The Grounds has been absolutely thriving since the day it opened its doors – either there were a lot of hungry people in the surrounds of Alexandria, or they just got it right. Clearly they have the formula right – the grounds of the The Grounds are spacious plot with a lovely outdoor area, a cubby house for the kids, roosters and chickens, a luscious flourishing kitchen garden, a buzzing cafe with a welcoming interior, and of course the essential ingredient of an appealing menu.
Be prepared to wait though, especially on weekends – we were told 25 minutes and waited a solid hour. Fortunately the surrounds are so pleasant, and cleverly they do a roaring trade in takeaway coffee while you linger hoping that someone, anyone, will get up and leave so you can have a table. Alternatively, you can now head over to Salt Meats Cheese just next door, where you can easily pass the time doing some shopping for your next fabulous home cooked meal until your buzzer goes off.
You can book on Mondays to Thursdays though for 6 or more. There was a pizza oven being built in one of the outside corners so I suspect the place is just going to get busier.
Finally, we were seated and water was bought to the table and coffee/juice orders promptly taken. I love the old style glass milk bottles and juice glasses they use.
One of us wanted to try the Croque Monsieur but we were told they had run out – by 10am! So on the menu:
Turkish style eggs with cannellini beans, spinach, pistachios and labneh. Nice amount of spice with good crunch from the pistachios.
Ocean trout with soft boiled eggs, dill cream fraiche, and pickled cucumber. The cucumber especially beautifully pickled.
The Grounds Breakfast Board with ham, avocado, tomato, feta, eggs and pesto – a nice simple combination with a lot of appeal – they were churning these out by the dozen.
The food overall is good (but not outstanding) though the serves could be a little more generous – for instance with almost every dish, you only get one slice of toast – another wouldn’t go astray. Though I’m sure this won’t stop people coming – on our way out the size of the queue had doubled! Staff are run off their feet so they are brisk and efficient rather than particularly friendly – other than the guys manning the door who were charm itself trying to placate hungry crowds (“no one wants to leave today, I’m not sure what it is!”).
The Grounds, Huntley Street, Alexandria, ph (02) 9699 2225