People joke about marriage being the end, but any parent can tell you that the real end truly comes when you have a child.
Ok, so, I guess there’s no need to be so melodramatic, but it’s not far from the truth to say that the pre-kids spontaneous lifestyle will end. No more hanging out with friends at bars for Happy Hour drinks and going for late night supper dates.
Yes sure, that’s in exchange for the joys of parenting, but it can easily feel like the end of fun.
It doesn’t have to be that way. The trick is to find kids-friendly cafes or restaurants where adults can regain some sanity over a hot cup of latte (or glass of wine, who’s judging?) while the children play at a safe distance.
10 KIDS FRIENDLY CAFES AND RESTAURANTS WITH PLAYGROUNDS FOR PARENTS IN SINGAPORE
|Restaurant / Cafe||Estimated cost of a meal per adult||Estimate cost of a meal per child|
|Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari||$20||–|
|Whisk and Paddle||$25||$10.50 to $12.50|
|Georges Beach Club East Coast||$30||$12|
|Wheeler’s Estate||$30 to $50||$12|
|Cafe Melba (Goodman Arts Centre)||$35||$13|
|La Barca Ristorante & Wine Bar||$35||$24|
|Open Farm Community||$40||$18 to $24|
|Haidilao||$45 to $55||–|
*Estimated costs are inclusive of GST and service charge.
1. TIONG BAHRU BAKERY SAFARI
The Dempsey area is quite kid-friendly thanks to its vast spaces, although it’s pretty out of the way if you don’t have a car. If you do drive, however, you get free parking at Dempsey, which is a major plus.
Tiong Bahru Bakery Safari is no stranger in the F&B scene. Their latest Safari-themed outlet serves up interesting lattes like blue pea, turmeric and beetroot latte ($6.50) apart from their usual pastries and breads.
For heartier meals, they have things like Rainbow Rice Bowl ($14) and Quinoa Farmer’s Plate ($14).
The bakery shares the playground with Open Farm Community, another kids-friendly cafe (see #9), their sister brand. They don’t have a specific kids’ menu, but which kid doesn’t love a good ol’ chocolate danish, or a sweet kouign-amann?
There is a cute Little Lions Training Programme for young children held on 20 October this year that your children can sign up for.
Estimated cost of a meal: $20 per adult (including GST and service charge)
Address: 130E Minden Rd, Singapore 248819
2. MARCHE AT SUNTEC
Most Singaporeans are familiar with Marche, but I bet many parents are not aware that Marche has an elaborate Dutch-themed playground where children can play (after they’ve properly eaten of course). The children can climb up a stairway to cosy hideouts and cross mini bridges.
Their baby chairs also double up as a stroller, and there’s also a Picky Kids Meal ($14.90++) that costs of a selection of homemade pastas, pizzas, or crepes, a fun-sized Movenpick ice cream and a drink.
How much you will spend here really depends on what you get, given the “food court” style dining options, but we’d say you can get your tummy well filled for around $25.
Estimated cost of a meal: $25 per adult, $18 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Address: 3 Temasek Boulevard #01-612 to 614, Suntec City (Tower 3), Singapore 038983
3. WHISK AND PADDLE
Whisk and Paddle is an idyllic waterfront cafe at Punggol.
Their menu leans towards Western fusion cuisine, with dishes such as Thai Green Curry Chicken pasta ($18.80), Prawn Bisque ($8.80) and waffles ($9.80 to $13.80). They also have unique latte flavours such as black sesame and hazelnut.
There’s indoor and outdoor seating, but most parents with children would seat themselves outdoor because of a spacious play area.
The kids’ menu (7 years and below) has tomato spaghetti, cream spaghetti and bacon spaghetti for $10.50, which includes a glass of fresh milk or fruit juice. There’s a fish and chips kids’ set for $12.50.
Estimated cost of a meal: $25 per adult, $10.50 to $12.50 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Address: 10 Tebing Lane #01-01 (13.05 km) 828836 Punggol, Singapore
4. KITH CAFE
Kith Cafe has 11 outlets dotted around the island and almost all the outlets have an area set aside for children, making it one of the best kids-friendly cafe chains.
I personally love Kith Cafe’s Millenia Walk outlet because the play area is separate from the dining area, which means no chance of your child’s grubby hands disturbing other diners and therefore, less stress.
There are slides and other toys laid out on astro turf grass that can entertain your little one while you eat in peace.
They have pastas like Aglio Olio ($16) and Granchio ($22) and some fusion dishes such as Kith Black Curry ($19) and Wagyu Beef Burger ($24).
For children, a pancake and juice costs $7.90 and they occasionally have free gifts for children.
Estimated cost of a meal: $28 per adult, $20 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Addresses: 5 outlets islandwide
5. GEORGES BEACH CLUB (EAST COAST PARK)
Georges has a few cafes and scattered around the more “ulu” parts of Singapore, but I find that Georges Beach Club at East Coast Park is the most fun kids-friendly restaurant/bar in the East for parents and children alike. There is a little fenced sand pit for children to play in with tons of beach toys.
After you’re done with dinner, you can also go to the mega playground at Marine Cove just a few meters away.
There’s finger food to go with beer, such as Fried White Button Mushroom ($10.90) and Chilli Cheese Fries ($10.90). They also have salads, pasta, and things like pork chop ($18.90) and lamb shank ($25.90), and Indian fare like Tandoori Chicken Tikka ($18.90).
Georges has a kids’ set meal for $9.90++, which includes a free juice. Choose from meatball spaghetti, fish & chips, Bangers & Mash and Mac & Cheese.
Estimated cost of a meal: $30 per adult, $12 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Address: 1010 East Coast Parkway, Singapore 449892
6. WHEELERS ESTATE
Wheelers Yard might have gained popularity for being a beautiful instagram-worthy cafe but the rows of bicycles there would mean that you would need to keep close watch on your little ones if you bring them there.
If distance is not an issue for you, consider going to the spacious Wheelers Estate at Seletar instead. There’s a large field for children to run about and an outdoor playground too.
Their brunch menu consists of hearty and filling sets. You can get an American Breakfast for $24 and Crab Benedict for $24, excluding taxes and service charge.
The kids’ menu is $10, and you can choose from chicken nuggets, calamari rings or cheesy macaroni and ham. Not exactly the most nutritious food, but will do for a one-off weekend brunch.
Estimated cost of a meal: $30 to $50 per adult, $12 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Address: 2 Park Lane Singapore 798386 Park Ln, Singapore 798386
7. CAFE MELBA (GOODMAN ARTS CENTRE)
Cafe Melba has two outlets but the more kids-friendly cafe has got to be the one situated within Goodman Arts Center. There is a large open field for children to run about and a bouncy castle that is set up every day from 3pm.
Every 1st Saturday of the month from 11am to 4pm, the Goodman Arts Centre branch also has craft activities, chargeable at $10 to $12 per activity.
Cafe Melba Mediapolis also has a play area but the space is more restricted in comparison.
Aside from an extensive brunch menu which includes croissants, toast, and eggs benedict, they also have pastas and main courses. Just to give you a sample of the prices, the smoked carbonara costs $21 while the crispy duck leg confit costs $25. With a drink, you should spend an estimated $35 per adult at Cafe Melba.
With the purchase of a main meal, children eat free on Monday. The kids’ menu has quite a large variety and is basically an extension of the adult one but in smaller portions.
After your meal at Cafe Melba, you can also bring your children to The Artground, a free indoor playground at the next block.
Estimated cost of a meal: $35 per adult, $13 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Address: 90 Goodman Road Block N, #01-56, Singapore 439053
8. LA BARCA RISTORANTE & WINE BAR
Near to Cafe Melba is La Barca Ristorante. While the cuisine at La Barca focuses on organic Italian food, the restaurant doesn’t lose out in terms of kid-friendliness.
On the weekends, the restaurant opens up a playroom from 10am to 3pm and sets up a bouncy castle and a trampoline. The kiddos may even get to play with a water slide. They provide free towels too, which is a nice touch.
The menu focuses on organic Italian food. Main courses include Warm Seafood Salad ($24) and Vegetarian Pizza for $24.
Their desserts are to die for, but slightly on the pricey side. you can get an Orange-Scented Crème Brûlée for $16 and a Dark Chocolate Tart with White Chocolate Sauce for the same price.
The kids’ set meal ($20) consists of either Spaghetti or Penne Bolognese or Pizza Margherita and includes a soft drink/juice and ice cream.
Estimated cost of a meal: $35 per adult, $24 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Address: 90 Goodman Road, #01-21 Block C, Goodman Arts Centre, Singapore 439053
9. OPEN FARM COMMUNITY
Open Farm Community’s concept is to create food from farm to table, so they use local produce as much as they can. Currently, the menu lists mains such as Sumatran Crab Tagliolini ($36), Spiced Aubergine ($32) and Roasted Anxin Chicken ($36).
They’re apparently good for 2 portions. Throw in a drink or two (a OFC Garden Cup cocktail? Anyone?) and you can expect to spend around $40 to $60 per pax at Open Farm Community.
Their brunch menu has a section called “Little Farmers” for children under 14. You can get Scramble and Toast for $15 or Fish and Chips for $20.
The outdoors playground is a simply sandpit with large wooden cow and pig structures, so you might want to bring along your own sand toys to keep the kids entertained for a longer time.
Estimated cost of a meal: $40 to $60 per adult, $18 to $24 per kid (including GST and service charge)
Address: 130E Minden Rd, Singapore 248819
10. HAI DI LAO SINGAPORE
Hai Di Lao is one of the best places for hot pot, thanks to its ridiculously good service. Free popcorn and watermelon while waiting for your table, manicure services and a wide range of soups and sauces are its main draws.
But all these are periphery for a parent if the child in tow is crying and clawing for attention. So, Hai Di Lao has set up playrooms for children to play in and even COTS are available for babies to rest and play next to the diners.
Worried that your child may get into a fight with someone at the playroom? You can keep watch via the CCTV view on the iPad used for ordering. Ingenious right?
Expect to pay around $45 to $55 per pax at Haidilao. They don’t have a specific kids’ menu, but your children can probably eat off the table as long as you order things like mantou, rice, tofu and ingredients cooked in non-spicy soups.
Estimated cost of a meal: $45 to $55 per adult (including GST and service charge)
Address: 12 outlets, islandwide in Singapore
This article was first published in MoneySmart .