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