I am a freelance reviewer in Sydney, and lover of sharing my experiences in all things food, wine, entertainment and travel related.
Published November 26th 2012
Setting the grounds for an industrial chic cafe
The inner city suburb of Alexandria is fast becoming a popular up-and-coming spot for restaurants and cafes, notably since the launch of popular eatery The Grounds, which has recently been awarded the Best new Café for 2012.
The priority here is the 'grounds', in both senses of the word – the venue itself and the coffee.
The café is housed in a former warehouse which has been transformed into an industrial chic and rustic style café. It has its own coffee roasting facility on site, large bakery, and an organic kitchen garden fully equipped with live chickens, herbs and a vegetable patch, from which many ingredients are sourced for the menu.
The outdoor garden also opts as an outside area for takeaway meals, and as a waiting room for patrons who are on the list to get a table inside the much-hyped cafe.
Arriving for late lunch at 3pm on a Saturday afternoon, the wait is only about 15 minutes as the place closes at 4pm, but the place is still bustling with people, so this is a good sign that the food and coffee is decent.
Alternatively you can go for a stroll around the area which has great market stalls and a deli nearby while you wait for your buzzer to beep for your admittance.
Staff are quick and attentive as the turnaround in this place is busy.
Once inside, I opt for a seasonal fresh juice for $6, and the drink arrives at the table straight from the garden and served in a cute glass jar.
The Wagyu Beef Burger with Beer Battered Fries for $18 is an excellent choice from the lunch menu. The bread is a beautiful and freshly baked brioche bun, and is filled with lettuce, cheese, dill mayonnaise and the meat patty. It is one of the most tasty hamburgers I have sampled. It arrives on a wooden chopping board, served with the piping hot, and crispy gold fries, with a chilli mayonnaise sauce.
The Chicken Baguette for $14 is also another good choice, and features spiced, deep fried chicken, in a fresh focaccia style bread with salad, tomatoes and spicy mayonnaise. In summary, it is reminiscent of a high quality Zinger burger from KFC.
With good food and coffee, in a unique and beautiful setting, The Grounds has the perfect venue for breakfast or brunch.
The only downside the time you're likely to wait to get a table. Bearing this in mind, turn up early, plan a weekday visit or go outside of peak hours. Otherwise head over anytime and pack your patience while you sit in the outdoor café, or grab something from the takeaway menu.
The Grounds is a wholesome and unique café with top notch food and coffee in a sanctuary surrounding that is well worth a visit.