Our latest favourite haunt: the newly revamped The Playhouse & Cafe @ Rochester

To be honest, I haven’t been to the old Playhouse & Cafe @ 7 Rochester Park, so I can’t say how much they’ve improved; I can only tell you how much we enjoyed the place – with lots and lots of pictures. We’ve been there twice so far, once in late April and the other time on 10 May during their official opening.

Set amidst lush greenery, Rochester Playhouse & Café sits on a grand, historically conserved 30,000 square feet old colonial bungalow and is home to The Playhouse – a kid’s haven of fun and edu-tainment, and Park Café– which serves up a revamped bistro food menu all day and night, and a great weekend brunch that is simply spectacular.

On our first visit, the kids’ outdoor playground wasn’t fully ready yet and they were waiting for some fixtures to arrive. Nevertheless, there was more than sufficient entertainment for the kids, with slides, swings, rocking horses and little cars and bikes. And to make up for the fact that some fixtures hadn’t arrived, they even rented a bouncy castle just to ensure that the kids thoroughly enjoy themselves.

And that’s just the outdoor area. There’s also an indoor play haven where the kids are provided with open-ended toys, a kitchen area, a dress-up area, books for them to read and art materials should the kids want to draw.

Looking cool as a pirate!

My little princess!

The princess helping the pirate out with his hat

The pirate who cannot decide whether he should be a pirate or a king

And this is her favourite spot!!

So while the kids busied themselves (under supervision – they have three staff to make sure the kids are safe and playing harmoniously and they sanitise all the toys too every day!), we could check out the place and the food leisurely and enjoy our couple time! A super rare treat for us, as you know that the kids are with me 24/7. But now that we’ve discovered The Playhouse, we know where we can head to when we need to have a couple of hours to ourselves while the kids are entertained. [If you’re wondering why we don’t bring the kids to an indoor playground so we can chill instead, I feel that indoor playgrounds are generally too mega which makes it very difficult for staff to supervise and ensure safety, especially when my boy is only 2.5 years old. Plus the food here is delish!]

As I was telling you about the food, it was very good. I’m still thinking about the tofu, mango and avocado salad ($13.90)! It was really delish! The avocado gave the creamy oomph while the mango and tofu made it refreshing. By the way, I’m not very fond of avocado but this dish has made me view avocado differently!

We had prawns with roasted garlic, roasted cherry tomato and herbs ($14.90) for the warm starter and this too was a treat for our palates! It’s spicy, the prawns were fresh, succulent and crunchy and the yummy roasted garlic was the icing on the cake.

My hubby ordered the baby back ribs ($39) and this was tender and flavourful. It was extremely filling too!

I had the rib-eye steak which was served with cajun fries, summer vegetables and black pepper sauce ($29.90).

The kids’ set comes with a cup of juice and cookies. We ordered the chicken, corn and risoni soup for my boy and the poached dory with cherry tomato and broccoli for my girl.

My boy didn’t finish his food though he bulldozed through the first half pretty quickly; my girl finished everything quickly, even the tomatoes which she normally doesn’t eat. Must have been in a pretty great mood!

And we were told we absolutely had to have the macarons because award winning La Rose Noir macarons & pastries are made available exclusively at The Playhouse & Café!

Of course we had to have coffee – and we ordered a latte and cappuccino. The coffee wasn’t extraordinary but the macarons were 🙂

Just look at that contented look on her face after eating one of the macarons:

I ordered the mango créme brulee ($8.90)

I’m a dessert monster, so I have to tell you I loved this too. I thought the mango was a nice touch to the usual creme brulee.

And unless the brownie contains nuts or is too dry, you’d never hear me say anything bad about it. 😀

Brownie with vanilla ice-cream ($8.90)

When we went to The Playhouse & Cafe during its official opening, we had a wonderful surprise! All the fixtures had arrived!

the playhouse & cafe rochester

There were markings on the grass for roads and there was shelter for a small water play area.

There was also another water play area but this wasn’t sheltered and it can be quite scorching when it’s a sunny day (we were at there at noon so it was really really hot). Remember to bring a change of clothes for the kids, just in case.

There’s also a small trampoline!!

The whole place was abuzz!

And when I checked out the indoor play haven, I was very impressed with the changes they made in just two weeks! One side of the play area had been converted to a ship!:

In the ‘ship’, besides having loads of sea-themed toys, there’s a shelf of books (my little one spotted some of his favourite reads The very hungry caterpillar and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom).

The kitchen area had been converted to a nice cosy cafe:

The castle had a beautiful backdrop:

And the dress-up corner had been dressed up!!:

I’m sure you can tell the kids had loads of fun. The indoor and outdoor play isn’t free though, if you are wondering. It’s $8/h, $10 for 2h, $15 for unlimited play time. We were there for easily 3 hours each time so I’d recommend getting the unlimited play option. I personally find it a little pricey as it could add up to quite a bit if you have more kids. Perhaps there could be a waiver of fees or a discount if the bill at the cafe hits a certain amount. Also, currently, the place seems to be targeted for younger kids – not a problem for me now! 😀

Other than that, I feel that the place can be quite warm on hot days but I heard that they will be bringing in portable air-con units soon (can’t wait!!) and you might want to bring along some mosquito repellent, just in case. The first time we were there we were bitten a few times each but I noticed, on my second visit, there were measures in place to rid mozzies! 🙂

Overall, we really love The Playhouse & Cafe – it is really a gem! We’ll certainly be back soon! We just love the dedicated staff watching the kids while we kick back, relax and have some couple time!

The Playhouse & Cafe

7 Rochester Park

Are there any other family-friendly cafes and restaurants you love? Do leave me a comment so we can check that out too!

Disclosure: We were invited to The Playhouse & Cafe and had a fabulous time. No monetary compensation was received. All opinions are mine.

If you’re searching for a place to dine, you may be interested in these other food reviews:

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