The Golden Ox succeeded in satisfying some discerning diners this week — my three young children.
Penelope, 9; Phoebe, 7; and Ashton, 4; were treated to lunch on Sunday and raved about their meals and the whole experience of eating out in a `proper’ restaurant.
Usually, we head out for sushi or bowls of cheerful noodles so my fingers were crossed they would have the patience to sit quietly, without becoming bored or restless, while we waited for our meals.
Further, I hoped they would find something on the menu they would not only eat, but would want to eat.
I need not have worried about a thing.
The Children’s Menu offers five delicious meals, all under a tenner, with cute names such as Henny Penny (crumbed chicken breast), Captain Nemo (lightly crumbed barramundi fillets) and Dinosaur Steak (grilled beef fillet).
Initially, we had planned to have fish and chips by the beach since we spent the morning at the Settlement Cove Lagoon, only a few minutes’ drive away, so the children still wanted seafood.
Two couldn’t decide between Captain Nemo and flash-fried calamari rings so our request to have the kitchen share those meals among two plates was happily carried out.
All came with a garden salad and chips so moreish, us adults couldn’t help but steal two or three!
The servings were generous and barramundi and calamari so tender. They managed to get through most of their meals — even little Ashton — and I’m pretty sure my husband was secretly glad he was enlisted to help them clean their plates!
I had chosen the Fisherman’s Feast from the Lunch Menu and as a mother, I was impressed the children’s seafood was of the same high quality as mine. Which is how it should be. It saddens me when some restaurants present kiddy menus offering sub-standard, deep-fried fare that would not cut the mustard with an adult.
The friendly and efficient service also enhanced our experience. Our cheerful waitress Michelle made the children feel special by remembering — and using — their names when refilling our water glasses, serving our bread and bringing our meals.
Owners Nick and Virginia Tzimas had plenty of smiles for the kids and Nick delighted in telling Penelope about the Greek origins of her name.
Happily, we didn’t have to wait long for our meals (always a blessing when children are expected to sit still for a while) and bringing the kids’ meals out first scored The Golden Ox yet more brownie points.
The artwork on the walls kept the children amused as they took turns in choosing their favourites and the girls, both budding pianists, were impressed by the baby grand.
Penelope spoke on behalf of her siblings when she declared: “This food. It’s amazing!’’
And that was before dessert!
Ashton played it safe and asked for the ice-cream sundae — a scoop of vanilla ice-cream smothered in rich, chocolate sauce — on the Children’s Menu, but the girls ventured into grown-up territory, keen to try their first creme caramel. They were suitably impressed.
A Bridal Open Day was being held when we visited so before we left, Michelle kindly showed us the Monet and Renoir events rooms all set up for a wedding, with a variety of table and floral decorations and colourful seat sashes on display just waiting to inspire newlyweds-to-be.
We went downstairs to see the Wedding Gardens, too, and the children were all “oohs’’ and “aahs’’ by the red carpet, Monet’s Bridge and waterfalls nestled among the gardens.
The Golden Ox may be renowned as a destination restaurant among seasoned diners but there is no reason to leave the children at home next time you visit.
by Wendy Larter
Ladies who lunch: Wendy, Penelope and Phoebe indulge in decadent desserts.