HOT: Carolina, 11 Nicholson St, East Brunswick

by Jetsetting Joyce on February 3, 2012 · 1 comment

in Child-friendly restaurants and cafes,Melbourne - north



Features:

  • high chairs (coming soon);
  • pram access (from rear);
  • outdoor area including sandpit and toys;
  • disabled toilets with pram access;
  • kids menu; and
  • kid-fri
    endly standard menu  (half serves).

Carolina is a new cafe in East Brunswick which I’m sure will become very popular with the pram-pushing set in the inner north.

What was a former Italian shoe store called ‘Invicta’ has been transformed into a casual cafe with all the right elements to appeal to parents and little people. The owners have kept the shop’s original gold decal on the window so look out for the tiny curbside blackboard pointing you in the right direction.

In the front small room there are a smattering of tables, a high-walled bar and cosy wooden booths lining up one side. There are cute knick-knacks dotted around, including antique shoe moulds harking back to the premises’ original purpose.

If you are wielding a pram walk down the corridor and you’ll find yourself in a gorgeous courtyard with a backdrop of reclaimed wood. The spacious setting includes garden beds filled with herbs and vegetables, tangles of trellised vines and overhead, swathes of hessian that pull along wires to create shade where needed. In one corner, a clean little sandpit with toys!

If you have a pram (or come by bike via the Capital City bike trail) instead of entering via the main door I recommend that you take a left down the cobblestone laneway just before the entrance and go through the back gate. In the courtyard there’s plenty of space to park your pram.

Now, to the menu. The coffee comes from Seven Seeds and breakfast staples like eggs, muesli and French toast all make an appearance, but with a twist. For little people they have half-serves offer soft boiled egg and dippers ($6), cinnamon sugar toast ($5) and best of all, half-serves of all the dishes where possible.

I tried a half-serve of housemade fruit brioche toasted with poached peaches, a squiggle of orange blossom spiced syrup, a large dollop of marscapone and fresh mint ($6.50 for half, $13 for whole). The bread was quite dense, all the better to soak up the syrup which I would have liked more of. The mint was a welcome addition to a reasonably rich dish.

From the lunch menu, which starts at 11am, I chose the Tunisian-style brik pastry rolls filled with mozzarella, basil and pinenuts ($14). This was served with some summery ratatouille, the slight sharpness an effective foil for the cheesy, nutty, finger-licking oily pastries. I hope that in future they might let you choose one of their wholefood salads as an accompaniment – I particularly liked the sound of organic quinoa, roast pumpkin, apple, snowpeas and tamari pepitas ($9).

There is lots to like about Carolina – both the breakfast and lunch menus are wholesome and inventive, the service is friendly and the setting is wonderful. I’ll be back, pushing my pram through the back gate.

For other kid-friendly cafes near the Capital City bike trail, try Farm Cafe or Small Block.

Carolina, 11 Nicholson St, East Brunswick
Tue-Fri 7.30am-11pm
Sat-Sun 8.30am-11pm


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