The Grounds of Alexandria (2 Huntley Street, Alexandria)
I was told by numerous people that when I was in Sydney I should take the time out to venture across to The Grounds. I didn’t really know what to expect when I went there, my understanding was that it was a mishmosh of a whole bunch of different things. I was kind of right; but it was still different to what I expected. The Grounds is pretty expansive (although not as big as its name suggests); it is probably the size of a large car parking lot. It is a collection of different eateries and novelty stalls, which are all extremely well thought out and pleasing to the eye. When you arrive I highly recommend a stroll through the area, just so you can get a feel for what’s there and figure out where you want to go.
There are a number of places to eat, but my definite preference was to eat at The Cafe. Again extremely aesthetically pleasing, we were greeted by the maitre D’ and shown to our table, walking past a delicious cabinet of delicious looking pastries, freshly baked bread and sighting a coffee roastery at the back (explaining the naming of The Grounds I expect). We sat down at our tables and didn’t even know where to look next – there was something going on everywhere. It felt like not one inch of the place hadn’t been thought about in its design – everything was just so perfect. The menu was absolutely exquisite, everything looked fresh, fabulous and exciting. We opted for a bunch of different stuff – polenta fries, a deconstructed affogato, a home-brewed soda and a chicken crumbed burger to name a few. Obviously dessert was also ordered – we ordered the chef’s special, which was a random selection of three of the cabinet desserts. They were sensational, as seen in my photos.
After lunch we had a stroll around the courtyard. There were lots of gimmicky little stalls, for example a freshly brewed lemonade stall, a donut stall, and a bakery. There were a bunch of different eateries, for example a burger and milkshake bar, as well as a wood-fired pizza place. There was a florist/gift shop – which was so incredibly beautiful that I wanted to buy everything there. There were a bunch of beautiful photo opportunities, including a wooden cart surrounded in pumpkins, and lots of different plants. No way can I forget the petting zoo – a pig, a goat, a sheep and a number of chickens all there making a home for themselves. There were also a number of picnic tables where you could sit and eat/chat/read etc.
We actually had a bit of time to kill before we had to go to the airport, so we made ourselves at home in The Potting Shed. Fondly known as the local watering hole (pun absolutely intended!) The Potting Shed had the most delightful and artistic drinks menu. We weren’t hungry, but the food looked pretty fabulous too, especially the platters. Nestled amongst some immense shrubbery, we ordered a number of cocktails (we had a rule where the same cocktail couldn’t be ordered twice) and each was as aesthetically pleasing as the last. Of course (that should be in capitals!) I ordered the cocktail that featured a sunflower – I was so disappointed that I wouldn’t be able to take it home to New Zealand with me!
All in all, this place is so incredibly beautiful. For anyone who even marginally considers themselves a foodie, this place is an absolute msut-visit and so worth the detour. You can do as we did and combine it with the airport – it was only about a $20 taxi from The Grounds to get to the airport. I would allow a couple of hours at The Grounds (a minimum of 2) just so you can feel like you have seen everything; there is also outlet shopping down the road if you have additional time.