As part of my trip back to the not-so-sunny South East, a couple of visits to Waterford were in order. Iâ€™ve got a lot of extended family who live in the city, and it is one of my favourite places in Ireland, having spent ,most of my teenage years spending any free time hanging out in the city, living in The Book Centre and having a lot of lunch breaks from work in the same cafe every single time with the same friends. Said cafe no longer exists sadly (RIP four euro chicken goujons and mashed potato), but it has been replaced by a wonderful cafe which is both adult and child friendly, No. 9 Barronstrand St, in Georges Court Shopping Centre. Iâ€™ve been in here once or twice but never with my own child until today, when myself and the Mammy decided weâ€™d treat ourselves to brunch. We were not disappointed.
Part of the charm of No. 9 Barronstrand St Cafe is just how child-friendly and family-centric it is, while retaining itâ€™s appearance as not being chaotic and zoo-like. As well as understanding and friendly staff who are well-equipped to deal with little people and their ever changing moods, there is a fantastic variety of foods aimed especially at the tiny humans, as well as a fantastic enclosed play area equipped with toy kitchens, bean bags, building blocks, a tv showing cartoons (today it was Frozen) and a host of other toys to entertain even the fussiest of children. The play area alone was what convinced me to give it a try today. E is of the age where he wonâ€™t just sit still while we eat; while heâ€™s getting better at patience, he does need to be kept constantly entertained. Having gotten used to his independence in creche recently, the play area is perfect for his age as he was able to play by himself and with other kids, while knowing we were within his sight (and him in ours of course). The play area is strictly unsupervised; itâ€™s up to parents to make sure their kids are alright, but that is fine by me as their seating arrangement allows you to see what the tiny people are up to while enjoying your coffee, something a lot of play cafes really do need to work on!
With E plonked into a highchair (clean, sturdy and easy to close â€“ this really shouldnâ€™t be something Iâ€™m impressed by but so many places hand over highchairs which are either caked with old food and require a deep clean before use, ones that look like theyâ€™re falling apart, or ones with so many straps and buckles that it requires a degree in engineering to close â€“ Iâ€™m looking at you Costa Coffee â€“ that it is definitely a novelty to have all three at hand), we took to the menus and were impressed at the range of food available not just to the adults but also the kids menu. My problem with a lot of places is the lack of choice available to the baby/kids menu â€“ normally youâ€™re left looking at either a baby bowl (potato with a rather salty soup poured over it) or some variety of nuggets/sausages and chips, not exactly super nutritious. Unlike anywhere else Iâ€™ve been,No. 9 Barronstrand St has the advantage of having its own range of fresh baby food with a wide menu geared at different age groups. Not a salty baby bowl to be seen; the Pip and Pear range which is also available in a lot of Super Valu and Aldi stores (though sadly not my local one!) is a mixture of dishes aimed at different stages of development. We ordered the Baby Beef Ragu from the Stage 3 range for E, which had big chunks in it but was easy for him to handle. For ourselves, we both decided weâ€™d go for the Eggs Benedict served with a Waterford Blaa â€“ mine without the sauce as Iâ€™m not a big fan.
E had just woken up before we arrived so wasnâ€™t really in the mood to eat while we were there â€“ he was more interested in checking out the toy kitchen, especially filling the kettle in the sink â€“ Iâ€™ll soon have him trained for making cups of tea while Iâ€™m blogging! The same could not be said for his mother and grandmother â€“ ours were devoured before I remembered to take a photo of the dishes! The poached egg and bacon on a blaa which was soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside was absolutely divine and was the perfect thing for my hungry tummy! I had initially said Iâ€™d share the blaa with E, but hey, you snooze you lose. Definitely up for trying that again, though the rest of the menu looks like itâ€™s worth sampling a few times too.
Given how much we liked our brunch, we decided to go all out and in celebration of my Mammyâ€™s birthday tomorrow (happy birthday!) dessert was definitely required. Her favourite dessert in the world, Bread and Butter Pudding with custard, shone out like a beacon on the menu and I didnâ€™t take much convincing to choose the chocolate brownie after spotting the person opposite us trying it. This I did actually remember to photograph before devouring, but only just. The word decadent came to mind when I was eating it; soft and gooey but not too heavy, with vanilla ice-cream on top to add to the flavour. Who cares about a diet when your taste buds are having a party like that? Mam seemed quite impressed with her Bread and Butter Pudding as well â€“ especially the portion sizes, which definitely werenâ€™t intended to be not shared! For the sizes of the desserts we received, I would have expected a higher price, so as well as satisfying my very sweet tooth and ruining any ambition of my diet, it didnâ€™t dent the pocket too much.
As E hadnâ€™t eaten very much of his dinner, I asked could it be wrapped up for later, which wasnâ€™t a problem at all. When we got home, I was really glad that I had done this, as he ate it with great vigour having worked up an appetite between running around in the play area, checking out the Next Sale and watching the Waterford-Dublin match (Go on Waterford, ye good things!). I think he might have enjoyed it, though you can judge for yourself in the picturesâ€¦
As far as cafÃ© lunches go, eating out with a toddler can be a bit of a trial, but I really did enjoy our visit to No. 9 Barronstrand St as I felt it catered really well to our needs. The staff were helpful and absolutely lovely, good customer service really does make a major difference. It didnâ€™t cost the earth and we were left very full and very happy â€“ what more can you ask for? This is exactly the kind of place Iâ€™d love to see popping up in Cork City, as there is definitely a gap in the market!
I will definitely be back!
Have you been to No. 9 Barronstrand St or any similar child-friendly eateries? What have you thought of the set up, and will you be back? Let me know in the comments below! (Also, if there is one in Cork, please let me know, Iâ€™ll be mad to try it out!)
This was not a sponsored post, Iâ€™ve not been asked by No. 9 Barronstrand St to do a review or to write lovely things â€“ I just think that when a business model is this good (and theyâ€™ve got brownies to die for), they should be supported, especially when itâ€™s a local business creating employment. All opinions (and photos, bar the one of the Eggs- thatâ€™s from their Facebook page) are my own.Â
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