Brunch with the Chickens at Brother Hen (the Kids Will Love it!)
- Mums & Bubs
Yep, a real chicken coop in a real Melbourne cafe - it's a thing!
And it's a thing the kids thought was "totally cool, mum!" as they checked out the happy chooks in the courtyard of Brother Hen in Moonee Ponds - some of which were quite a bit heftier than our fowl folk at home!
We popped in for a spot of lunch on a spring Thursday afternoon and had the courtard area almost to ourselves. The weather was warm(ish, this is Melbourne in October after all!), but every single table is heated if necessary, which is definitely necessary in winter if you ask me! There was plenty of room for prams, babies, families, and fun.
You're going to have a hard time choosing what to eat at Brother Hen, as everything sounds complex, interesting, and utterly delicious. From all-day breakfasts featuring fire-toasted sourdough (yes please), salad bowls, baked eggs, bircher, ham hock eggs benedict, and zucchini-halloumi fritters to lunches of towering burgers (beef and southern-fried chicken), spicy bao buns, tacos and chips.
Dinner is served on Friday nights with a menu similar to lunch but with the fun addition of sweet bao buns and churros for dessert!
On the kids' menu (adorably called "for the little hatchlings", you'll find waffles, hot cakes, egg and toast (poached or fried, bacon optional), and chicken strips or fish and chips, prices starting at $5.50 for a ham and cheese or cheese and tomato toastie.
Brother Hen is a licenced venue so you can grab a beer, wine or cider, or stick to the usual coffee, tea, milkshakes, smoothies, cold-pressed juices and iced drinks. They feature a delicious cinnamon-y turmeric latte, and I'm reliably told the coffee is outstanding.
We opted for a long black ($3.80), organic turmeric latte ($4.50) and babycinos ($1.50ea) to start, and the girls shared a kids' toastie ($5.50) and a bowl of beer-battered chips ($8, the aioli was outstanding).
The adults had the shakshuka with harissa, eggplant and peppers, smoked almonds, labne, coriander and charred Turkish bread ($18.90) and the spicy tofu bao: soft, pillowy steamed bao buns filled with crispy tofu, house pickled carrot and cucumber, fresh Asian herbs, peanuts, spring onion and gojuchang mayo ($15 for two).
We also watched greedily while the kids polished off a waffle with ice cream and chocolate sauce from the Hatchlings menu ($8.50) for dessert!
Kids Will Love
The cool menu, the great toys, and the happy, clucking chickens.
Relaxed and friendly, and the front section has a great buzz. Seems like a fabulous place to grab a quick takeaway drink as the service is super-efficient.
In a Nutshell
What makes the cafe kid-friendly - kid's play area in the kitchen-garden courtyard, a chicken coop full of friendly chickens, dedicated kids menu, high chairs, friendly, kid-focused staff
Atmosphere – Upbeat in the front cafe, and relaxed in the courtyard
The Food – Utterly delicious, everyone very happy!
Value-for-Money – Moderate - the kids' menu is very well-priced for Melbourne
Special features and Fun bits Relaxing courtyard, great toys, and of course the chickens! Not somethig you see in every cafe.
Who is the cafe best suited for? - Singles, couples and families with kids of all ages
What did you love – The service, the kids' menu and the chill vibe. Could definitely see ourselves coming back again, especially for dinner!
What You Need to Know
Opening Times: 7am - 4pm Monday - Thursday, 7am - 9pm Friday, 7.30am - 9pm Saturday, 8am - 4pm Sunday