Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Eat. @ CheekyChinos

145, Cecil Street, South Melbourne 3205 ph (03) 9077 6492

Regular readers of this blog will know that while I write about places to eat with kids,  I'm usually not a fan of kid-centric dining, where food and drink seem to come last on the list.  There's a time and place for heated up sausage rolls, cordial and giant slides and ball pits (ie/ birthday parties), but I don't really want to do that when we go out for our little dining out experiences. Cheekychinos in South Melbourne however, has opened up this type of dining for me with a fantastic twist that will no doubt attract parents with young kids (including myself!) for return visits over and over again.

Essentially Cheekychinos is a cool cafe, with an adjoining play area with 2 trained staff members looking after the kids at play, while you get to have your meal in (relative) peace.  It is situated on Cecil St, diagonally across the road from South Melbourne Market. 

There are less than a dozen tables in the dining area, and on the day we visited, the cafe was already full to the brim at 10:30am.  We were initially turned away and advised to come back later, as the play area was already full - I think they only allow 6 children in at the same time - and the tables were all taken.  I decided to start ordering anyway since there were a few spots at the bench facing the front window.  Luckily by the time I finished  putting in my orders a table was available, so we had morning tea and put our names down on the waiting list for the play area.

The menu offers food that you would expect from most of the nice inner suburb cafes, with a great selection of healthy options and gluten free fare.

Macaron Monster had fun picking a drink from their "Chino Art" menu, which is CheekyChinos' range of creative babycinos ($2).  Of course the one we chose on the day was the aptly named Rainbow Chino, which was covered in 100's and 1000's!  The range is quite interesting, from the Cosmic Chino, with cosmic wormhole, moon and star sprinkles and mini m&m's, to the rather new-age sounding Tranquil Chino, which is caffeine free chai froth, honey, cinnamon sprinkle with gingerbread man.

My mocha ($3.8) was very good, not your average coffee at a play centre!

I ordered The Gruffalo's Lunch ($9) for Bubs, which was shaved virginia ham, swiss cheese, crunchy veg sticks, hummus and apples slices.  I'm proud to say that Bubs has inherited my love for little courses of food served on a platter, and enjoyed his meal so much that he spent the whole time eating playing with the food!  The grapes and the currants were a nice touch I thought.

Macaron Monster fuelled up on an Angry Chook ($5), which is smashed egg on a toasted mini roll.  Cute, and pretty tasty!

While Macaron Monster played, I sat back and ate a mini lemon cheesecake.

So what about the play area?  It is lovely, clean, safe, colourful, and probably most appropriate for kids from crawlers to about 5 years old.  The design and colour scheme was very appealing and Macaron Monster had a ball. The staff were patient and lovely, and there were 2 of them looking after 6 kids.  It does cost $10 per child per 30 minutes ($15 for 60 minutes) but I think if you factor in most play centres charging $5-10 for unsupervised play it's not too bad.  

Being a baby friendly cafe means that it's also got a pretty clean and user-friendly baby change area.

Overall we had quite an enjoyable time at CheekyChinos.  I was impressed with the coffee and menu selections, and Macaron Monster obviously loved the play area.  The only issue I can foresee is that this place is way too popular for the number of tables it has to offer, so it might be difficult to find a spot during cafe peak-hour! 

CheekyChinos on Urbanspoon

Toilets - Yes
Highchairs - Yes, and in abundance!


  1. What a cute place! hehe Now I'm gonna start adding 100s and 1000s in my hot chocolate! :P

    1. Hahaha, my kids sprinkle 100s and 1000s on EVERYTHING :) Makes all food look extra-special!

  2. Love Cheekychinos, but it is on the pricey side. You should have gone to the side alley next to Cheekychinos to Dr. Dre .. You will love the pastries there .. it is really something very wonderful.

    1. Haha, Denise, I think you mean Che Dre rather than DR Dre :) We like it there too!

  3. Oh what a innovative way to cater for mums and kids! That mini cheesecake looks pretty good too :)

    1. It's refreshing to find a cafe with a play centre to actually have decent food and coffee! Thanks for visiting my blog Ames!

  4. Wow! I really need to borrow a kid so I can shamelessly come here too! This place looks fantastic. I've got a lot of friends with kids and will definitely recommend this to them, am sure they'd be so pleased with this. Definitely somewhere that makes both grown ups and kids happy. Have a good weekend, Winnie!

  5. Thanks Winston! It was very nice for us, and some relaxing to not have other people glare at me when I walked in with a pram :P Stay warm and hope you have a great weekend!

  6. Oh those hundreds and thousands in froth look super cute and so tempting! I'll have to give those a try sometime.