Artisan Cafe, Blackwood

by Alex on January 13, 2012

in Restaurant Reviews

artisan Artisan Cafe, Blackwood

photo by emmapink

A relatively early morning coffee (and cake, of course) at the Artisan Café in Blackwood. I’d suggested it as an alternative to another Blackwood café, mainly because I like to try new places (er, yes, I’m a bit obsessed with that) and it seems to be quite well loved on Urban Spoon.

The café is a lovely spacious area, and there are plenty of outside tables. The chairs are even upholstered. How civilised. There was a high chair in place (we were three adults and three one year olds) and baby no 1 was part way through demolishing a croissant. It all augured so well.

Coffees and cakes ordered, it was then that the first mother to arrive commented on how unwelcoming the menu had been. And there, on I guess what might be called the menu’s frontispiece, was indeed a full page screed outlining the circumstances under which children and their parents or carers may be asked to leave the café.

Now let’s get this straight: this is a café. It’s not a fine dining establishment – it’s a café, where people go for coffee, cake and a chat.

One of these circumstances is an infant being ‘inconsolable’. Now, I’m not sure how many parents out there actually enjoy being out with an inconsolable child. Certainly not me. If my baby gets upset, or even a little tired or grizzly, I’m incredibly conscious of the fact that he might be disturbing others and there have been plenty of occasions where I’ve taken him for a walk around the block or rushed out to stock up on bananas to feed him. There was even one meal out, when he was very young, where Andy and I ate in shifts while the other walked him around the block and we left as soon as possible.

Of course, we all know that there are parents out there who would let their little treasures run amok, screaming and throwing food, and most people would consider that unacceptable. In those circumstances, I have no problems with staff asking those people and their children to leave. However, all that Artisan’s little list of rules did was make three paying customers feel uncomfortable and on edge every time one of their children made the tiniest peep.

Coffee and food wise: I ordered a cafe latte, a slice of panforte and a piece of Turkish delight. That little selection cost $7.10, which I thought was very reasonable – especially as it was all good and very prettily presented. The staff were friendly and efficient.

Such a shame about the attitude towards children.  It’s interesting to note that Artisan’s management feels no need to prescribe behaviour for adults – so if you want to go along, have a coffee and talk loudly down your phone, please feel free to do so.

minilink Artisan Cafe, Blackwood

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Stewart Johnson January 13, 2012 at 7:56 pm

This is pretty similar wording to the signage at my local library and at the Qantas Lounge at Melbourne and Sydney airports. I think the wording is firm and polite.

There are folks in society who don’t like having coffee with kids around them disturbing them. I’m not one of them, but surely we should tolerate and accept those people?

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Alex January 14, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Thanks for commenting and sorry for the delaying in approving the comment & replying.

I’m pretty horrified (albeit not surprised) that a library would have to spell out behaviour for anyone!

Our view was that the fact that the message took up a whole page, right at the front of the menu, was what was so shocking.

Unfortunately, when you’re out having a coffee any number of things can disturb you or impact negatively on the experience and, when you’re in a public place, I think all parties have to exercise a bit of give and take. If you really and truly want to be undisturbed then you really do have to have your coffee at home!

I would have had no problem if the cafe had had a humorous sign at the counter (you know, those ones along the lines of “unattended children will be given an espresso/red cordial and a kitten and handed back”). But a whole page of the menu dedicated to requesting a certain type of behaviour from a small segment of society?

The irony of it all is that as I was in a cafe I actually had no intention of looking at the menu!

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craig February 6, 2012 at 9:46 pm

we should tolerate poor parents who cannot leave kids home too stewart….they have lives too

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Cal January 14, 2012 at 1:01 pm

First thing i might say, is that this little disclaimer of theirs is clearly not aimed at responsible people like you who, as you stated,are “incredibly conscious of the fact that he might be disturbing others”. However there are people amongst us who ignore the rights of hospitality staff and fellow customers as they ignore or are simply incapable of dealing with their own child.

I am a new father and like you am mindful of how my child’s crying/behaviour might affect other people yet he can scream right in my ear and I wouldn’t find it the least bit annoying.

As a career hospitality worker, I have worked in some of the busiest and best cafe’s in Adelaide and Europe, and from this point of view i cannot agree with the opinion in question more; a little baby-ish cooing and a little dropped food, even a broken plate or two is fine, it’s part of the job, but there are circumstances in which it would be more appropriate for the parents to be responsible and leave. In most general cafes parents with children make up about 3% of the customer base, so spend the first 3 years of your child’s life in theatrebugs or wiggly worms, it’s not a huge sacrifice is it?

From a personal point of view i do agree with you that this note comes across a little brash, but i would re-assure you that i don’t believe this note is directed at you but at those inconsiderate few in today’s complex society who have no regard for others and require explicit direction.

After all, it is a nice quiet cafe, where most if not all of the food is hand made and locally grown, and even some of the decor is hand made especially for this establishment, hence the name ‘Artisan’, and did you notice the regularly changing, for-sale, local artwork on the walls? It’s no hungry jacks.

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Alex January 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Hi Cal & thanks for commenting! You must be a super new father if you can have a baby screaming in your ear and it not bug you! Congrats on your new arrival!

As I said in my reply to Stewart, I think the request could have been handled in a more humorous and less heavy handed manner. I also suspect that inconsiderate parents either wouldn’t have bothered reading the ‘instructions’ or would have felt they didn’t apply to them.

In the past 13 months I’ve taken the baby to loads of restaurants and cafes and I’ve never, ever seen anything like this. If I have any doubts about how baby-appropriate a venue is, I always ring ahead – I figure that saves embarrassment for everyone.

Personally, I’m not big on hordes of small children (!) and I have a sneaking suspicion that places like TheatreBugs might be chock full of parents letting their little ones run amok so I’m kind of frightened of them. I also want to make sure my son grows up knowing how to behave in public – because if there’s anything worse than a screaming child when out and about, it’s the boorish grown up who thinks the world revolves around him or her! And I’m sure working in hospitality you’d have plenty of good stories to tell on that count …

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rich February 6, 2012 at 2:44 am

That seems unnecessary to me, and would make me think twice about eating there with my (extremely well behaved!) kids.

The thing is, if there’s a problem, the owner should just deal with it there and then. No need for full page lists of terms and conditions for buying a cup of coffee.

The thing is, it’ll hurt them in the end. People will start talking about ‘that place with the thing about kids’, and all the parents in the schoolyard will nod, knowing exactly where they mean. They’ll find somewhere else, perhaps the place across the road that’s latched onto the opportunity to be overtly family friendly….

It’s important that children go to cafes and restaurants. It teaches them about life, about standards of behaviour, about going out and having a good time. We eat out with our kids all the time, although really only in appropriate places (Wagamama does very well out of us, for example), although my eldest (nine years old) expressed a wish to dine at The Box Tree in Ilkley the other day, which I think might be a stretch….

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Karl July 22, 2012 at 3:02 pm

I don’t mind paying the exhorbitant charges for food and beverage at cafes. After all they have extremely high overheads. But I don’t see why I should have to endure someone’s screaming sprog at the same time.

Rich are you for real? “It’s important that children go to cafes and restaurants it teaches them about life, about standards of behaviour” Absolute bollocks! I was not taken into cafes when I was young and it certainly did not inhibit my social skills later in life. Your comment is self serving to say the least.

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Alex July 22, 2012 at 8:01 pm

I agree with Rich that children need to eat out so that they know how to behave when in those situations. The real problem is parents that don’t deal with the “screaming sprog”. Yesterday I was in a shopping centre and in the food court a child was running amok (literally – it was running all over the bench seating) and there wasn’t a parent in sight. That is just totally unacceptable.

Unfortunately, bad behaviour isn’t limited to children or permissive parents. And Artisan Cafe has just recently been in the news here in SA (not sure if you’re in SA or not, Karl) because a 59 year old woman poured tea over the head of another patron!

Kind of makes a grotty child seem all that bit more bearable!

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