By Greedy Financier
Following the release of The SMH Good Café Guide 2012 a few weeks ago, I thought it would be appropriate to post a café entry. Awarded Best New Café 2012 is The Grounds of Alexandria.
The Grounds of Alexandria Signage
I’m liking the onslaught of these industrial style cafés. They offer much more than just good coffee and food – but also an amazing eating space. After my first failed attempt at getting a table at The Grounds, I was determined to try again. Second time round, we only had to wait 15 or so minutes for a table! It seemed everyone before us gave up on waiting, and hence we were able to nab a table pretty quickly.
The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe
The Grounds Garden
As I said, The Grounds is an amazing eating space. The café itself sits inside a converted industrial warehouse, with very much a rustic feel. Attached to it is a garden which feels more like an inner city farm. There are herbs, fruit and vegetables – and even chickens!
Herb and Vegetable Garden
It’s hard to believe that such a garden is sitting in the industrial precinct of Alexandria, and with its high black wrought iron fence, it felt like some sort of hidden secret garden.
The Grounds Direction Signage
The ‘Secret Garden’
We missed the breakfast menu, but the lunch menu sounded just as appetizing. I ordered The Grounds Burger, and the bf, smoked trout with scrambled eggs.
Inside The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe
I also ordered an iced mocha – to which the waitress said she didn’t think they made iced mochas, but would get them to make one anyway. It arrived in a plastic takeaway cup, and after taking one sip, I could tell that they didn’t indeed make iced mochas. It tasted like a normal coffee, but with no hint of chocolate, and a rather unusual taste – which I couldn’t quite describe. But I have heard the coffee itself is good.
My burger arrived in all its glory on a wooden cutting board with a side of chips. The chips were awesome – they reminded me of the Boathouse chips – hand cut, probably twice cooked, crispy on the outside, fluffy on the inside and well-seasoned.
The Grounds Burger with Chips
The burger, on the other hand, didn’t taste as good as it looked. The rocket and lashings of mustard made the burger very peppery, and the beef patty was too rare for my liking.
The Grounds Burger
I didn’t taste the bf’s trout, but he said while it was nice, it wasn’t spectacular.
Smoked Trout & Scrambled Eggs on Sourdough Toast
As we were pretty full, we decided to order a lemon tart to take away.
Cakes & Pastries on Display
It was at this point that the service disintegrated. Throughout our meal, we had been served by three different waitresses who didn’t seem to communicate with each other. We asked one waitress (number 1) to pack a tart to take away and get our bill, and she promptly returned with the bill but no lemon tart. Another waitress (number 2) took our money, and we were then left sitting there after we had paid our bill. After a few minutes, we realised the tart wasn’t coming, so asked a different waitress (number 3!) for our tart – she looked at us confused, went to go consult waitress number 2, came back and asked which waitress served us, left again, and after some more commotion, finally came back with our tart. If that seemed confusing – it was!
I had the tart later that afternoon, and I have to say it was pretty nice. It was on a puff pastry base, and had a firm but lovely tangy lemon curd with candied rind on top.
The Grounds Garden Shed
The Grounds of Alexandria is definitely a space to experience. While the food may not be remarkable, it is nonetheless nice. The real attraction of the place, however, is definitely the grounds itself. Explore the garden, smell the herbs, and sit back and relax in the converted warehouse – it’s a great atmosphere to have breakfast or lunch in, and catch up with a few friends.
The Grounds of Alexandria
Monday to Friday 7.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday to Sunday 8.00am – 3.00pm
Ph: +61 2 9699 2225
2 Huntley Street