Is this MasterChef’s next judge? With all the posey stylings of a Matt Preston, the table manners of a George Calombaris and the appetite for sweets of a Gary Mehigan, I think Jarvis just might have what it takes.
In the last week, we’ve been out for breakfast twice. A record since Jarvis arrived. Breakfast is my favourite meal to have out. Especially now, with lunch often falling into the nap time gap and dinner having to be eaten early before the bedtime routine takes over and grumpiness descends.
Saturday we went as a family to Elixir Cafe at Stafford, a cute little family run place attached to a coffee roasting house tucked away in an industrial street. We’ve been a couple of times for a coffee and sat outside, but on this rainy morn we opted for a table inside. I’ve always been struck at just how friendly the staff here are, there are wall to wall smiles from the barista through to the wait staff and everyone says hello. It’s not until you experience such a welcome that you realise how rare it’s become.
We were asked straight away if we’d like a high chair for Jarvis and once we ordered at the counter, the meals and coffees arrived swiftly. Banana bread for Jarvis, scrambled and bacon for me and a bacon & egg focaccia for Ad. All got the thumbs up. And the coffees were superb. Despite already having some porridge, Jarvis made fast work of the entire piece of banana bread and enjoyed staring up at the television mounted on the wall playing Rage. It was so enjoyable sitting and eating as a family, surrounded by others doing the same. The family with teenage children at the big table in front of us, and another little family of three sitting on the couch in the corner, a baby ‘cino whisked across to the little girl.
Yesterday, it was the first sunny day in about a week and after Jarvis had only a tiny sleep and hearing my own belly growling, I decided we’d get out and enjoy the weather and dabble again in cafe society. This time just the two of us.
We headed to Milk Cafe at Ashgrove, a bright and sunny cafe that is right next to our local Woolies. It’s a modern take on the old milk bars, quickly becoming famous for its milkshakes and old fashioned service. Although I’d tried lunch and their cake selection before, I’d yet to try the breakfast and had been meaning to for some time.
There is a breakfast dish on the menu from almost every corner of the world. I ordered a mediterranean breakfast (toasted pumpkin bread with grilled zucchini, pumpkin, capsicum and haloumi) and a capuccino for me and a Jamaican breakfast for Jarvis (sounds very exotic, but it is banana bread, honey on the side and optional ricotta) and made for an outside table, ikea high chair in hand.
Again, the service was quick and friendly and the food delicious. My breakfast was light and tasty – just what I was hoping for – and again Jarvis ate the entire piece of banana bread, save for the dropped crumbs which were eagerly cleaned up by a local pigeon.
Eating out is something I aim to do more often now Jarvis is at the age where he can share our meals and enjoy sitting up at the table, watching us and the passers by. I know I’ll be frequenting these places as they tick all my family friendly eating boxes: fast and friendly service, good variety of fresh and tasty food for parents and kids, reasonable prices and a welcoming atmosphere. But having said that I’m also keen to get out and find more child friendly dining experiences.
So, over to you … what do you look for when eating out with children? What are your favourite places to go and have you ever felt unwelcome when dining with your kids?