Yesterday my mother-in-law finished her annual summer visit with us, and before she left for the airport we headed to Dixie Browns in Devonport for lunch. We’ve been there before with the kids and we know that it’s superbly child-friendly, so I was really pleased to have an opportunity to go there again and gather information for a review.
Arrival and Entertainment
The staff seated us as soon as we arrived, and when they initially steered us towards a table they happily responded to our request for a booth instead (more space, and fewer escape routes for bored small children). There is a wide assortment of seating options available, which is great: tables and booths inside; tables on the sunny street outside; and more tables in a courtyard garden out the back.
We were given menus straight away, which included colour-in children’s menus and crayons. The kids got to work.
Hattie had a lot on her plate: colouring; chatting; AND supervising her small squirrel child.
The booths are really comfortable, with a lot of upholstering. And it’s just as well, given that you’ll need some time to wade through the enormous menu…
I think the children’s menu is very good: lots of options; really good portion sizes; and great prices. I also really like that most of the meals come with fruit.
Hattie and Joe both chose the Herbivore Toastie, and a glass of apple juice.
Hattie got stuck in, but Joe wasn’t feeling very well and only picked at his lunch. However, the staff were awesome, and offered it to us in a doggy bag to take home.
Choosing the grownups’ lunches was much harder – the menu was A3-sized, double-sided, and full of great-sounding options. My husband and my mother-in-law chose a chicken burger and a bagel respectively:
I had corn fritter so delicious that they deserved their own close-up shot:
We all enjoyed our lunches, and really didn’t need dinner later – the portions are very generous.
To drink, my husband had apple juice, my mother-in-law had a cider, and I had a truly fantastic ginger beer by the Hawke’s Bay Brewing Company – highly recommended:
The kids finished their lunch with some ice cream (yes, Joe was VERY lucky to have ice cream after barely touching his lunch, but the kids are wound up about starting school tomorrow, and we’re being fairly indulgent as a result). He wanted ice cream in a cone, and fortunately Dixie Browns also runs a gelato concession just next door to the restaurant, so he took Daddy out to get that organised, and brought it back in to enjoy in the booth:
Hattie had the ‘Dixie the Clown’ option from the children’s menu. This is supposed to resemble a clown’s face, but to be honest it had obviously been done in a huge hurry, because it was a bit of a mess on this occasion. However, Hattie wasted no time in scoffing it, and when she was finished she declared “Boy, that was yummy!” (and yes, my children really do talk like that – sometimes it’s as if I’ve stumbled into a Famous Five plot)…
What I really enjoyed – other than the good food – was the attentive service, coupled with a total lack of pressure to finish our meal and get on with our day. We relaxed in the booth for a while…
My husband rounded off his meal with what was apparently a good flat white, and I had a hot chocolate. Dixie Browns does fantastic hot chocolates, served as a mug of steamed milk into which you stir a wooden spoon with a huge chunk of chocolate stuck to it. SO GOOD! It was a good substitute to having pudding, and I felt very proud of myself for resisting the pudding options – there are a lot of them, and past experience has taught me that they’re worth leaving room for!
This is a great café to visit with kids. Other than the good menu and the comfortable, child-friendly seating, there were plenty of high chairs – I spotted four, but there might be more – and a changing table in the disabled loo. There’s also a nice selection of cabinet food (mostly sweet), in case you just want to pop in for a quick visit.
The Kiwi Café Kids Verdict
Our repeated visits in recent months are a good indicator: Dixie Browns is a really nice place to take younger children, and the staff are a big reason why – they’re always friendly and helpful, and accommodating of little diners. It’s spacious inside, too, so I think you could find a few tables at which you could park a buggy if you had a really young baby with you. The huge menu also provides a wide variety of choices for kids who are old enough to leave the children’s menu and explore other options. And the food and atmosphere is nice enough for grownups, too. Dixie Browns is well located near the ferry terminal, a playground, and the Devonport Library, which is a wonderful place to while away some time with kids. I definitely recommend it for your next visit to this lovely suburb!