Child-friendly cafe with indoor playroom (and great food)
Mums (and dads and grandparents) listen up.
If you could have a decent cup of coffee and a really yummy muffin (or full breakfast), in a clean, attractive space, while watching your precious little ones play merrily in a glass walled playroom with a ball pit and climbing castle, indoors, with a toilet accessible, would you maybe pee a little with excitement?
Kids are welcome at Feast and it's not just lip service, they have their own playroom (glass walled so you can eat and watch but not hear)
That's not to say you have to bring a child to be welcome at Feast, because even though it is inherently child-friendly (they even leave enough space between tables for prams), it is welcoming to everyone. Don't forget there is a glass wall between you and the kids.
Opening in March 2014, Feast Café on Cambridge Street is exactly the type of place I wish was around a few years ago when I had my first baby. Everything is made fresh and onsite, and there are plenty of healthy options if you are being mindful of what you eat. They only use Five Senses coffee, and they say that if they can't make something onsite, then they will only use the best available.
We visited for breakfast on a cold winter morning. The café was quite busy, but there were still a few tables available. Service is friendly but limited: you need to collect your own glasses and jug of water, grab your own menu from the counter, and then head up to the register to place your order.
I think this is actually a clever piece of marketing, because when you are up at the register you are faced with an array of beautiful, home-made looking cakes, muffins and slices, all bundled in crisp white paper, sitting prettily on old glass cake stands. Go on, just try and not buy one.
The breakfast menu appeals to all types, including vegetarians and those who are gluten-free or vegetarian. The first thing I noticed was that the prices were always a dollar or two cheaper than comparable places in the surrounding area. It might not sound like much, but a dollar is a dollar.
Breakfast options include the granola trifle ($14.50) which comes layered with pumpkin seeds, hazelnuts, peanuts and sesame seeds, yoghurt, maple syrup and mixed berry compote. You can try French Toast with bacon ($17.50), breakfast bruschetta ($15.50) and the Big Feast ($20) which comes with eggs (your choice), sourdough, tomatoes, bacon, Elmars sausages, mushrooms and spinach.
I tried the Mexican Eggs ($17.50) which is rated as one of Feast customers' favourites. I can see why. Two slices of nice chewy toasted sourdough (no butter), came with two small but perfect poached eggs and an enormous serve of fresh salsa made with avocado, tomato and coriander. The menu didn't mention the red onion, of which there was quite a bit, but this was the ultimate in healthy eating (as far as I'm concerned) and I would order it again in a heartbeat.
My friend tried the Country Mushroom ($16.50) which was also rated as a favourite. Poached eggs came on toasted sourdough with three whole field mushrooms, two poached eggs, wilted spinach, a mix of parmesan and feta cheese and drizzled with hollandaise sauce. She said it was delicious.
Not only do they have their own room but kids also get their own menu with child size serves of favourites such as pancakes ($10.50), chocolate dipped fruits as well as their own full breakfast 'The Little Aussie Feast'($12.50), and interestingly a dish called 'egg on French toast' ($9.50) which is dinosaur shaped French toast, a fried egg, spinach and a chipolata. They also offer child size milkshakes and fresh juices ($4).
There are the usual range of hot drinks, juices and milkshakes (coffees are <$4) but we tried the Winter Warmer, an appropriately named concoction of fresh ginger, lemon, lime and mint ($3.80).
Lunches come from the large glass cabinet which is bursting with freshly made wraps and rolls as well as soups, casseroles, tagines, salads, tarts and curries. Most things are available for takeaway as well as dine in.
As Feast is open all day, you can drop in for a coffee (or tea) and a slice of one of those delicious cakes sitting temptingly by the counter. While it isn't big enough for a large mothers' group to come en masse with their sproglets, there is plenty of room for smaller groups and couples to come and enjoy what will certainly become a hotspot for parents who like to feel welcome with their children.