Words & photos by Jessie Krieg
As a parent of 2 beautiful, albeit occasionally demonic, children, I have noticed a considerable shortage in the amount of coffee houses and eateries which caters to BOTH carers and children equally; places which understand the need for entertainment besides a colouring book and crayons and realises that raising small humans does not strip you of your tastebuds.
Why should I have to compromise on taste and quality just because my kids are happy ingesting anything that crawls past?! I’ve done extensive research these school holidays – painstakingly drinking coffee after coffee, eating meal after meal, dragging the cherubs along with me to give their professional perspective on the play provisions, and here’s what I’ve come up with in my top 3:
3. The Golden Fleece Hotel, Gawler
While this is not inclusive of a play area, the staff are incredibly friendly and and have done a brilliant job of compensating with their interactive kids menu, which doubles are a colouring in and puzzle sheet.
But wait – there’s more! Once meal orders have been placed, each child is given their very own cookie base and several pots of edible options to design and create their dessert masterpieces. And while the cookies are baked fresh in the oven, there’s plenty of room outdoors for your offspring to run and play within eyesight.
The regular menu isn’t anything to sneeze at either – the meals are large, filling and delicious, which an extensive range of weekly specials such as the T-Bone Tuesday, which delivers $15 T-bones served with chips, salad and your choice of sauce.
The cocktails list and selection of gluten free food is pretty exciting too!
2. The Jungle Restaurant, Kent Town Hotel
This one is exciting! It’s new and innovative and fun for everyone! It’s a wonderland for the senses and a literal playground for the kids (and the more adventurous adult). The Jungle Restaurant delivers exactly what it promises: a jungle.
Filled from the floor to the ceiling with vines, trees, leaves and a giant gorilla or two, it’s exciting from the moment you enter. You can choose to sit on the ground level and gaze up through the foliage, or settle yourself into one of the treetop tree houses nestled between the leaves.
The culinary experience, too, is an event. The Brazilian churrasco (BBQ) style catering sees your food being paraded around on large skewers and carved directly onto your plate. It’s a smorgasbord of meats, veggies and desserts that keep coming until you say otherwise! Also – the food is essentially healthy and lean and oh so delicious with TONNES of gluten free options!
I think the REAL reason I enjoyed this place so much, aside from its obvious aesthetic appeal, was that I barely saw the kids at all!! The restaurant didn’t include a playground, it IS a playground. The whole place is filled with hidden indoor slides for the kids to explore, and also has a hidden den jam packed with activities including the iPad retreat and, of course, colouring activities.
1. Wiggly Worms, Glenelg
I love this because it is entirely built for kids of all ages, but provides in abundance for the people who raise them. Obviously the ginormous play area speaks for itself – kids are entertained for hours on end.
What surprised me was the quality of the food on offer. No, this is not a restaurant and it’s clearly not designed to lure people WITHOUT kinder in tow, but for those of us seeking just a small amount of solitude with something good to eat – look no further.
My recommendation is to hit this place up for breakfast. The Scrambled eggs with wilted spinach and balsamic sautéed mushrooms is not to be missed. The coffee hits the nail on the head also. You can pick up a healthy (or not so healthy) kids meal + milkshake for $6.95, factor in that the wifi and reading material is free and you’re set for hours! Not to mention this place is located perfectly close to Glenelg beach and Jetty road, so it’s easy to swing past for an ice cream and a paddle in the water before and/or after your visit.
My absolute favourite thing about the locally owned/operated Wiggly Worms is their use of Local South Australian produce – the cafe features juices from Mountain Fresh and Sommer Naturals, and milk from Fleurieu Farm Fresh, just to name a few.
Thursday night is Pizza night, which means FREE ENTRY after 4:30pm and gourmet pizzas ranging from $10-$15 with a children’s menu also available. The centre also caters for birthday parties and other events and offers multi play discounts during school holidays. Physical activity, social interaction for the kids, cheap, healthy and delicious meals for both parties and free wifi? What’s not to like!?
So there you have it. Grab your keys, chuck the kids in the car and go forth to food and fun!