You could say we tasted the family-friendly side of Ballarat on a busy and fullfilling weekend recently, complete with great food, smiley service, a family-friendly environment and topped off with an ace pizza joint!
Here's our round-up of cafes and restaurants where you'll be happy laze and graze at...with kids in toe!
We'd never eaten at a pancake parlour before as i'd always envisioned lashings of syrup and whipped butter. Although they were present, the choice of breakfast options took me by surprise. Bacon and eggs (eggs done any way), eggs florentine, country breakfast, sweet options....the works!
The coffee was hot, mini milkshakes were devoured and the place was buzzing by the time we'd started eating. We grabbed a takeaway coffee for the road and were on our merry way...feeling very full.
Pram Access: A couple of stairs to navigate inside to the ground level
Where: 2 Grenville Street South Ballarat
Our first stop when we arrived from Melbourne to Ballarat was this cafe come homewares store.
Our table was reserved right by the separate kids room. How lucky were we! It's pretty rare to find a fully equipped separate kids room these days as most are tucked in a corner but this was a welcome relief after a long car journey for any child.
It was packed with toys, vintage wooden stools, an air hockey game and the colourful painted mural on the wall was pretty cool.
The menu was small; panini's, housemade sausage rolls, wraps, salads etc. but were all very good in size and taste (all about $15).
While Mama had a look (and purchase!) at the stylish homewares, Papa read the paper (rare!) with coffee in hand while the little ones played.
Take your pick with seating indoors or outdoors.
The toilet/change area is up the back. Just ask the staff for the key first.
Pram Access: Yes
Where: 809-811 Sturt Street Ballarat 3350
This was one of our families favourite lunch-time meals together.
It's spacious, there's a roaring fireplace (so needed in chilly Ballarat), service straight away, a vintage industrial fitout, high ceilings, a cool kids area and the friendly staff instantly got our seal of approval.
There's no set kids menu but this didn't seem to bother any of the numerous other families dining (and there were plenty) nor did it bother us. Give our kids a margherita any day and they'd gobble it down!
We ordered pizzas and a pumpkin salad to share complete with organic drinks - all delicious and made with quality ingredients.
The roomy kids area was at the back and complete with a huge blackboard and chalk galore, paper (the back of old drinks menus) to draw on and a vintage abacus with lots of little seats.
We couldn't fault The Forge Pizzeria. Now, if only there was one we could frequent in Melbourne!
Highchairs: Yes. Two danish handysitt highchairs available
Pram Access: Yes
Where: 14 Armstrong Street Nth Ballarat (they also have another Restaurant at 1771 Sturt Street Alfredton, 3350)
A boutique hotel in the heart of Ballarat's CBD. This is definitely not your average run of the mill bar/hotel, it's chic, modern and serves some mighty fine food and desserts to match.
A kids menu and crayons were immediately presented and our two chose their favourite, fish and chips ($8) - the portion couldn't have been better!
The grown-ups enjoyed salmon and crispy potatoes cooked to perfection. You could have had almost anything here. The highlight of the night had to be the desert. Anything from rhubarb and apple crumble, lemon tart, a gluten free option and the totally irressistable chocolate pudding with white chocolate sauce - still thinking of it now! Kids had old favourite; frog in the pond ($3.60).
Pram Access: A step up on entrance then a flat surface
Where: 18 Doveton Street South Ballarat, 3350
We'd like to thank Ballarat Regional Tourism for having our family explore, experience and eat our way around Ballarat. For more information visit Ballarat Regional Tourism to help plan your travels.