A stay at home Mum who doesn't stay at home much; too many exciting things to be discovering in this city...
Published June 26th 2012
Tucked away in South Melbourne is a new edition to the child-friendly cafe posse. Now I'm not a frequenter of cafes with my little one. For starters I abhor coffee which, let's face it, is the main reason for visiting one. Secondly, said little one would much rather be running off his energy at a playground, or splashing about in a swimming pool than being forced to sit still and not get under anyone's feet.
However, there is a time and a place for all things, so the husband and I thought we would treat ourselves to a nice little lunch without having having to worry too much about what the offspring might be up to.
The play area at Cheeky Chinos is beautifully arranged and features state-of-the-art play equipment
Cheeky Chinos is probably best described as half play centre, half cafe. For those who shudder at the thought of a morning at a play centre, fear not. Cheeky Chinos is small, intimate and sparkly clean. You can sit down and enjoy a relaxing cuppa, whilst you watch your little one on the other side of the gate, having fun with some state-of-the-art play equipment (think trendy neutral colours and sensory, developmental toys), whilst a staff member ensures that all is running smoothly and none of the kids are beating up the others.
This little haven is a great idea and long overdue. It strikes a good balance between being a hip little eaterie and an entertainment venue for 0 - 5 year olds. Now for the downside. As you might expect in South Melbourne, it's a tad on the pricey side. For half an hour's play, you'll need to shell out $10 for one child ($15 for an hour), which is more than you'd pay at a regular play centre. Our only other observation was that the menu is quite limited. They do well with the kids' food (plenty of variety and healthy options), but the adults' menu is very limited. The Turkish bread sandwiches we had were delicious, but I would have loved something hot (think wedges, a pie or a big hot breakfast with hash browns and bacon) to sink my teeth into. Maybe I'm just not healthy enough...
The play area is designed for 0 - 5 year olds and our 3 year old was totally engaged by the equipment available
On the whole, we had a very enjoyable experience. We literally had to drag our son away from the play area when his time was up, he was enjoying himself so much. Plus my husband and I were able to read the weekend papers and magazines in peace, which is rare. We won't be making regular trips to Cheeky Chinos as it's quite a trek from our house and pretty expensive, but as an occasional treat, it's made it onto our list of places to go.