Le Petit Prince
Where: 1a Mercer Road, Armadale, 3143
Contact:03 9824 6404 firstname.lastname@example.org
03 9824 6404 email@example.com
OpenBreakfast Mon-Fri 7am-4pm; Sat-Sun 8am-4pm
Diet: Soy, Gluten free
Seating: Inside and outside
For bebes, mammas and everything in between
words by Helen Alexander 31 August 2013
photos by Albert Comper
Where do the children of Armadale go for brunch? I’ll tell you. They go to Le Petit Prince. In fact, at this welcoming Mercer Street cafe you’ll find so many babes in arms and tottering toddlers you would be forgiven for thinking that the Melbourne incarnation of the Pied Piper had somehow magical rounded them all up and whisked them away for a serve of soft-boiled eggs and toasted soldiers.
Amazingly, in between the parents and prams, there is room for everyone. Outside, tables and chairs fill the wide leafy pavement. Inside, the dresser, bookcase and fridge fight for floor space – it’s short on wriggle room, but no one seems to mind.
The plethora of preschoolers might explain why this French-owned cafe has all the trappings of a nursery. I don’t just mean that it is load and chaotic with stuff everywhere – it is and that’s part of its charm – I am talking about the little touches. The small props that make it clear Le Petit Prince identifies with every child. The wordsmith can express themselves via the colourful alphabet magnets on the fridge; the adventurer can gaze at the large map on the back wall with its spider’s web of red string joining pinpointed places.
Child-like creativity is celebrated – a budding artist was clearly charged with adding colour (albeit crayon and pencil scribbles) to the canvas blocks that signal where the toilets are and the fact it’s cash only. It’s nice to see a cafe that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
On the other end of the scale – grown-up kids will appreciate the alphabet blocks, which double-up as cardholders for the cake cabinet and prettily label the sweet treats on offer, from chocolate chip cookies to coconut bread. Then there’s the short and concise menu that is glued into battered copies of Le Petit Prince. As a result, being handed a menu feels a bit like being in the classroom as the teacher hands you a copy of that term’s essential reading. But more fun, and certainly more tasty – smashed avocado and Persian feta and smoked salmon on soya and quinoa toast might sound like a done-to-death brunch stable, but this is thoughtful cooking that is worthy of attention. As are the ricotta pancakes and corn fritters. And the coffee – courtesy of a very good-looking bunch of bearded French baristas – is excellent. It’s Coffee Supreme South Blend, by the way.
The final touch? A baby blue coffee machine with a row of little Star Wars figurines and matchbox cars lined up on top of it. Once again, the team succeed in injecting a sense of fun into the everyday.
Here at Le Petit Prince it’s clear children are not just endured, they are embraced. However, if like me you are a child-sceptic, let me quickly reassure you. There is no rumpus, just contented little ones out with their parents – true to its name, this place seems to attract a well-behaved pedigree of child and, in return, they are treated like royalty. As befitting the petit princes and princesses of Armadale.
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