If you’re after a leisurely, quiet Sunday lunch with your dearly beloved, then The Ranch isn’t the place for you.
But… if you’re after a family-friendly, well-priced, fun time with the kids that will have them making comments about ‘when we go back next time’ (thanks Mr 4), then The Ranch Hotel in North Ryde is where it’s at – afterall, it’s where all the superheroes hang out!
We are not a family who dines in public often, mostly because my husband and I worry about ‘those looks’ from other diners about what our boys are or aren’t doing and that doesn’t make for a pleasant experience for anyone. Also dining with the pre-school set lends itself to ‘I don’t like that’ and ‘I want ice cream’. So it was with the trepidation of someone contemplating root canal therapy that we approached our Sunday lunch. We needn’t have worried. At The Ranch our two boys (4 and 2) were so busy they didn’t have a chance to act up. Between the jumping castle, play area, iPads, colouring-in, superheroes and face painting there is so much for the kids to do that disturbing the peace just isn’t an option.
Finding somewhere to eat that will satisfy small children, parents and grandparents can be difficult – there just aren’t many options that don’t include a drive through service and small plastic toys. Going out is a treat and I don’t want my kids eating rubbish. The Ranch use what I think is a clever way for parents to make decisions about the health value of the meal they choose for the kids – the children’s menu is colour-coded to give parents an idea of the nutritional value of the meal they’re ordering for the kids. The added bonus? Kids eat free for lunch with an adult meal over $17.
I think that one of the difficulties in eating out with the preschool set is that they quickly become bored whilst waiting for their food to arrive and therefore get into mischief. It took 16 minutes from ordering our food to it being ready. In that time my boys had tested out the jumping castle, the play area and were then onto the colouring-in. When presented with their lunch, they’d worked up an appetite so sat quietly eating their meal.
After this it was time for face painting with the amazingly talented and patient Amber from FaceOff. This was very popular with most of the children there and the creations were amazing. If you plan a visit to The Ranch and think the kids would like this done, I’d suggest booking (there’s a list) as soon as the face artist arrives; she is very busy.
So what’s in it for the adults? Busy, happy, hungry kids. Large decent meals which are well priced. I had the seafood basket and my husband had the mixed roast; a serious amount of meat and veg. It’s licensed. The dessert portions are large – the black forrest cake was larger than I could handle (this is a time when sharing dessert is actually okay). The coffee is good.
All in all we had a great, albeit busy time and many other families appeared to be enjoying themselves too. We’ll be back.
DISCLOSURE: Melissa and her family were treated to lunch at The Ranch for free in return for writing a review on northshoremums.com.au. However, Melissa has given her honest opinions on her experience with the business.
Click on the image below to join The Ranchies Kids Club.