Bite-sized Summary: A Sydney institution loved by tourists and locals alike, The Grounds is popular as ever. Here you’ll find a playground of whimsical gardens, carts selling fresh pastries, homemade lemonade and hot jam donuts, as well as a pig named Kevin Bacon. Perhaps this grandiose environment created too much expectation for the food, which unfortunately failed to meet the mark for us.
We arrived at The Grounds as it opened early on a Saturday, and were amazed at how many people were already waiting to be seated at the Cafe! As with all of their venues, they’ve created an exceptionally beautiful space featuring exposed brick walls, and timber beams across the high ceiling. Loaves of fresh bread and glossy pastries line the counter, big pickling jars filled with fruit and potted plants decorate benchtops and the warm aroma of roasted coffee wafts through the air. Although this is not my first time at The Grounds, it never ceases to amaze me in this regard.
The Grounds Big Brekkie
For the two hungry guys in our group, ‘The Grounds Big Brekkie’ ($24) was their dish of choice. Consisting of spiced chorizo and Serrano ham with braised organic white beans, cherry tomatoes, soft poached egg, hollandaise sauce, crackling, piquillo, halloumi, smoked baby peppers, avocado, and toast from The Grounds Bakery. The consensus was that it was a good meal, but nothing special, and absolutely not worth the $24 price tag. I tasted many of the elements, including the crackling and braised organic white beans (fancy baked beans), all of which were under-seasoned. The crackling especially tasted like it hadn’t been salted at all, the end result was something similar to a foam packing peanut…
Sautéed Herbed Mushrooms
For myself, I opted for the Sautéed Herbed Mushrooms with spinach, gruyere potato rosti, soft poached free-range egg, nuts and seeds ($22). Considering the $2 difference between this dish and the Big Breakfast (which was already was overpriced in our opinion), I found this to be very disappointing. First of all, the spinach was replaced with kale without any mention and I found it (again!) to be under-seasoned. The potato rosti tasted okay but was quite soggy underneath the other elements. The most disappointing part was that despite ordering a mushroom dish, I had to move the kale around to even find any 😦 There were about five little pieces of mushroom, which tasted delicious but may as well have not even been there. Despite the above, it was a pleasant dish in terms of taste, however, extremely underwhelming especially considering the price tag.
I can absolutely understand why The Grounds of Alexandria is so popular. Visually, it is incredibly stunning, with lots of little nooks to explore. Kids will love visiting the farm animals and the playground, and adults will enjoy a bite to eat and a drink in the Cafe or Garden. Their food is not bad by any means but nowhere near as memorable as it’s surroundings – perhaps a controversial opinion!
This post is based on an independently paid visit to The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe.
The Grounds of Alexandria Cafe
7a/2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015
(02) 9699 2225
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