Putt putt, an imaginative play playground, giant lawn games and a jumping castle are just some of the fun things your kids will be able to enjoy when you next dine at the Victoria Park Bistro.
Tucked away in inner-city Herston, the Victoria Park’s simple yet stately entrance gives little away to the first-time visitor. Indeed, it is only as you weave your car in through the gates and follow the signs to the carpark that the true wonder of the venue lays itself delightfully out before you.
Victoria Park Bistro – First Impressions
The Victoria Park Bistro resides atop a hill and overlooks the spectacular grounds that surround it. Lush green hills undulate away from the Bistro’s deck and roll gently into a spectacular view of our Brisbane city skyline, which beautifully rims its edge.
When you first step out of your car it is not the expected view of a busy entertainment and dining venue, but rather the quick and happy flutter of small children as they run and play freely over the expansive lawn. It’s clear that they are truly in their element too, racing between areas of childhood delight that are spread generously around the area. A giant game of draughts (which are being rolled down a hill) and chess set, a jumping castle and, to the left of the bistro as you walk up, a wondrous children’s playground.
The whole scene is extremely inviting for a young family and it takes a little bit of cajoling and promises of fun to be had after they have eaten to entice my children up the Bistro steps to enjoy some lunch.
The Dining Space
As we went on a Sunday at lunchtime, the Bistro was overflowing with people and activity. With an array of seating options and areas available, guests can choose to sit in a variety of different spaces. The most formal is probably an area of dining that is spaced out in front of the bar and woodfire pizza kitchen towards the back. A hive of activity, this is also where the musician (a wonderful solo singer when we were there) sets up from midday each Sunday.
The front deck area, aka The Terrace, is the most popular (at least on the day we are there) with families and what seemed like groups out for a Sunday sesh following a round of golf. Here, there is a mix of wrought iron tables with chairs, wooden bench tables, stools, couches and armchairs that all either spread out around the different market carts that pop up on weekends or overlooking the magnificent parkland and city views beyond.
What’s On The Menu?
For the Parents
The Bistro has separate Breakfast (7am – 11am) and Lunch / Dinner menus for guests to enjoy, both of which change seasonally. You can view the menu here.
Spoilt for choice, the lunch menu offered us a range of meal options, including smaller ‘bites’ and more substantial meals.
For the Kids
The menu has a separate section just for kids, with a variety of options to suit all tastes.
The menu has many options available already, but the chef is always able to accommodate allergen and intolerance requests and adjust all meals to meet customer needs.
Kids Play Options
Victoria Park has a kids’ adventure playground, as well as a gigantic kids’ games area. The playground hosts equipment for young and older children including a slide, climbing ropes, rock climbing wall and imaginative play areas. With Brisbane families involved in the playground design, the completed playground also features a re-purposed farm tractor and giant wooden cubby house. Complete with a play kitchen, giant chalkboard and leavers and buckets on ropes to pull supplies up to the top level, kids will be entertained for hours with all the fun this area provides.
The games area in the Bistro features giant versions of popular kids games that they are welcome to play as well as a few extras like table tennis. Out on the green, kids can enjoy: giant Jenga, Connect Four and Chess, as well as a jumping castle.
Families can also enjoy a game or two of putt putt afterwards if they are keen for a bit of fun competition and find they still have some time (and energy) to burn.
Other Child-Friendly Services Provided
Victoria Park has a large parking area for visitors, which is great for families and, being a large venue, there is plenty of room for children to move about and explore. The complex is surrounded by nature and their foodie growing gardens are open to explore too.
Victoria Park runs free family welcoming events throughout the year, including great activities and specials such as New Years Day, Australia Day, Easter, Mother’s Day and Father’s Day celebrations for the Brisbane family community.
High chairs, baby change facilities and ample pram parking spaces are all available at the Bistro.
The Victoria Park Bistro is the perfect place to visit for any family looking to combine a relaxed meal out with some fun and entertainment at the same time. The fact that we were able to order our meals and then let the children play while we waited for them to be cooked was something that only those with restless children can fully appreciate. Little bellies that may be hungry are much happier to wait when they have large Jenga blocks, a Scrabble board or a ping pong table nearby to keep them busy. The relaxed and casual atmosphere of the Bistro, with some patrons seated, some standing and some walking around as they drank, meant that following little ones as they moved about was nothing unusual. Indeed, grabbing a drink and joining them in a game was very possible, as was sitting at your table to chat while you watched them too.
The menus offered a good selection of meals and the portions of those we saw and tried were great. Whilst the kids’ meals were generous, it might have been nice to make them just a little smaller and possibly include a drink or the dessert in the pricing as we did have a bit of food that was left over at the end for them. This is not a quiet dining experience (which is why it is so good for families), but comes with a good vibe that’s easy to sink into.
What really makes this a great spot for families is the general family-friendly attitude and atmosphere that is not only welcomed, but encouraged here. This is evidenced not only in the menu and games area, but also in the relaxed mood and casual dining feel that they have. If I could say anything, it would be that it would be nice if the playground was more visible from the dining area, as even though the games inside were great, most kids wanted to be outside in the playground or running on the lawns eventually and, if your children needed to be supervised, then that could only happen once you had all finished eating. Still, they make it very easy to move between all the spaces and more than cater for children both inside and outside the Bistro so, as a parent, it more than surpassed most child-friendly places I had been to.
A word of warning: If you think you can just go for a quick bite to eat and then head off, think again! With all the wonderful options that surround it for kids to do – the playground, jumping castle, putt putt game, or just wide, open green hills, the Bistro is so much more than just a simple dining experience. It’s just one part of a whole lot of fun for a great day out!
Victoria Park Bistro is located on Herston Road at Herston. For opening hours, please visit the Victoria Park website.