There are not too many cool Brunswick cafes that openly accommodate families. Small Block not only accommodates them but practically welcomes them with open arms. It was one of the originals on the Brunswick Cafe scene (including A Minor Place, Ray and Green Refectory soon to be followed by Gingerlee, El Mirage etc), however it is probably the only one that provides 3 big ticks – highchair, change-table and toys. Throw in some super kid-friendly staff happy to poke out tongues and make silly faces, a spacious back area that can easily accommodate a couple of prams, a very healthy and dee-lish breakfast and lunch menu with plenty of child-friendly options, and a stack of Melbourne’s child mags at the front door and you have yourself one uber cool kid-friendly Brunswick breakkie haunt.
There are only a couple of high-chairs, however that is possibly enough, as this is Brunswick after all where it is much more common to see groovy Mums with baby’s strapped to their chests in Baby Bjorns or cute homemade vintage fabric slings. The highchairs are vintage, and look almost too cute to use. They would look gorgeous on display in a little one’s room with a couple of cute rag dolls and well-loved teddy’s sitting on it.
There are two toilet cubicles, one of which is a spacious disabled toilet and includes a fold-down change-table on the wall.
However the piece de resistance here really has to be the box of toys they provide and the cool giant abacus on the wall. Any new or different toy, no matter how simple or old and tattered, always has a novelty factor and will be a welcome distraction when you are savouring one of Small Block’s very, very good coffees.
The staff are really friendly and just seem like downright nice Brunswick locals. The menu is varied and it all sounds so good that I often cannot decide what to order. It includes the staples – Bircher, fruit toast, toast with spreads, Bagels, as well as a selection of big breakfast’s – my favourite is the Summer Breakfast (eggs, toast, avocado, spinach, Persian fetta and homemade beetroot relish), however I am also partial to the odd serve of French toast with banana and maple syrup –which is sure to be hit with the littlies. For lunch there is a good selection of ciabatta’s, steak sandwhiches etc, as well as specials of tasty soups, pastas and fresh salads. There are plenty of options to suit the whole family.
On the weekends, along with all the other cool cafes (and probably even some of the not so cool) in Brunswick, Small Block can get very, very busy. However as long as you are aware of this in advance then I am sure you won’t mind a little stroll down Lygon st for 10 – 15 mins or so while you wait for a much coveted table. Be patient as it is worth the wait.
There is also a really cute little outdoor area on the pavement of the side St off Lygon which can be fun for the little ones especially if you have a pram, however there is always the risk of being too close to the smokers.