A foodie’s dream restaurant with a lit-up mega playground

THE GROUNDS, 8-14 Henderson Valley Rd, Henderson, Auckland 0612

Need to know


If you’re looking for a combination of memorable food (we’re talking seriously delicious) and an international standard playground for the kids, you’ll love The Grounds. Tucked away at Whoa! Studios in Henderson Valley, it’s the answer to your prayers, parents – a haven where good food meets entertained kids.

If you’re a foodie family, then you’ll be lured in with sharing plates, family style. Must-tries include the grilled Szechuan hapuka pancake with crispy onions, and the grilled squid salad with feta and salsa verde – yum! The kids’ menu includes mini versions of the grownup fare. Finish your meal with their famous handcrafted ice-cream blocks from the tuck shop, a colourful feast for the eyes and the palate. It’s hard to decide whether to choose hokey pokey or fresh strawberry and white chocolate (a standout), or maybe green apple? Check out the menu here.

Sunday night is burger and ribs night – not your standard ol’, of course, but scrumptious and innovative flavours that the kids will also enjoy. It’s also a fun night for families, with live music and the dance floor set up. Check out who’s playing and delight the kids with a bit of music and dancing.

With two dads (and top chefs) Mike Shatura and Ben Bayly (of My Kitchen Rules fame) in charge of food, and Whoa! Studios in charge of play, it’s no surprise the winning combination of food and fun works so well. Fair to say that when it comes to getting it right for parents and kids, this place has thought it through.

The playground is lit up for evening meals and you’ll find kids of all ages playing on the giant crochet web, rocket ship, dragon’s castle, and pirates cove. Tots love the space and the creative play, but teens are also well entertained with challenging climbing on the web, mini tramps, and room to run. There’s even more to come, so keep an eye out for fun new additions. And for the best news – there’s no charge for kids in the evening.

Our verdict?

The Grounds is a must if youre in Auckland or visiting. It’s such amazing food, and so easy for families. Kids are safe, everyone is well fed, and parents get a breather as well as time to have fun with the kids.

The Grounds is open for breakfast lunch and dinner, Mon/Tues/Wed 9am till 3pm (holidays 9am till 6pm), Thurs/Fri/Sat 9am till 9pm, and Sun 9am till 8pm. Phone 09 393 8448.
Restaurant and playground well set up for prams and nappy changing facilities available. Playground FREE in the evenings,  or $10 per child for unlimited play (under 3’s free) during the day.
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