Eating out with kids during the school holidays does not have to be a nightmare. Carla Grossetti has gone in search of six of the best family friendly restaurants in the Sutherland Shire.
Audley’s Dance Hall Cafe
Adventurous families mob this well-loved cafe over the school holidays because of its idyllic location overlooking the Hacking River. The cafe is housed in a building that dates back to the early settlement of Sydney and, on a beautiful day, you can get pulled piggy sangas to go and picnic on the grass down by the water. Another good bet is to hire a rowboat or a paddleboat and then enjoy mugs of hot chocolates all round. High chairs are available.
Cronulla’s Eat Burger, Jake Chalmers and Benchmark Burger & Oyster Co. have all had well-deserved attention from Sydney’s food writing fraternity. But travel outside of the 2230 postcode to Sylvania and you will find a little burger bar with big ambitions that has been flying under the radar. Take the kids to run a few laps around the Sylvania Athletics Track and then take them to Archie’s for the signature beef burger and bad boy fries.
Shire parents in the know have cottoned onto the Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday BYO vino nights as they are a wallet-friendly option for a midweek plate of pasta that – controversially, I know – may just be that bit better than what your mamma makes. The BYO options are also available for Friday and Saturday lunches so you can tip the bambinis out to play in the nearby park until their meal arrives. Give the $15 plate of spaghetti meatballs a twirl on a Tuesday night. Kids’ meals range from $10-$15.
Din Tai Fung
While the first Din Tai Fung opened in Taipei in 1972, the eateries are now dotted around the globe – from Taiwan to Thailand. Here, at Din Tai Fung it’s all about the dumplings. Pucker up for pork dumplings made with precision and steamed to order. Let the kids do some jumping before the dumplings at Sky Zone Miranda and then retreat to the fringes of Westfield Miranda for a few baskets of xiao long bao (soup-filled mouthfuls of goodness).
Take your children for a surf at the spot known as the Alley and then take them to Old Joe’s for lunch or dinner. As well as old-school pub grub, the vast and sprawling beachside hotel caters to the health-conscious with options such as char-grilled barramundi ($24.50) and sides of steamed greens ($6.50). The children’s meals include the usual suspects: chicken schnitzel, spaghetti and meatballs, cheese pizza and battered fish and chips (all $10). Get over the school holiday hump with Beats, Brews and Bites every Sunday from 1pm-4pm.
Parents love the fact they can catch their breath while the children head off to play in the sandpit until their meals arrive. Visiting the garden cafe is a proper grown-up pleasure. The fact that kids under the age of 12 are catered to with a big breaky for $9 or considered lunch box options such as chicken katsu and chips served with a Nudie popper and seasonal fruit for $12 makes dining here a delight. Book the kids in for an experimental art class and then have a wander around Wonder, an innovative exhibition aimed at the young of heart.
Do you have a favourite family friendly restaurant in the Shire? The Shire would love to hear about it. Email [email protected] #food #restaurantaustralia