The other day I realised that I could count, on one hand, how many times my husband and I had gone out for breakfast in our local area. And we’ve been living in Sydney’s inner-west for almost six months. Tragic. So when my workmate Linh sent me a link to a café that was opening in Alexandria, I made a point to visit them for breakfast with Patrick (hubby) and Lisa (sis-in-law) on Easter Saturday.
Driving past as we sought parking, we were immediately struck by the rustic appeal of its exposed brickwork and generous open spaces. The Grounds of Alexandria is an ambitious café restaurant residing in a converted warehouse, complete with its own garden courtyard, bakery and coffee roasting facility.
Arriving at 9.30 in the morning, the place was already buzzing with activity and conversation. Its French provincial style featuring white accents and abundance of brick and wood was so inviting, we couldn’t wait to sit down. However, we were placed on a short waiting list – clearly we weren’t the only ones with breakfast on our minds.
We ventured across the walkway to their waiting area – a paved garden courtyard dotted with plenty of tables. Sitting there comfortably in the midst of the greenery, I felt like we were in the middle of Bowral or the Hunter. We soaked up the sun whilst poring over the weekend newspaper as the garden’s gurgling fountain masked the quiet rumble of traffic over the fence – waiting for a table had never felt so relaxing.
Soon enough we were seated near the impressive display that was their coffee roasting facility. We got chatting to the waitress and she confirmed that the place had only been open for four days and it’s been madness. She dashed off as we silently mused over the menu.
The breakfast menu was simple yet tasteful, and as a coffee lover, I was left giggling in delight at their illustrated coffee menu.
The waitress returned soon after and took our orders. I ordered my usual piccolo. As a self-confessed coffee snob, whenever I go to a new café, I find tasting their piccolo is a great barometer for how good (or bad) their coffee is. The piccolo’s low milk-to-coffee ratio allows you to have a good, honest taste of the coffee. The verdict? This was perfect! Smooth without a hint of bitterness – they know what they’re doing. The Grounds may soon join my favourite coffee trinity of Mecca, Bertoni, and Circa – which is saying a lot!
Waiting for our breakfast to arrive, I thirstily juggled between sips of coffee and a mug of icy cold ginger beer, served in an endearing screw-top glass jug. Maybe it was the heat, but I was in ginger beer heaven.
Lisa’s verdict – it was nice, but needed a bit of a kick… more creme fraiche maybe?
Patrick’s verdict – sausages seemed a little dry, but went well with the fried eggs.
My verdict – haven’t had such a healthy, well balanced breakfast in such a long time. And I ate everything with a dollop of that Persian fetta. Yum.
We reflected that we’d chosen relatively healthy options and perused the orders coming out from the kitchen pass. The only thing that seemed relatively ‘unhealthy’ was a roll stuffed with eggs and crispy bacon. We shrugged our shoulders – our meals were tasty. And at least I polished off my plate without food coma regret.
We left a good 2 hours later, feeling content with how we spent our lazy Saturday morning. Passing a lengthy queue of patrons on our way out, I’m glad that we had come as early as we did.
Good: wholesome breakfast, excellent coffee, cool drinks, a great place to chill out and catch-up
Bad: get in early or expect to wait
Cost: $20+ for meal and drink
The Grounds of Alexandria
Building 7, 2 Huntley Street Alexandria NSW 2015
Open for breakfast and lunch