The Trop (as it’s known by loyal locals) is a Sydney institution, home of the Tropfest film festival, it has been in operation since the early 1980’s. It’s a hub of early morning cyclists, after gym bunnies, laptop users, hipster poseurs and minor celebrities. On weekdays in the early evenings it’s a place where work suited parents feed their kids on the way home, after picking them up from childcare.
At first glance it’s plain but clean décor doesn’t seem like the usual kid friendly option – but it is. I have been taking my kids there since they were born and it’s perfect because it is huge and bustling, easily absorbing loud kiddie yelps, voices and tears. There are high chairs and a bank of TV monitors which provide colour and movement to distract griping young ones, even if it is often the MTV gyrating kind of programming! This is either a plus or a minus depending on your parenting style, but at least the volume is turned off.
One of the kid friendly strengths of the Tropicana is its Italian style, extensive menu. There is something for everyone from 5am in the morning to 11pm at night, including alcohol for the adults. There are a number of dishes on the kids’ menu, which are scaled down versions of the adults’ fare, such as risottos, pastas ($6.50 -$8.50) and breakfasts ($8.40.) Plus many of the salads ($8.70 – $15.90) and dishes come in both small and large portions to suit all appetites, as does the daily soup which is served in a handy mug ($5. 50). There are also side dishes, which are perfect for young ones, such as the brushetta with bocconcini ($6.50) or potato wedges with sour cream ($6.50)
On our most recent trip my son opted for the fish and chips ($14.90) which was new to the menu, and absolutely delicious with very moist and fresh fish in a crispy crumbed coating. The Trop is also a winner because of it’s neighbour – the 1910 fire station. Young auto fanatics can gawp at the engines close up and if the fireman on duty isn’t too busy, it’s not unheard of to be given a prized seat in the truck and a siren to play with!