NSW Willoughby

no ordinary cafe – 83 Penshurst Street, Willoughby, Sydney

Well it’s called ‘no ordinary cafe’ for a couple of reasons.

It was a lovely autumn Friday afternoon here in Sydney. We hadn’t had any lunch so decided to check out a ‘kid-friendly’ cafe! And the choice of the day – no ordinary cafe.

Getting inside is simple enough, although mind you we did not have a stroller with us. Once inside the cafe, you can either take a couple of stairs or the ramp to the back of the restaurant to the kid-friendly area. From memory, the ramp is wide-ish but I doubt it would cater to side-by-side prams. Could be a tight squeeze for contemporary chunky prams, but there’s always the couple of steps to pull up instead. BTW, the ramp is a bit slippery if you’re not wearing rubber soled shoes – thing to note if you are carrying your little one.

What makes it kid-friendly?? There is a kids menu, great indoor small play area with a good selection of toys, and…… area for nappy changes (now this is the problem area).
Bub needed a nappy change so hubby set off to find the facilities. On the side of the little hallway, leading to the alfresco dining area, is the bathrooms and opposite is the baby change area. This is a portable change table, hidden by a black sheer curtain in the……….FOOD STORAGE AREA!!!!!!!!!

Yep!!! The freezer, fridge and general food storage area for this cafe is in the same space. And I mean, THE SAME SPACE!! The large chest freezer is literally up against the change table!!!! 
One positive thing is that if bub rolls off the change table to the right, at least she’ll fall on to the freezer instead of the longer drop to the floor.
But really!!! Changing pooey/wet nappies in the same area as where food is stored???????!!!!!!!
Really not good.

Another bad point – no nappy bin, or any bin close by the change table. If you and bub are patient, you can wait until one of the toilets on the opposite side of the hall is vacant and dispose of nappies in the bins contained within. AND……no hand-washing facilities!!!! Unless, again, you are able to wait for a vacant toilet where you are able to use the sink.

Will we go there again? Hmmm…………………….a very long think required here………….. probably not. Well, maybe just to take a couple of extra photos (we used the iPhone so the quality is not quite as sharp) so you can see exactly what I’m talking about.
Really though, unless you’re little one is toilet-trained I would not recommend taking babies or toddlers to this cafe. Yes, there is a great little playmat with a good range of toys to keep them from boredom and wanting to eat your food as well as their own. Honestly though……..the health issues raised by having the baby change table in the food storage area (without bin to dispose of nappies/wipes, or a single sink to wash your hands) – not worth it. 
Had me thinking twice about the food afterwards.

Now I have totally not even touched the topic of being able to feed your baby at this cafe! My apologies. If you are comfortable with feeding in public open areas, on wooden chairs, in a cafe setting, then go for it. Just note the furniture is not built for comfort. There is an outdoor dining area at the back of the cafe (walk past the food storage/nappy handling area) but on the day we were there it was frequented by those who like a cigarette with their food. Personally, not something I want to expose my child to. 

In short, if you’re not breastfeeding, and your little one is toilet-trained then definitely go to the no ordinary cafe. If you are breastfeeding, and/or your little one is not toilet-trained, then I’d suggest travelling to your nearest McDonalds (in the least anyway – at least the baby change facilities at McDonalds are AWAY from food storage areas).