A place that came highly recommended by many local guides, the Grounds of Alexandria is located in a beautifully refurbished industrial district dating back to the 1920s. A rather large space that will take you a whole morning or afternoon to explore, there’s a cafe, a grocer, bar, coffee roaster and a kitchen garden. Unfortunately, having landed rather late in Sydney, we reached the area when it’s pretty close to closing, even though it was still sporting a strong bustle.
Naturally the first spot to turn to, the indoor seating area of the cafe was super packed even near closing. We had to take a number and was advised that it would be a 30 – 45 minute wait to our dismay – which would have passed the last order timing. We were told that we could do take-outs and sit at the charming outdoor area but we decided to wing it and lucky for us, we got a seat within 10 minutes.
Grilled squid fattoush
Lauded for the freshest produce in a seasonal menu supplied by their own garden, the menu was an eclectic mix of different ethnic cuisines ranging from middle-eastern tastes to the familiar Aussie style. Plan with mind that there’s a different breakfast, brunch and lunch menu and what you want to eat will be pegged to what time you decide to get there. We had the grilled squid fattoush (A$18) and the breakfast burger (A$17) together with a splash of their home-roasted coffee (A$5). The squid was very tasty and well-done, not overcooked and rubbery but there it was kinda over-salted. The burger’s really juicy and the polenta chips are an amazing accompaniment with an aioli dip.
The coffee’s good, but not great. There are many other cafes in the Sydney CBD that can probably pull coffee better than this, but kudos to keeping everything together in such a large establishment.
Rest of the grounds
I wanted dessert at the cafe, but by the time we were done with our mains, they had sold out for the day. 🙁 Thankfully, there was a fresh donut stand outside that was rather popular with the patrons from the long lines. We ordered a nutella and cinnamon, and raspberry donut – and to our dismay, it wasn’t as good as what the line represented. The dough was dry and wasn’t tasty, and the fillings failed to make an impact – like how can you go wrong with Nutella? I’d advise you to skip this, or just order one just to see what the hype’s all about.
For the serious cooks, there’s a grocers that sell mostly locally produced ingredients and condiments with a few small kitchens serving various fares as well, a good alternative should you not be able to get a seat at the cafe. And to make someone’s day extra special, the fresh flowers at the florist will be sure to bring a cheer.
Getting to The Grounds of Alexandria isn’t easy though. We weren’t feeling especially adventurous so we took a taxi straight from Martin Place in the CBD, which cost A$32. When we were headed back, we found a bus service that takes us back to the CBD for A$3.80 only. Naturally, we took that choice, and what’s great was that the terminating stop was the harbour area, another great spot to kick back and soak up the sunset.
The Grounds of Alexandria (Map)
Building 7A, 2 Huntley St,
Alexandria, NSW, 2015
Tel: +61 (2) 9699 2225
Reservations: Click here to make separate reservations for The Potting Shed and The Cafe
Hours: Mon to Fri 7am to 4pm | Sat & Sun 7.30am to 4pm
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