I have lived in the Ryde area for just under 3 years. Not that long really, however, I thought I had found every child friendly venue worth visiting. Not so. Looking for somewhere local to go for a light lunch near a playground on Sunday, I was disappointed to find my venue of choice was closed. What a stroke of luck that turned out to be. After a bit of google-ing I found something I hadn't heard of before but, as usual, had driven past numerous times. And, what a find it was.
The Grounds Keeper Café, situated smack bang in the middle of picturesque Ryde Park, is a Mediterranean inspired café/restaurant with an open air, breezy feel to it. It even has water views courtesy of the pool and fountain. Jam packed with people when we arrived, albeit with no booking, we were relieved when they found us a table. Sitting alongside a great children's playground, it was easy to see why this place was popular with, but not limited to, families. It is possibly the most kid friendly restaurant I have ever been to and I will definitely be returning. Even my 4 year old loved both the café and playground.
For lunch we settled on the Lebanese Mezze Board for two which arrived with all the Middle Eastern favourites including dips, olives, marinated chicken, kibbi balls, felafel, haloumi and more than enough bread to go with. At $35 it was reasonably priced as well as tasty. For the kids you have 3 choices under $10, all the usual kid pleasers such as Penne Napolitana, Cheese Burger or Chicken Tenderloins with Chips. The lunch menu also features a variety of burgers, salads, sandwiches and wraps.
Their breakfast menu has loads of delicious things for big and small, boasting eggs from "happy" free range chickens and freshly picked produce. The kids breakfast starts at $6.50 and I saw some sensational looking freshly squeezed juices being made. They also do an assortment of yummy home made sweets and I am eager to go back for a Sunday Brunch sometime soon.
When day turns to night, if you fancy some indoor/outdoor dining, the dinner menu looks pretty enticing and is worth checking out. The grounds of Ryde Park are quite beautiful and, combined with having the playground right there, makes for a no stress dinner out with the kids. They can play while you finish your meal.
The terrace area is perfect for a private function
The Grounds Keeper Café is also a great place for a function. The day we visited, there was a private party on the "Terrace" side of the restaurant, which looks like a great space for a birthday or special event. They are not currently licenced for alcohol and I advise making a booking, especially on a weekend. For further information, please visit the website.
Awesome menu, lovely coffee, great tables, just really, really crowded on weekends and staff a bit frazzled as a result of so many orders. Be prepared for a bit of a wait for orders if you go on a Saturday and more so on Sunday.