I remember the day I first visited Café El’s in Winston Hills. I was relatively new to the area and I decided to visit the Winston Hills Mall on a whim. I was sleep deprived and had a grizzly 3 year old in tow. All I wanted was a decent coffee and for my little darling to give me a break. When we arrived at the mall, he immediately spotted the indoor playground, and because grizzly threenagers rule the world, we had to stop in for a play. All I could see around me were the typical chain coffee shops, which can be a bit hit and miss as to how well they brew my beloved coffee.
I lined up at one of those chain places and then I spotted them – the yummy mummies. They were women on a mission and I just knew they must be headed in the direction of decent caffeine. So I jumped out of the line, bundled up my little grizzly bear and followed them. And that’s when I discovered café nirvana – Café El’s. It’s now become one of my favourite cafes in the Hills district. I’m obviously not the only person who thinks it’s nirvana, because Café Els has just won the 2015 Outstanding Café for the Sydney Hills area!
In the few years that I’ve been visiting Café El’s, I’ve seen it morph from a typical shopping centre café into a stylish eatery that could easily be at home in any inner city location. The interior used to be a tad old fashioned, but it’s had a funky facelift. Over the years though, two things have always remained the same – the excellent coffee and the excellent service.
They serve Vittoria coffee at Café El’s and it doesn’t matter which member of staff makes it, it’s always brewed perfectly. The staff is incredibly hospitable and go out of their way to help you. For example, the day I snatched my child out of the playground and dragged him to the café – he was in serious meltdown mode when we arrived. The staff recognised this, and gave him extra marshmallows with his babycino – thankfully they kept him quiet for a wee while. The staff will also make kids’ hot chocolates warm and serve them in takeaway cups to avoid spillages, and they cut muffins in half for kidlets to share. It’s little things like this that give Café El’s the Little Munch tick of approval!
Children have their own menu for breakfast and lunch that includes a popper juice. For breakfast the choice is between a fried egg on toast ($6) and pancakes ($8). At lunch time the choices are all $10.00 and include a cheeseburger & chips; fish & chips; or homemade chicken strips & chips. Plus there are quite a few things on the adults menu that most kids will also enjoy. I’m a big fan of the adults menu at Café El’s – it’s gourmet café fare. While it does verge a tad on the expensive side, the meals are always delicious and beautifully presented. Each week they have specials, so you’ll never grow bored of the menu.
Just a few other bits and bobs to make your visit to Café El’s easier. There’s plenty of parking under the mall with easy access into the shopping centre and café if you have a pram. There’s a reasonable amount of space to move your pram around at Café El’s so don’t be afraid to take it with you. If you’re meeting up with other yummy mummies, the outdoor space has the most amount of room to accommodate several prams. Just be mindful that the road is close by, so you’ll need to keep a close on eye on wandering toddlers. High chairs are available and if you need to use the toilets with baby change facilities, they’re not too far away in the mall. Café El’s opens at the family friendly hour of 7am and also takes reservations.
Depending on how good your children’s eyesight is, they may also spy another playground across the road from Café El’s in Caroline Chisholm Park! Now my kids are a bit too old for the indoor playground in the mall, we head over to this playground quite often – with a takeaway coffee from Café El’s of course!
Shop 64, Winston Hills Mall, 180 Caroline Chisholm Drive, Winston Hills
02 9624 7595
Open 7 days a week from 7am