in the inner city known for its coffee (they’ve got a research and testing facility on site) and sustainable food practices (they grow their own herbs and seasonal produce). It’s more a destination spot than just a restaurant, café and bakery. And did I mention they’ve got a pig? Kevin Bacon.

On a gorgeously sunny winter day, I ventured out with Baby Lukas to meet a friend for lunch at The Grounds.

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Baby Lukas has been known to nuclear react at this time of day, and The Grounds is perfect for this potential situation: the amazing rustic outdoor garden, nestled amongst produce grown for the café, means that screaming, misbehaving and bored children blend into the scenery instead of standing out. There are lots of nooks and crannies to explore, including a gym for kids. Oh, and did I mention the pig Kevin Bacon?

The Grounds of Alexandria: Kid-Friendly restaurants in Alexandria, via
Many places for kids to explore
The Grounds of Alexandria: Kid-Friendly restaurants in Alexandria, via
The divine outdoor garden

Once you get over the gorgeousness of the place, the takeaway menu (only available to those eating in the garden) presents mouth-watering options. On today’s outing, I chose a Chicken Burger with Chips, and I can’t recommend this unique burger enough. Don’t ask questions, just order it. You won’t be disappointed.

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Chicken burger and chips. You won’t regret it.

Baby Lukas kindly waited until I had shoved a few bites into my mouth before deciding to nuclear react, which is about when I played my trump card: off to visit Kevin Bacon. The pig. Needless to say, it worked a treat. Lukas was smitten and I was able to shove the rest of my delicious meal in my face. Happy ending indeed.

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The infamous Kevin Bacon. A hit with kids!

Now the one thing I would recommend is getting there early. The Grounds attracts the hordes, and even though the outdoor area is large enough to almost always find a place to sit, the queues for ordering food can be daunting.

Last bite: If you’re looking for a kid-friendly eatery and destination that offers more than just food and excellent coffee on the menu, The Grounds is the place to be.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: No. Lots for kids to eat off the menu, though!

The Grounds of Alexandria
Building 7A, N0.2 Huntley St
Alexandria, NSW 2015
Phone: (02) 9699 2225
Hours: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun 7:30am-4pm

The Chalkboard Cafe: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Waterloo, Sydney

The Chalkboard Cafe is a baby-friendly gem amongst the hectic café scene near the bustling Danks Street in Waterloo. Integrated into the home interiors stores featured in the PYD building, the café is a trendy place to brunch.

The Chalkboard Cafe: Kid-Friendly restaurants in Waterloo, via
The trendy interior, featuring furniture for sale

This afternoon my husband Lorin and I decided to take Baby Lukas there for a feed. Living quite literally around the corner from this baby-friendly find, we freehand-ported Baby Lukas, though the large space can fit multiple prams. In fact, it’s ideal for mothers groups for this very reason.

As soon as we got there, Baby Lukas required a nappy change (I think he planned it). There’s a change table on the second floor, which is a little cumbersome to get to but a set of stairs or a slow lift will assist.

Once Baby Lukas was sorted, we sat him down on a large square table (quite literally). The staff quickly offered us a highchair but were perfectly content if we just let him play on the table. Because let’s face it: Baby Lukas doesn’t do highchairs. Now, I should point out that this is very nice (naive?) of the staff because most of the furniture in the café is for sale from the stores in the building.

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Exhibit A: Baby Lukas on playing on the table

The menu has a great selection of all-day brunch items as well as sandwiches, salads and soups. I ate a delicious Crispy Chicken plate, comprising deep friend tenders with chili sauce, a tortilla and a side salad. Lorin scored a surprisingly Canadian affair of Brioche French Toast with bacon rashers, maple syrup and carmalised bananas. We were both pleased with our meals.

The Chalkboard Cafe: Kid-Friendly restaurants in Waterloo, via
The unusual but very tasty Crispy Chicken plate

While we ate, we were visited by several staff who kept Baby Lukas happily occupied. On cue, about five bites before I would consider my meal finished, Baby Lukas started fussing, his low-grade, pre-banshee warning siren.  Considering he hadn’t soiled or broken anything, it was high time to make an exit before he de-charmed the staff.

Last bite: If you’re looking for a baby-friendly café with lots of space for prams in the bustle that is trendy Danks Street in Waterloo, The Chalkboard Cafe is the go.

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: Yes.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: Yes.
Kids’ menu: No.

The Chalkboard Cafe
197 Young St
Waterloo, NSW 2017
Phone: (02) 9698 2553
Hours: Mon-Sat 7am-4pm, Thurs-Fri 5pm-9pm

Darley Street Bistro: Kid-Friendly Restaurants, Clovelly, Sydney

It’s that familiar weekend challenge: finding a kid-friendly restaurant that can accommodate a large group people, including kids ranging from 7 months to 5-years old, and not just a little bit of chaos.

On a decidedly spring-like autumn Saturday, our herd descended upon Darley Street Bistro in Clovelly to try our luck with lunch.

Darley Street Bistro - Kid-Friendly restaurants in Clovelly, via
Enjoying conversation at the adult end of the table

Now, lunch out with my 7-month-old son Baby Lukas is like a game of roulette: either he’ll be amazingly charming or he’ll be a screaming banshee before lunch is served.

Darley Street Bistro is a cozy affair, which is code for don’t bring a pram if you can do without one. Upon being seated at two long tables, we were given paper menus which the older kids immediately turned around to colour. Baby Lukas was stuffed (he’s got the chub) in a pristine-for-now high chair.

Like the place itself, the menu was smallish, with a handful of delicious pasta dishes and sandwiches. I chose the Southern Crispy Chicken Wrap. Some sort of secret-sauce-style zing really upped the ante on this little number. This is a must-order or a convince-your-partner/friend-to-order-and-eat-theirs.

The older kids all chose Fish and Chips from the kids menu, and I’m pretty sure that judging from the empty plates (and perhaps a sneaky bite) it was delicious.

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Digging into the fish and chips from the kids menu

Back in the high chair, Baby Lukas was flinging pureed goop all over the no-longer pristine high chair and anyone within hitting distance. He had also moved on from smiling at everyone to escalating shrieking, indicating that our time was running out.

Darley Street Bistro - Kid-Friendly restaurants in Clovelly, via
Baby Lukas eating the menu as a side to accompany his green goop

The ridiculously accommodating and non-fussed staff, realizing our plight, arranged for my husband and I to receive our food first so we could take off when needed.  Their kid-friendly approach to service really took the stress out of lunch so we could focus on, well, lunch.

Last bite: If you’re looking for a kid-friendly place that caters for larger groups and takes reservations, you can’t go wrong with Darley Street Bistro. We’ll certainly be back!

Highchairs: Yes.
Stroller storage: No.
Easy access: Yes.
Change tables: No.
Kids’ menu: Yes.

Darley Street Bistro
309 Clovelly Rd.
Clovelly, NSW 2031
Phone: (02) 8068 2182
Hours: Mon-Sun 12pm-3pm and 5:30pm-late

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