HOT: Aintree Cafe & Garden, Woodlea, Rockbank

Aintree Cafe and Garden is a social enterprise cafe that’s taken over from the former Go West eatery in Woodlea estate in Rockbank.

Their focus is all about being local – they source produce farmed locally from around the region, and even grow many of the greens, seasonal veg, and herbs at the Aintree Community Garden. They also pour their profits back into the local community through the parent organisation, We Love Aintree Ltd. 

The cafe is bright and cheery, featuring marine hues, light wood and pendant lights.

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank
Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

There’s plenty of room to park a pram or a high chair, especially around the communal table.

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

Baby 2.0 feels utterly comfortable in the space, taking off his shoes and strutting around like it is his lounge room.

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank
Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

Other family-friendly features include a changing table in the disabled toilets and I’m told that colouring-in will be available soon (if not already). And of course, there’s the Woodlea Adventure playground across the road as well as the other Woodlea playgrounds in close proximity – Frontier Park, Pioneer Drive, Muster Drive and Nugget Place

The menu changes every season and at the moment is split into pastries and toasty things, healthy options, brunch dishes. Lunch is from 12 onwards with burgers, piadini, sandwiches and gloriously fresh salads that do not contain a skerrick of limp lettuce. Think more of something out of an Ottolenghi cookbook.

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

I have the Breakfast Super Salad bursting with nutritious broccoli, peas, mint, kale, seeds, quinoa, avocado, smoked yoghurt and a poached egg ($17.90).

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There is a small kids menu with standard favourites such as toast, homemade sausage rolls. However, Baby 2.0 becomes obsessed with the packets of Il Migliore muesli adorning the tall providore shelf at the entrance so we ask for a small serve of muesli for him. A generous portion comes beautifully adorned with fresh berries and to my surprise, they only charge $6.90 for it.  

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

Coffee is made with Melbourne’s Rosso beans….

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

….the cakes and homemade musk sticks are tempting for young and old…

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

….Addie’s lemonade scones are delightfully fluffy and served with an oh-so-cute pot of Bonne Maman jam ($8.90).

Go West, Woodlea, 27 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

While Woodlea’s playground is on par with the adventure playgrounds built in other new residential developments (like Riverwalk, Harpley Estate and Saltwater Coast), Go West is what gives Woodlea a competitive edge. The cafe is so good that it makes the perfect playground and cafe adventure and I’m excited to return to experience more of their menu.

Click here for more child-friendly cafes with outdoor play areas.

HOT Tips:

  • Pram access;
  • High chairs;
  • Change table;
  • Kids menu;
  • Standard menu suitable for kids;
  • Colouring-in coming soon; and
  • Excellent playground across the road.

Go WestWoodlea 25 Woodlea Boulevard, Rockbank

Mon to Sun 8am–4pm

About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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