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February 13, 2012 / mummaVegas

But will the pram fit, honey? Overcoming cafe pram-scorn…

One challenge for mumma-kind: enjoying one of these, scorn-free.

So one of the things they warn you about, but something which you must experience for yourself as a new mother is the phenomenon of integrating into the “regular” society with your baby.

I’m not saying that as a new mother you yourself need any kind of self-preparation or K.I.S.S Guide to pry yourself away from today’s episode of Ellen and out the door. What I am saying is there really needs to be some kind of dissertation written into the expectation of society on new mums. And their prams. In cafes.

Go on, admit it. Before you brought forth your own little contribution to the Next Generation you’d fallen into that trap of chai-fuelled scorn. Scorning the new mother that dared to venture into your peaceful little caffeinated Wonderland on the corner of Life and Its All About Me. With her godforsaken pram. I know I did. If I’d counted the times I navigated my way from the coffee counter to the cafe’s exit, paper cup of Cappucino-Magma in hand raised condescendingly above my head to dramatically indicate the risk these women were exposing their dune buggies to…. What I’m saying is, the scorn is out there. On the flip side, i’ve now experienced that sensation of wincing and mouthing “sorry…” (but really thinking “go f*** yourself”) to the childless hottie on the cafe bench as she looks on at me and my pram wheeling through her zen-space with what can only be described as a simmering rage-pity. I know she’s thinking about having her ovaries removed before she commits that cardinal sin of “societal inconvenience” herself.

A bit too far….? Well.

Rather than pretend to know anything to pass on about turning the other cheek and pretending the looks of horror don’t exist, I thought the Boy and I would take the pragmatic approach to this aged dilemma (Prams in Cafes) and spend some time researching the city’s cafe scene with a mumma focus and offer up a couple of cafeteria alternatives where babies AND prams are welcome (or at least the floor space is so vast, no one really notices…). Each visited cafe had one stand out pram-friendly feature and I’ve done my best to be explicit:

1. Eurovida: 1/208 Given Terrace, Paddington: Home of the spacious piazza entrance where babies cries are muffled somewhat by the Given Terrace traffic. Home to the world’s BEST steak sandwich. Not a joke.  This baby (sandwich) is loaded with flavoursome beef, blue cheesy and brie-loaded goodness and some kind of mustardness that made my elbows tingle. The downside is its a little squishier going inside, and a Brisbane stinker makes sitting in the piazza at lunch just a touch less enjoyable. Still. Steak sandwich. Enough said.

***PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: Mouthwatering goodness of steak sandwich allows for ignorance to overcome you, therefore you experience pram-scorn immunity.

Invoke your inner Homer and wrap your drool around one of these babies at Eurovida, Paddington

2. Fig Tree Deli: Shop 11, Samuel Village, 17 Samuel Street, Camp Hill: Terrific little one-stop-delicatess filled with exotic goodies you wouldn’t expect to find in a suburbia, let alone all together.

Fig Tree Deli: Cheap and chic location for a ham sambo (with room for the pram on the side)!

As an ex-baklava chef (in the loosest term of the word), I was thrilled to see Orange Blossom and Rose waters on sale (the last time I saw these was in a Lebanese food wholesalers in Punchbowl).

Considering my options of returning to my days as a quasi-pastry chef.

Add to this a bit of trick timing – midday on a Sunday out in Camp Hill is not the height of commercial activity apparently, and lunch services finishes at the family-friendly time of 1.30pm – and you have the ultimate in spacious, free-wheelin’, stroller-friendly, cheap eateries. $7.50 for a deli fresh sambo is my inner city idea of suburban value. And the coffee? It passed the doppio macchiato test swimmingly – 8/10.

     

Mmmmm...Beer...enberg Preserves.You can't beat the fresh stuff

****PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: This is suburbia on a Sunday. Calm, peaceful, with tasty eat options at a family-friendly hour = plenty of room to manoeuvre your buggy.

The other truly delightful discovery I made around this Samuel Village Precinct was stumbling into the hidden gem; Espialmerchant store. I wandered through this charming and well-stocked giftery and then patted Hubby on the head telling him he should be pleased I didn’t have a credit card… The perfect mix of stylish apparel, sweet children’s gift in a style of years gone by, interesting and intriguing fashion “bibles” (including a pictorial tome of Isabella Blow!) and quality jewellery and accessories – the ultimate chicks store!

Gotta love a sales rack to lure a mumma to her credit debt...

Espial: Gifting heaven, right there.

"Yesteryear" inspired kids toys @ Espial, Camp Hill

Espial: A little something for the mummas, surely!

And so, armed with suburban realty aspirations and a belly full of fanciness, Albie and I made our way back to our inner-city existence…

3. Anouk: 212 Given Terrace, Paddington: Yes yes, I realise I have brought you back to the neighbourhood of the ultimate steak sandwich yet Anouk was one of the first places hubby and I tried when we moved into the area. We were impressed then, and having met a fellow mumma for a light lunch – both of us with prams! – I continue to count this amongst my guaranteed go-tos. Added bonus factor: you think a bowl of chips is a bowl of chips, right? Well at Anouk you can order a bowl of rosemary-salted, fried chat potatoes served with a garlic aioli! Oh so lahdeedah and oh so delish! Wash these puppies down with a freshly muddled apple cider, lime and mint cocktail (unloaded) and let the groovy vibe envelope you.

These = heaven

Pram-friendly, hello!

Family-friendly barista coffeeing up a storm in a serene setting

****PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: Not an abundance of pram space however the amazing and friendly staff go out of their way to ensure whatever your circumstance you feel invited and comfortable to enjoy your cafe experience. They’re a little hipster but a lot of terrific. Oh…and those freaky chip things!

4. Mugged: Oxford Street, Bulimba: Right. So there are times when the question is simple and the answer is clear.

Scenario: I get one bite of the caffeine cherry a day if I don’t want the wrath of the community health nurse bearing down on me at the next check up/interview. Therefore, it has to be a bloody good one. I want it quickly. I have a pram.

Question: Where is my nearest guarantee??

Answer: If you’re on the Bulimba side of the inner city, you’d be hard pressed to find another spot like Mugged, an Oxford Street hole-in-the-wall where not only can you wheel your precious cargo right up to the counter with out pissing off the locals or the barista, but the coffee is pretty outstanding and the service is friendly and prompt.

A hole in the wall on Oxford where the coffee is outstanding!

Check your expectations at the door when it comes to seating: Park your heiny on a low stool or milk crate on the footpath, move your pram up close and watch Bulimba go by. Alternatively, head across the road to the park and get native with your coffee’n’kid.

Don't expect a lounge chair people. This place is about the coffee. Enjoy!

***PRAM-FRIENDLY FACTOR: Essentially, Mugged is surrounded by public space so you have every right to be wherever you damn please! Nonetheless, the staff love kids. It’s Bulimba – with an adult:infant ratio of about 1:6, they kinda have to!

5. Jude Urban Kitchen: Eagle Street Pier, Brisbane CBD: Ok, so this place was a brand new discovery for me. And wasn’t I excited. First of all, if I’m about avoiding pram-scorn, the CBD is usually the last place I will venture. It isn’t isolated to cafes around here. Mummas across Brisbane risk exposure on buses, footpaths, traffic crossings, the Mall! But stroll a little further out of the CBD – just a touch – and you’ll find yourself on Eagle Street Pier where Jude Urban Kitchen serves up delicious inner-city treats catering for the white-collar on the hunt for tasty, reasonably priced, lunchtime fare. The quirky take-out style serving plates make this an excellent option to meet a friend – if you have to make a mad dash to the conveniently proximate baby-change room, you can pack your lunch up asap and whisk away. The place is busy, but efficient, and is a great option if you’ve been craving that sense of bustle you’ve been missing since you punched on to maternity leave.

Jude Urban Kitchen: The chic and perfect locale for a touch of CBD action.

Served in style

****PRAM-FRIENDLINESS: It helps to ring ahead and book a table to ensure your precious cargo is positioned at a table away from the bustling city slickers. But the food and Eagle Street Pier atmosphere are accommodating to make the trek from suburbia to the CBD worth the trip.

Jude: Busy, bustle-y, but efficient

Well, kids; here’s to the Fabulous Five. Bon apper-caf my friends. Happy socialising.

Until next time, keep on strolling’.

mummaV xx

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