By: David Hawkins
Going out for dinner was such a simple and relaxing thing to do… before I had kids. Now the mere suggestion leaves me rocking, foetus-like, in a corner. The brand new team at Safety Beach dining spot, The New Atrium, believe that they have solved every parent’s dilemma and invited my clan of chaos to discover why they believe it’s the go-to venue for family eating.
The New Atrium has had a revamp with new management, new staff, a new chef and an all-new menu. In case you missed it, there’s a lot of new going on here! This was my first visit to the venue and I was agog at the grand driveway with hedge & water-feature roundabout at the entrance as we drove in; it all looked a bit too fancy for my family to be allowed entry. The building sits beside the local golf course and is towered over by palm trees.
We stepped in through the sliding doors and were welcomed immediately by a lovely, friendly waiter. She chatted to the kids and guided us to our table, which looked a little strange. It had regular chairs on one side and a bench seat on the other, though not against a wall. The kids clambered straight onto the bench and showed me why this different approach had been taken; it was made especially for the height-challenged youthful customers. The bench had been built extra high so that children could feel like a part of the group, sitting naturally at the table and not having to be isolated in a high chair. My kids loved this. Brilliant!
Honestly though, they only managed to stay in their seat for a matter of seconds because they spotted the centerpiece of The New Atrium’s kid-friendly setup: an enormous Kids Zone. It is a large room filled with a huge plastic structure just right for climbing, crawling, sliding and playing all over. Imagine four or five McDonalds play-areas mashed together. What more does a parent really need than a safe, contained space where the tiny terrors can go completely mental, without annoying all of the other diners? And, if your kids are older than mine, there is also a coin-operated anteroom with a two-player Daytona machine, air hockey table and claw-challenge games.
With the sounds of our tiny clones gleefully occupied, Phenom-A-Mum and I settled in to the dining space, looking up to find a huge dome stretching over the top of the tables. It is really nice to sit in a room flooded with daylight, but protected from harsh sunlight by the hanging shades. The magic of the outside in the comfort of being inside.
What comes next? What else? Food!
Looking at the brand new menu on offer, I discovered that it covered traditional fare of starters, salads, pizza, pasta, meat & seafood; The kind of menu filled with familiar and comforting foods like chicken parma, roast of the day and a seafood basket . This worried me. I’ve encountered these dishes before in ‘family-dining’ establishments and ended up eating pretty crappy food that seemed as if the bulk had come from the freezer section of Aldi. The same goes with the kids’ meals such as spaghetti Bolognese or nuggets and chips.
We ordered, sat back and in a very short time the kids’ meals arrived. Wow, that was quick… I was even more concerned that we’d just been dumped with two plates straight out of the microwave.
And I was WRONG!
In front of our boys were two massive servings of well-presented food that smelled yum. The fish & chips had two big pieces of fresh fish in a light batter and our toddler’s calamari & chips contained real, huge chunks of calamari. No frozen rubbish here! Even more impressive, the chips had very little salt on them; just enough to add flavor but keeping the importance of a low-salt diet for children in mind. I don’t know how good quality fare is delivered so quickly but the new chef at The New Atrium is working wonders. Did I mention that the kids meals also include an ice-cream or frog-in-the-pond and are only $7.50 each? (price correct at time of printing).
As the boys munched into their meals the adult dishes arrived, beautifully presented and delicious. Phenom-A-Mum had the veal special and I had chosen the barramundi, and nailed it! We both thoroughly enjoyed our food, even more when our monkeys finished early and ran off to tackle the play-area once more.
What could have been better than the food? The amazing staff who were super kid-friendly and extra attentive throughout. Each of the staff went out of their way to talk to the boys and make sure that we were all being well looked after. It seems to be rare these days to have such wonderful service from every person you meet and the new management has clearly worked hard to ensure that their team is the best.
Beyond dinner, The New Atrium is also a full-service function centre and is a great place to host children’s birthday parties or family get-togethers. The large function space can hold up to 240 people or be sectioned off for smaller gatherings; it is a multi-purpose space for all events. Kids’ parties only need a minimum of 10 children and include party food and lolly bags. If you really want to be looked after, the wonderful event team can organise special extras such as a guest entertainer, face painting or even a mini-golf package. The New Atrium is ready to offer you a completely “hands-off” experience so that you can finally enjoy your child’s birthday!
For the first time in a long time, my family had a great night out without the usual stress of a restaurant trip with kids. Yummy food, a kids play paradise and the most lovely service proved to us that The New Atrium is definitely the place to take your family for an affordable and relaxing experience.
For birthday parties or event bookings, contact Meggan Ritchie on 03 5981 8123 or firstname.lastname@example.org
David Hawkins is a Peninsula based stay-at-home-dad who realised that he needed to improve his Dadding. So he set himself the simple task of being an Awesome Dad. He now challenges all dads to be Awesome Dads, by doing something out-of-the-ordinary with their kids.