Secret Garden

Apr 26, 2012

Images via Natalie Hayllar {eatreadlove}

The secret is out!

This 'not so secret' garden in the heart of Alexandria's industrial area is 'The Grounds of Alexandria'. If the buzzing weekend crowd was anything to go by, this brand new collaboration between Ramzey Choker, award winning coffee expert Jack Hanna and 'The Artistry' will be a huge success. Urban cafe and coffee roastery meets Artisan bakery and fine food restaurant, The Grounds has it all! The cafe spills onto a big inner city garden, lined with teddy bear magnolia's and lavender. Fresh garden herbs and home grown heirloom vegetables are used daily in the kitchen. Sydney's coffee connoisseurs will love the on site ground roasters and huge selection of espresso and filter coffees. 

It must have been my lucky day on Sunday. While I admit the place was overflowing with a very eager crowd, I scored a car park right out front and my two little boys were thrilled to find Farmville's baby animals to pat and cuddle in the garden while we waited for our table. The baby ducks wrapped snugly in towels and 'bunny brushing' was a big hit with my two nieces! As expected on a sunny Sunday tables inside were in hot demand, but the maître d' was delightful, even offering chocolate brownies to ease the wait. The Grounds is something Sydneysiders have been searching for - the perfect combination of relaxed affordable dining, great coffee, stylish interiors and garden space for the children to play. It was just one of those memorable Sundays with my family. 
EAT: the very reasonably priced herb crumbed schnitzel with house slaw and salse verde and old fashioned caramel milkshake jars were our table favourites. The Grounds is open for breakfast, lunch, coffee and drinks and you can eat inside and out, although outside is just for takeaway at this stage with plans for table service coming soon.

PLAY: the kids loved the natural wooden playground equipment and the jumping castle (possibly not a regular fixture) was a great distraction. While the place is still buzzing, I suggest that you arrive early to reserve your table, then wander around the garden with a takeaway coffee while you wait!

LOVE: designers Caroline Choker and Natalie Longhean of Sydney's The Artistry have done a brilliant job with the interiors and styling.  A huge fan of exposed brick, industrial lighting, rustic tables, Tolix style chairs and mosaic floor tiles, the entire space flows perfectly from the inside out, with vibrant splashes of yellow and green, bowls of fruit, flowers and hanging lanterns. The old Alexandria brick chimneys make a very cool backdrop to Erin Martin's vegetable garden. 

Cant wait to return on a quieter mid-week morning to sit and enjoy this lovely urban oasis with a coffee and some artisan baked goods. Bliss.  
Natalie x

The Grounds of Alexandria
2 Huntley Street, Alexandria, Sydney
Open for breakfast, lunch, coffee and drinks 
7am-4 mon-fri and 8-3 weekend.

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