Time Out’s Top Ta­bles for Tots

Time Out Malaysia Kids - - Eating Out -

Ben­bino Level G3, Pub­lika, Jalan So­laris Du­ta­mas 1, KL (03 6205 5317/www.the­big­group.co/ben­bino). With stroller park­ing, an am­ple num­ber of high chairs and a cute ad­join­ing kids’ play­ground, Ben­bino is a wel­come ad­di­tion to KL’s se­lec­tion of fam­ily-friendly cafés. Look for the gi­ant yel­low gi­raffe and head up the spi­ral stair­case to this com­pact and comfy spot. If you can get the kids past the mag­i­cal dis­play of sweets, there’s a whole menu of meals cre­ated and por­tioned for small tum­mies. The menu is just what you’d ex­pect from The BIG Group and it in­cludes crowd pleasers like mac ‘n’ cheese, piz­zas, sal­ads and pas­tas. We were happy to see that many dishes sneak in healthy veg­eta­bles, such as the cau­li­flower tater tots and the cau­li­flower base margherita pizza. We even tried the build-your-own ta­cos and were sur­prised to find that the ac­com­pa­ny­ing chicken ten­ders were crumbed with quinoa, which gives a sat­is­fy­ing crunch. If you’re not into the ta­pas style por­tions for your­self, some dishes are also avail­able in adult por­tions.

But let’s get back to that cake counter. Ul­ti­mately, sweet tooths will be happy at Ben­bino: There’s a glit­ter­ing se­lec­tion of cakes and other treats to try. We had a creamy, thick lam­ing­ton milk­shake and can’t wait to re­turn for their brown­ies or s’mores cook­ies, or let’s face it, maybe both. The café is also a great choice for par­ties – whether it’s a kid’s birth­day party or a baby shower. Visit on the week­end for a fun dough­nut-mak­ing ac­tiv­ity. Child-friendly. Kids’ menu. Pushchair-friendly. High chairs avail­able. Tue-Sun, 10am-9pm. $$

Green Tomato Café Yayasan Seni, 333 Per­siaran Ritchie, off Jalan Ritchie, KL (03 4251 5154/ www.green­toma­to­cafe.com.my). It’s a shame that KL doesn’t have more al­fresco eater­ies such as Green Tomato Café. Lo­cated in a lush green com­pound in the heart of KL, Green Tomato isn’t im­me­di­ately vis­i­ble to the naked eye, but it’s easy enough to lo­cate. The free park­ing and am­ple space for strollers are a huge plus! Sur­rounded by batik­mak­ing fa­cil­i­ties and a batik store, the café chiefly caters to art stu­dents look­ing for a quick bite. On week­ends, fam­i­lies trickle into Green Tomato for sim­ple but re­li­ably de­li­cious brunches. Or­der favourites the likes of per­fectly poached eggs Bene­dict, freshly baked muffins, espresso bev­er­ages and re­fresh­ing fruit juices. A kids’ play­ground is set up on the lawn so en­cour­age your lit­tle ones to play bare­foot. You can even bring your pooch, as (well-be­haved) pets are wel­come! The baris­tas can even tai­lor the café’s latte art classes to suit chil­dren by swap­ping cof­fee for hot choco­late. Halal. Child-friendly. Free park­ing. Daily, 8am-8pm.

GULA Cak­ery

11 Jalan Ang­gerik Aranda, BG 31/ BG, Kota Ke­mu­ning, Shah Alam (03 5131 4604/www.face­book.com/gu­la­cak­erymy). Dec­o­rated in bright and play­ful colours, In­sta­gram cake shop GULA Cak­ery has fi­nally opened their brick and mor­tar store in Kota Ke­mu­ning. The at­mos­phere is cheer­ful and fam­ily-friendly; we’re im­pressed with how the kids’ play area takes up more than a quar­ter of the café sit­u­ated on the first floor. The ground floor is a roomy space for bak­ing work­shops that’s fully equipped with state-of-the-art bak­ing fa­cil­i­ties. The 24-year-old founder Arieni Ritzal com­bined her de­gree in early child­hood ed­u­ca­tion and her love for bak­ing and turned it into a lovely fam­ily busi­ness ven­ture: Her par­ents help out with the daily op­er­a­tions and her brother, Adrien Kent (known for his de­signs for Feeka, Sitka and In­side Scoop), de­signed the café. The desserts taste as breath­tak­ing as they look. We par­tic­u­larly favoured the Nutella-stuffed choco­late chip cook­ies and the de­lec­ta­ble choux pas­try. We even went back the fol­low­ing week for their salted caramel choco­late tart and their very gen­er­ous serv­ing of crème brûlée. Be­sides the sweet treats, there’s also sim­ple home-cooked fare from Arieni’s par­ents like nasi ker­abu and nasi tomato with ayam masak

merah. Bak­ing classes are open to kids aged three and up.

Child-friendly. (Café) Tue-Sun, 12noon-9pm. Call for en­quiries on bak­ing classes.

Hard Rock Café Ground floor, Wisma Con­corde, Jalan Sul­tan Is­mail, KL (03 2715 5555); Oceanus Water­front Mall, Jalan Tun Fuad Stephens, Kota Kin­a­balu, Sabah (08 827 3952); 28 Lorong Hang Je­bat, Malacca (06 292 5188); Hard Rock Ho­tel Pe­nang, Jalan Batu Fer­ing­ghi, Pe­nang (04 881 1711/ www.hardrock­cafe.com). With rock ’n’ roll mem­o­ra­bilia on prac­ti­cally ev­ery sur­face, this renowned restau­rant not only has a great at­mos­phere but pretty good food too, plus it’s a su­perb place for kids. All kid­die meals come com­plete with a drink and lit­tle ones can choose from items such as the Mac-Daddy Mac & Cheese and Buddy’s Ban­gin Burger with Cheese or, for the more health­con­scious kids, a grilled marmalade chicken breast salad known as Skid­dley’s Not-So-Did­dly Chicken Breast Salad – all served on a cool gui­tar shaped plate. Kids will re­ceive a Rox­tars Ac­tiv­ity book and, in be­tween colour­ing, should keep their eyes peeled for their favourite char­ac­ters,

who of­ten visit the restau­rant. Pork-free. Kids’ menu. High chairs avail­able. Pushchair-friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. (KL) MonThu & Sun, 11.30am-1am, FriSat, 11.30am-3am; (KK) Daily, 11.30am-2am; (Malacca) Mon-Thu & Sun, 11.30am-1am, Fri-Sat, 11.30am-2am; (Pe­nang) Mon-Thu & Sun, 11.30am-2am, Fri-Sat & eve of Pub­lic Hol­i­days, 11.30am-2.30am. $$$

Jala

The An­daman, Jalan Teluk Datai, Langkawi (04 959 1088/www. the­an­daman.com). The An­daman’s beau­ti­ful beach­side seafood restau­rant might seem a sur­pris­ing choice for a night out with the kids. Think again. Not only will they en­joy a so­phis­ti­cated menu to match Mum’s and Dad’s but they’ll be able to build sand­cas­tles once sated. Jala’s menu for chil­dren is one of the most in­no­va­tive in the coun­try. Mini gour­mands can choose from dishes in­clud­ing the Jala veg­gie burger, served with a beetroot and chick­pea patty, Dan­ish hot dogs (a chicken sausage in a bread roll topped with mus­tard, ketchup, re­moulade, pea-mayo and lemon), or the deep fried seabass served up with crispy potato in panko and re­moulade, pea-mayo and lemon. Pork-free. Kids’ menu. High chairs avail­able. Credit cards ac­cepted. Tue-Sun, 6-10.30pm. $$$$

Marmalade

First floor, Bangsar Vil­lage II, Jalan Telawi 1, Bangsar, KL (03 2282 8301); Level G3, Pub­lika Shop­ping Gallery, Jalan Du­ta­mas 1, So­laris Du­ta­mas, KL (03 6201 7991/www. ilove­mar­malade.com). Up­grades to the main and kids’ menus in re­cent years have made Marmalade an even bet­ter choice for fam­i­lies. Still suc­cinct and cen­tred on com­fort food, the menu here trades in sim­ple, de­li­cious dishes that are healthy but cer­tainly not bland or joy­less. We heartily rec­om­mend the chicken rice, served with ori­en­tal veg­etable soup, and the mac­a­roni and cheese, sneak­ily threaded with ten­der shreds of car­rot for that ex­tra healthy kick. Kids’ menus come with ac­tiv­i­ties for the lit­tle ones to en­joy while they wait for their meals but there are also in­door and out­door play ar­eas with re­cently up­graded toys. Oc­ca­sion­ally you’ll find fun work­shops for the kids too. New mums will be pleased to hear that the café of­fers Lilie Pilie nurs­ing aprons so that they can breast­feed in com­fort. Halal. Kids’ menu. High chairs avail­able. Pushchair-friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. (Bangsar) Daily, 10am-10pm; (So­laris) Daily, 10am-9pm. $$

Old­School

Ground level, The School, Jaya One, 72A Jalan Univer­siti, PJ (03 7499 3966); 22A Jalan Pu­teri 2/4, Ban­dar Pu­teri Pu­chong, Pu­chong (03 8066 6966/www.face­book.com/Old­school. pork). The first thing that de­mands your at­ten­tion at Old­School in Jaya One is a hu­mor­ous mu­ral de­pict­ing two amused, yet ter­ri­fied, stu­dents and a pri­mary school­teacher wield­ing a

rotan. That’s the kind of nos­tal­gia Old­School aims to awaken. Lunch isn’t just lunch any­more, but a flash­back to sim­pler times. Fur­nished with long ta­bles and benches, the restau­rant couldn’t look any more like a school can­teen. There are even racks car­ry­ing knick-knacks and kid­die snacks such as ‘Power Rangers’ colour­ing books and ham­burger-shaped gum­mies. Wait­resses are dressed in school uni­forms to ad­here to the theme, and the cre­ative menus are en­tirely hand­writ­ten in ex­er­cise books. Din­ers are spoilt for choice with an as­tound­ing se­lec­tion of sand­wiches, soups, sal­ads, pasta dishes, lo­cal de­lights and more than 100 kinds of bev­er­ages. That be­ing said, Old­School’s pride is its pork dishes. While the char­coal buns are noth­ing new in KL’s burger scene, the pre­mium Kurob­uto pork patty in their House Burger, juicier than the usual sus­pect, is a rare treat. The kids’ set meal, which comes with al­pha­bet fries, sweet corn and a drink, is well­rounded with nei­ther measly nor waste­ful por­tions. Child-friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. (Jaya One) Daily, 10am-10pm; (Ban­dar Pu­teri Pu­chong) Daily, 8am-10pm. $$

Out of Africa PJ Palms Sports Cen­tre, 1 Lorong Sul­tan, PJ (03 7955 3432/www. out­o­fafrica.com.my). The kids’ menu here won’t win any awards for healthy eat­ing but Out of Africa is a favourite for their sim­ple, un­com­pli­cated kiddy fare, great at­mos­phere and colour­ful play­ground. Din­ing at Out of Africa is like step­ping into a tribal chief’s home and you’d al­most ex­pect to see gi­raffes and a lion or two out­side. Sam­ple South African orig­i­nals like lamb bobotie and tongue Kala­hari, or go for the braaied boere­wors (grilled sausages), all washed down with your favourite pint. From the kids’ menu, op­tions like home­made chicken breast nuggets, lamb chops and the 100g sir­loin steak all come with sides (chips, rice, etc). The restau­rant has a jun­gle play­ground, re­spon­si­bly tiled to pre­vent boo-boos and as it’s sit­u­ated next to a swim­ming pool, kids can pur­chase swim­ming bands and take a dip. As if not fam­ily-fit enough, the bath­rooms come equipped with baby chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties. Kids’ menu. High chairs avail­able. Pushchair-friendly. Baby chang­ing fa­cil­i­ties avail­able. Mon-Fri, 12noon-2.30pm, 6pm-12mid­night; Sat-Sun, 12noon-12mid­night. $$$$

Sigi’s Bar & Grill

Shangri-La Golden Sands Re­sort, Jalan Batu Fer­ing­ghi, Pe­nang (04 886 1852/www.shangri-la.com). This cosy, fam­ily-style restau­rant is lo­cated on Batu Fer­ringhi beach. With an in­ter­na­tional menu boast­ing prime steaks, seafood, wood-fired pizza, sand­wiches, pasta and lo­cal Asian dishes, it’s sure to keep the pick­i­est of din­ers happy, in­clud­ing the kids – there’s even a ded­i­cated chil­dren’s menu which cov­ers all the bases of what kids want to eat on hol­i­day, but also has health­ier choices like a ju­nior Cae­sar salad, grilled fish and the Snack Pack (dried fruits, pop­corn, nuts and ap­ple gin­ger juice). Two kids un­der 12 can eat for free when din­ing with their par­ents at the buf­fet if they’re guests of the ho­tel. If not, kids un­der 12 can eat with a 50 per­cent dis­count. Pork-free. Kids’ menu. High chairs avail­able. Pushchair-friendly. Credit cards ac­cepted. Daily, 11am-12mid­night. $$$

Yel­low Brick Road

8-7 Jalan Batai, Bukit Da­mansara, KL (03 2035 5922/www.face­book.com/yel­low­brick­road­cafe). While skip­ping down this yel­low brick road won’t lead you to Oz, rest as­sured that a mag­i­cal ex­pe­ri­ence awaits you. Small touches about this restau­rant are sure to put a smile on one’s face, such as the cir­cu­lar com­mu­nal ta­ble with a tree as its cen­tre­piece, dreamy fairy lights, and tin ket­tles op­er­at­ing as wa­ter spouts. Since Yel­low Brick Road in­tro­duced Wicked Pan­cake Par­lour to its up­stairs space, the ‘room­mates’ have be­gun shar­ing a kitchen and the same menu. Pa­trons are spoiled for choice with in­ven­tive dishes, which, truth be told, are more likely to thrill grownups with dis­cernible palates than young ones. Some ex­per­i­men­tal pan­cake plat­ters in­clude the Peter Pan­dan, es­sen­tially pan­dan-flavoured pan­cakes served with fresh jack­fruit, salted caramel ice cream and gula Me­laka sauce, and Let’s Salsa, which gives a nod to trop­i­cal flavours by in­cor­po­rat­ing pineap­ple, turkey ham and moz­zarella cheese. A few good min­i­mal­ist op­tions for kids would be the clas­sic pan­cakes served with but­ter and Cana­dian maple syrup, I Wanna Be Kaya French Toast, and gooey Mac N Cheese. Or­der a Smooshie juice to give the lit­tle one a vi­ta­min boost. But if ju­nior loves to im­i­tate mum and dad and de­mands the same foamy flat white, hu­mour them by or­der­ing a Baby­cino (caf­feine-free frothed milk). It’s a shame that the cute chil­dren’s cor­ner up­stairs only opens on Fri­days and Satur­days, but the blue-smocked servers are kind souls who some­times bend the rules. Halal. Child-friendly. Dis­abled-friendly. Daily 9am-10pm (Kitchen closes form 4-6pm daily). $$

Ben­bino

Green Tomato Café

Sigi’s Bar & Grill

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