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Cubbyhouse Canteen Kids & Coffee

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by Nadine Cresswell-Myatt (subscribe)
Freelance writer exploring Melbourne and beyond. If you enjoy the following article click on the Like button, Facebook it to your friends or subscribe. I'll update you with yummy and often free events. Like my photos? I instagram @redbagwilltravel
Published June 23rd 2012
Every suburb should have a community cafe like this one. It is not that it is flash or fancy. It is all about the way you are treated and because it is slap, bang right in the middle of a community park.

I'm a bit of a ring in. Hardly a local and with no children in tow. But I'm still treated royally.

Before I can utter the word "cappuccino" the young woman hands me a magazine.

It seem to be her way of saying "take a load off, sit back, relax."

With a review in mind there is no time to relax. I'm here because I've heard great things about this place so I'm furtively jotting down notes on my napkin for WeekendNotes.

Baby chino

First the menu. Nothing new here. But it's the names that appeal. Catchy phrases that would encourage kids to eat. I decide on a Henny Penny (a chicken and avocado sandwich), but could have settled for a Billy Goats Gruff (smashed goats cheese and avocado on toast) or a straight Kermit the Frog (avocado only) washed down with a glass of Fruit Loop (fresh watermelon and apples juice with ice.)

When my coffee comes it has a Tiny Teddy nestled on the saucer and my sandwich has a baby sized dish next to it with two grapes and a strawberry.

I know if I had little ones I'd be playing mother bird and popping that fruit right into their mouths.

If you haven't guessed by now this is a café that caters for parents with children.

It is run by Narelle and Bec Thompson, two sisters who have a background in early childhood development so they have thought of everything.

Off to the side of this converted tennis pavilion, is a little playground which is fenced and gated. You could sit outside on the decking and watch the kids play while you have your moments of coffee indulgence.

Your older children might like to play tennis. The courts are right in front of the café. You can hire courts from the Victorian Tennis Academy which shares the premises. I watch the tennis coach serving up strawberries and cream as a treat for his charges. They really know how to look after other people's kids here.

Inside the café the seating is mostly at a long central table, which would be great for parent groups.
Birthday party fare

The café also has a serving window to the outside park with steps for little kids to clamber up and place their orders. They really have thought of everything here including dainty little cupcakes.

With steps up for the little people

Another option is to purchase food to eat outside on the lawns and the café even provides picnic rugs for that purpose. Then they deliver your food.

On the way out I see the signage which says "Cubbyhouse Canteen - serving it up to the neighbourhood."

Apt slogan for an apt place.

Still further out I note the practice basketball ring and think about bringing my teenager here.

But at 17 he's past doing things with his Mum. Well at least things that don't involve my credit card.

I wish we'd had a neighbourhood cafe like this when he was growing up.

Cubbyhouse Canteen
Payment Options: Cash - MC - V - EFT
Transport available: Train
Parking: Free - 2 Hour

Breakfast is served til 11am and lunch till 3pm. They also do kids' dinners in take-away noodle boxes for a couple of nights a week with a rotating menu of items such as lasagne, fried rice with sticky chicken drummettes, spaghetti bolognese and shepherd's pie. There are also storytelling sessions every second Tuesday and face painting every second Saturday.

Victorian Tennis Academy which shares the premises. Courts cost $20 an hour and the phone number is 9509 0030

There is plenty to do in this park for all ages.
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Why? Because they look after parents and children here
When: Every day
Phone: 0421 173 886
Where: 43A Union St Armadale
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