Highchairs, change tables, pram access, kid-friendly food, staff who don’t roll their eyes at spilt babycinos ... a lot of factors go into a successful breakfast outing with children.
We've put together a city-spanning list of the Melbourne cafes that tick these boxes while providing a pleasant outing for parents.
Two words: green pancakes. If the fluorescent pandan pancakes here don’t get your kids excited for breakfast, we don’t know what will. When designing the recently opened District North, owner Andrew D’Aprano asked for four things – “white, timber, a compelling bar and room for prams” – and that’s exactly what it’s got. There’s a chalkboard to keep the kids entertained and pencil cases branded with “District Kids” are given as presents to take home and bring back on future visits. D’Aprano says, “the kids have the biggest say when they go out, so we want to make sure they’re happy”.
Mon to Sat 7.30am–4pm
Here we have a culinary chameleon. During the day, it’s a family-friendly spot serving wholesome yet interesting dishes, and at night it’s a warm neighbourhood bar. The kids menu is accommodating, with ham-and-cheese toasties sans crusts as an option. There are more substantial dishes for the parents, such as roasted portobello mushrooms served with pickled king-brown mushrooms, goats-cheese croquettes and rocket, topped with a poached egg. It's on a bike path and there's a playground just out the back door.
Mon to Sun 7am–11pm
Birdie Num Nums
Owner Christopher Vivian has created a space that serves quality food and drink, and has a spacious play area out the back with a sandpit and toys. The large menu caters to all: the kids section has pasta, chicken nuggets and berry pancakes, while adults can try the Latkes & Lox (smoked salmon served alongside a potato rosti, poached eggs, chives yoghurt and baby capers) or the English Breakfast for a vegetarian or vegan option. Hearty lunch options, including a Thai-style calamari salad served with grilled haloumi and quinoa salad, can be eaten while your little ones finish their sandcastle.
Mon to Sun 8am–4pm
This cafe-slash-gelataria is a hit with kids (what ice-cream shop isn’t?) and their grown-up companions, with Sicilian-inspired breakfasts and lunches until 3pm, plus authentic gelato free of preservatives, artificial flavouring and commercial essences. Classic flavours such as the Dutch chocolate; banana; and strawberry gelato will serve kids well, while parents can experiment with seasonal varieties such as Iranian pistachio, Sri Lankan cinnamon and fior di latte. There’s a small courtyard out the back for sunny days and a spacious bathroom with a proper change table.
Tue to Sun 9am–10.30pm
Order a Bloody Mary with peace of mind that your children are safe. Alongside three variations of the Bloody Mary (vodka, gin or tequila), Miss Marmalade serves breakfast until 3pm. The rustic brick walls, recycled wood and flower arrangements scattered across the tables at the front of the cafe create a pleasant, relaxed atmosphere, while the family room at the rear is filled with toys, books and a chalkboard.
Mon to Fri 7am–4pm
Sat to Sun 8am–4pm
Eira Café Lounge Bar
A classic breakfast menu with pancakes and eggs-any-way runs until 3pm, and the babycinos are free. A tapas menu kicks off at 11am with options such as baked camembert served with crisp bread and cranberry jelly; and fiery coconut and chilli prawns from Byron Bay. There are toys to keep kids busy and plenty of highchairs are provided.
Mon & Tues 7.30am–5pm
Wed to Sat 7.30am–1am
The Stables of Como
At The Stables of Como, families can pre-order picnic baskets packed with sandwiches, ancient-grains salad and cupcakes. After picking it up from the cafe, head out to the lush surrounding gardens for a day in the park. The Stables of Como is located in Como House and Gardens in South Yarra, a 170-year-old historical landmark full of stories and adventures, and there’s plenty for kids to explore.
Mon to Sat 9am–5pm
The Little Village
The Little Village boasts a colourful, kid-sized “English village”, equipped with a hospital, boutique, fire station, tool shop, grocery store and a cake shop, plus copious toys to play pretend with. With the children occupied, parents can turn their attention to croissants, quiches and toasties, or a morning tea of cakes, muffins or a fresh-fruit smoothie. Entry is $6.50 for those aged 12 months and over, or $15 per family of three or more children.
Mon to Fri 9.30am–3.30pm
The Farm Cafe
Located on the banks of the Yarra within the Collingwood Children’s Farm, The Farm Cafe has a quaint countryside vibe to its largely outdoor dining area. Wandering chooks will keep the kids occupied, and the farm's pigs, sheep, goats and guinea pigs are all nearby. The seasonal menu offers wholesome dishes that complement the rustic feel, and the Abbotsford Convent Bakery is also nearby.
Mon to Sun 9am–4pm
The crew behind Lazerpig has carefully curated a one-stop shop with Mavis. Seven Seeds coffee; cold-pressed juices; Tielka’s organic tea; a wealth of vegetarian breakfast and lunch dishes; ready-made meals; house-made bread; fruit and vegetables; and there's boiled eggs with toast soldiers or pancakes with maple syrup for kids. Burn off some energy at the nearby Gahan Reserve and Yarra Trail.
Mon to Sat 8am–4pm
Cowderoy’s is a cafe crossed with a milk bar located near St Kilda’s Fitzroy Street. Parents and bubs can share a hearty bowl of porridge made with organic oats and topped with your choice of banana and cinnamon or rhubarb and roasted coconut, and kids can order Coco Pops or boiled eggs with soldiers. Kitchen staples such as bread and milk are sold if you need to pick up anything for home, and coffee is by Allpress. There’s also H R Johnson Reserve nearby if the kids need to run around.
Mon to Sat 7am–4.30pm
Habitots is a master of many crafts. It’s an all-in-one retail store, play area, school and party venue. There's technically no cafe, but instead a self-service area that has free plunger coffee, tea and hot chocolate, and allows for BYO meals and drinks. An indoor playroom is available when classes are not occurring, and there’s also a leafy backyard for activities. There’s no entry fee, but people are encouraged to make a gold-coin donation to Habitots’ chosen charities. The $5 themed discovery boxes, sold in the retail section at the front, are a hit with the kids.
Mon to Fri 9am–4pm
Sat & Sun 10am–4pm
Cubbyhouse Canteen serves breakfast and lunch daily, and early kids dinners on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. All staff members have experience working with children, and provide a safe and fun environment. Kids are encouraged to order their own food with options such as the Henny Penny (chicken-and-avocado sandwich), Slippery Dips (milkshakes) and Kermit the Frog (avocado on toast) available. The colourful bunting and floral wall paintings give the eatery a homey touch.
Mon to Thu 8am–5pm
Fri 8am– 4.30pm
The Hungry Peacock
For a daytrip with the family, or a pit stop on your way to the Peninsula, The Hungry Peacock is a top pick. The “Messy Shed” out the back hosts two activity sessions a day (9am and 11.15am). For $10, kids can get grubby with paint, glue, goo, water and mud. A sandpit, cubby house, indoor kids kitchen, “construction area” and tracks on the walls for kids to steer toy cars around will also provide hours of entertainment. Breakfast is served until 11.45am and lunch from 12pm to 3pm. There’s also a beer and wine list.
Tues to Fri 8am–4pm
Sat & Sun 9am–4pm
Leroy’s is located next to a playground (beside Bryan Martyn Oval). It’s also near Newport train station, making it easy to access via public transport, and is within walking distance of the Newport Maternal & Child Health Centre and the Newport Library. The cafe is divided into three sections: an inside dining area for adults without kids; a partially outside area with heaters, toddler-sized furniture and toys; and an outside play area equipped with a sandpit, blackboard, fake grass, hopscotch and toys. The menu includes ricotta buttermilk pancakes served with caramelised rhubarb, banana, blueberries, double cream and mixed seeds; Spanish-style baked eggs with baked beans, tomato, chilli, red peppers, chorizo, fetta and toast; and Green Lantern Soldiers (toast with avocado dip) for the children. Plastic cups and cutlery are available on request.
Mon to Sun 7am–4pm
At Pampered Mummies, you can enjoy hair and beauty treatments while children participate in staff-supervised activities. The cafe serves kids meals as well as sandwiches, light lunches, coffee and juices. Despite the name, treatments are available for both mums and dads and include waxing, massage, facials and haircuts.
Tue, Wed & Fri 8am–5pm
Thu 8am–7.30pm (For hair and beauty appointments)
Jason M Jones, the man behind The Stables of Como, Friends of Mine and Entrecôte, has recently opened Go West in the new display village of Woodlea. Go West is spacious and bright, with an adventure playground nearby. The menu includes colourful, seasonal brunch and lunch options with a Middle-Eastern feel. A small kids menu offers classics such as toast and sausage rolls. Look to the cabinets and display shelves for packets of granola, homemade jams, cakes and daily mixed salads that can be taken away.
Mon to Sun 8am–4pm
Open from 6am every day of the week, the light-filled and spacious Platform 117 is a hot spot for early risers. A breakfast and lunch menu with a Greek influence provides wholesome and homey dishes. The kids corner is equipped with a table, books, toys and colouring supplies, and has the warm feel of a domestic living room.
Mon to Sun 6am–4pm