The Olive Branch Café in Balhannah. Child-friendly dining in the Adelaide Hills!
by Katrina Gogel
The Olive Branch Café is a family owned business located in the small township of Balhannah, in the beautiful Adelaide Hills. With a focus on local produce, community, and relaxed family-friendly dining, this is a wonderful place to pop in for a coffee or lunch on your travels through the Hills.
When we moved to the Hills over seven years ago, I was excited to discover a child-friendly café in town. The Olive Branch not only offers a spacious and enclosed kid’s corner with a couch, toys and books, but also an extensive kids’ menu, weekly kids craft sessions, and school holiday cooking classes. All have been tried and tested!
The café is well loved amongst locals and is only half an hour drive up the Freeway for visitors to the Adelaide Hills. Sadly, the owner of The Olive Branch, Nicole and her family, are just some of the many people who lost their home during the recent Adelaide Hills Cudlee Creek bushfires. Please consider popping in to support businesses such as this, and those in the fire affected towns, who will need our support as they rebuild (when it is safe to do so). Read about how you can support Adelaide Hills businesses here.
Our two boys happily play in the large kids area when we visit, allowing adult conversation without interruption and the chance to read through the local newspaper while enjoying a hot drink. The coffee served here gets a thumbs up from my husband, and being a non-coffee drinker I love that the hot chocolates are made with REAL chocolate (just stir it in!). Scrumptious homemade cakes and biscuits are baked daily, and there’s an enticing coffee and cake special each day on the menu too.
The kid’s menu is fantastic, with numerous healthy options available. Admittedly, my boys often just choose a biscuit and kids milkshake when we visit of a morning or afternoon, but they also love the chicken strips and chips if we are there for lunch or dinner.
While I’ve only got photos from our recent morning tea at the café, we have had many delicious breakfasts, lunches and even dinners here. With over 20 years’ experience working in some of Melbourne’s top establishments, owner and chef Nicole McIntosh certainly knows how to create appetising meals!
As well as dine in, Nicole also offers take home options, which comes in really handy for nights when you don’t have time to cook. She also caters for a range of events (big and small), and since establishment in 2009 has catered well over 1,000 occasions!
If you live locally in the Hills, the supervised kids craft sessions that run during the school term are great. Each Tuesday the children create something different, and while they craft away in the play corner, parents can sit back and relax with a coffee.
Because she’s not busy enough (!!) Nicole also offers school holiday cooking classes, which my eldest son enjoys participating in. Keep an eye on The Olive Branch facebook page for posts with information and times regarding the craft sessions and cooking classes, or see their January 2020 school holiday post below:
The focus on local community at The Olive Branch includes a gallery area which features the works of many talented local artists. Artwork is rotated regularly with many pieces available for purchase. I personally love to visit the café during the month of August, when the artwork from all students at nearby Woodside Primary School is displayed for the annual SALA exhibition.
As well as artwork, Nicole offers a ‘little library’, produce table, a small range of locally produced retail items and hosts live music evenings.
With its relaxed atmosphere and fantastic kids options, the Olive Branch Café is the perfect meeting place in the Adelaide Hills for catch ups with friends and family.
What we like about The Olive Branch Café:
- Casual, relaxed dining
- Very kid-friendly
- Great food, coffee and hot chocolates
- Craft sessions for younger children
- School holiday cooking classes for school aged children
- Friendly staff
Things to consider:
- The cafe is located at the back of Junction Shopping Centre, behind the Balhannah Hotel.
- There is plenty of car parking.
- There are no toilets located inside the cafe, however keys are available to use the shopping centre toilets which are a 1-minute walk from the cafe entrance. The toilets have baby changing facilities.
- The Olive Branch is open 7 days, however it pays to check their facebook page for up-t0-date opening times, especially during long weekends and forecast catastrophic bushfire days.
Junction Shopping Centre, 84 Onkaparinga Valley Road, Balhannah (approx. 30-minutes drive from Adelaide)
For more information and all enquiries please visit The Olive Branch Café website or facebook page
What: The Olive Branch Cafe
When: Daily from 8.30am (check website/facebook page for up-t0-date opening times)
Where: Junction Shopping Centre | 84 Onkaparinga Valley Rd, Balhannah
Who: Anyone, but families in particular will enjoy a visit here!
At Play & Go Adelaide we make every effort to provide accurate information to the best of our knowledge at the time of publication. We recommend confirming times, dates and details directly before making any plans as details may be subject to change.
Image Source: All photos by Katrina Gogel
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