So here’s the thing. Weekends are for relaxing. Unwinding, regrouping, soul searching and chin wagging. It’s about an unrushed, easygoing time to do the things you enjoy. No more complicated then a read of the paper, a catch-up with friends and getting your hands on the best cup of coffee (or peppermint tea) at your disposal.
Which is why Sunday morning at The Grounds does not meet the brief for me. To say this place is a victim of its success would be a major understatement. Not only has The Grounds become a successful cafe and bakery they’ve also added organic markets and lemonade stands making this venue a little more circus then serenity on their busy days.
The Grounds is a food tourist destination for people who prefer to drive to their brunch venue. It’s manic, crowded and swiftly becoming a burger stop for families with kids more than a brunch spot with amazing coffee.
None of this is pure hype. The popularity is justified. The space is beautiful. The coffee is golden and the menu is terrific. If you find the charms of this popular venue is impossible to ignore might I suggest a week day or a rainy day. So what is all the fuss about?
The breakfasts have a broad selection. We sampled the extremely popular Breakfast Board as well as the House Smoked Ocean Trout with Scrambled eggs and Dill Creme Fraiche. Both of them are winners for breakfast and when combined with a coffee, your patient wait has been well rewarded. Another option is the Thyme Scrambled Eggs with Buttered Leeks and Field Mushrooms which is a generous and rich serving to start the day.
Thankfully my pretty pot of Peppermint Tea is helping this along.
For the lunchtime selection the The Grounds Burger and Chips are another popular choice for diners and those grabbing some takeaway. Both me and my dining companion think that this tastes like what a Big Mac should taste like if they didn’t have to distribute a bajillion of them a day. Squishy buns, juicy meat, gherkin-y sauce. It’s yummy. It’s also neat to eat, as opposed to those burger explosions that are a little on the obscene side and near impossible to consume elegantly. This one’s a winner.
I’ve ordered the Za’atar Pita with Slow-Braised Lamb Shoulder. It’s a lovely fresh salad of lamb, tomato, feta and quinoa on a pita bread. It certainly wouldn’t disappoint – it’s fresh and lovely.
As I’ve already mentioned, The Grounds certainly deserves all of its success as they’ve created a unique and beautiful dining experience in quite an unlikely place. I think it’s great for hosting out of towners, or if you have the patience of Jobe, you won’t be disappointed. The service is very friendly which is impressive given the turnover they are managing, though do expect to wait and struggle for attention at times.
There are also a range of activities each weekend including the aforementioned markets as well as the adorable animal farm of piglets and chickens.
Personally, I’d probably prefer a meal from the nearby Kitchen by Mike. Even though the it is a little more canteen style, the lines move slightly quicker and the food is a little more hearty and satisfying. Either way, you’re spoilt for choice in this part of the world these days, which is nothing to complain about.
7a/2 Huntley Street, Alexandria | +61 2 9699 2225