I needed to find a restaurant that would open at the kid-friendly hour of 5pm. Trust me, there's not that many. Once you exclude fast food restaurants, your options are limited, so I was glad to see that Clancy's Fish Pub in City Beach was open all afternoon from midday to late, and more importantly – the kitchen was open all day too.
It was a special date night for my four year old and myself so it was essential that there was a kids menu available. At Clancy's it's small (three choices all $10) and I find it hilarious and a bit disturbing that it's not just labelled the kids menu, but it's for 'kids and grandparents'.
My daughter attempting the not-very-kid-friendly iced chocolate
The choices are battered fish and chips, penne pasta with tomato and cheese and shepherd's pie. I had promised my daughter fish and chips (seems weird not to, considering where we were) and as soon as we were seated I asked them to start preparing her dinner so it had ample time to cool down.
Then I tried to order her a milkshake. I totally get that it's a pub and they have a great range of local and Australian craft beers, but I was told there were no milkshakes. My four year old looked devastated before our waitress quickly told us that there was an iced chocolate ($6). She brightened immediately.
You know that phrase 'death by chocolate'? That applies here. My daughter could only have a couple of mouthfuls before she admitted defeat and said it was 'too chocolately'. I finished it myself, but it took half an hour. It was dessert in a glass. Very nice, but probably not for little kids.
Her kids' size serve of fish and chips ($10) arrived quickly and I was impressed with the quantity and appearance. The chips were beautifully cooked (no burnt or soggy ones), the fish was a decent size and it came with a little bowl of tomato sauce. It was too hot to eat straight away but she amused herself by looking at all the fish-related decorations hanging from every surface in the large, casual space.
I ordered the baked salmon ($35) which came with cauliflower and leek puree, cubes of cumin roast pumpkin, three grilled asparagus spears, and tomato salsa. Although the salmon was a tad overcooked the dish was tasty, and when compared to my daughter's dinner, it certainly made hers very good value.
Clancy's is a casual setting. They don't have bookings and you just have to turn up and try your luck. It's pretty big though and if you're eating at kid-friendly time, you won't have any difficulty getting a table. We weren't offered any smaller cutlery for my daughter, so she had to use the full-size stuff (who am I kidding? She just used her fingers) but you don't feel overly anxious about kids accidentally breaking expensive tablewear or glasses.
It is a pub so there is going to be adults drinking, but it's not actually a 'pub' pub, so you shouldn't be overly concerned about taking your children. The City Beach Clancy's has the added bonus of being right on the beautiful white beach, with a small playground and boundless sand dunes near by. We went for a bit of a run around after dinner, and even though the sun had set, it was still well lit and safe.
There's absolutely nothing between Clancy's and the beach
The dessert menu is also quite small, with only three choices (each $11) – a nutella cheesecake, bread and butter pudding and mille feuille. On hearing that mille feuille was basically pastry, cream and strawberries, that was an obvious choice for my daughter. The desserts are quite sophisticated for little kids – there is no vanilla icecream and topping available – but that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Clancy's is a great place for kids as it has a suitable and reasonably priced kids' menu, is casual and relaxed, and there is plenty on the walls (and outside the windows) to keep kids interested. The service was friendly, the food fresh and tasty and it arrived quickly. The lack of milkshakes was the only sore point for my daughter, who otherwise awarded the night a 9 out of 10.