Grounds for a Visit

 

Tables and people inside the green house

Green house dining at The Grounds

The chance to see Kevin Bacon in Sydney was too good to miss. Enroute to the airport we made a last minute detour to find him at The Grounds of Alexandria. Kevin Bacon (the pig) resides in the former Four ‘N Twenty pie factory which was converted into The Grounds of Alexandria in early 2012. It’s a wonderful series of indoor and outdoor dining spaces interspersed with lots off hanging greenery, a vegetable garden, potted herbs and a florist.

The Grounds is also home to a couple animals including Kevin, who was clearly a major draw card for others too. Our visit coincided with school holidays. Now there is more to this place that the animal pen but just one more quick note before we move on to all the concepts and food within – in late 2013 Kevin was stolen along with Bradley the lamb! Thankfully they were found and returned prompting a great headline about ‘bringing home the bacon’.

 

Strawberries and straws on the lemonade stand

Old world charm on the lemonade stand

The Grounds is a venue that is big on style and highly Instagrammable (is that now an adjective?). It’s an all-day dining concept from breakfast through to dinner. Mid-week at midday there was a queue of hungry office workers waiting for indoor tables while outdoor stalls and carts dotted around the site offered coffee, donuts and pastries.

 

Donut stand with woman serving

The Donut Stand – unsurprisingly one of the most popular stalls 

 

Coffee cart in the garden

Garden coffee – baristas at their station

 

Polenta cakes on display

Berry-topped morning tea treats

 

Donut display case

Dream donuts – nutella and cinnamon case

There are 3 distinct dining spaces; The Café, The Potting Shed and The Garden. The Café has a seasonally driven menu with much of it plucked fresh from the garden on site. Their version of farm-to-table is paddock-to-plate with rustic flair. It also caters to those on the go with takeaway options.

 

Menu pinned to wall

The Potting Shed menu pinned to the garden post

 

Diners at long table underneath an arbor

Tunnel vision – communal table beneath the arbor

The Potting Shed is a lunch and dinner venue for drinks after work and/ or a full meal. Local and seasonal produce is on the menu complimented by an artful list of cocktails and wines. Quirky titles, informative sidebars and vintage-style illustrations make for delicious browsing.

The Grounds vegetable garden with diners in the background

Visitors perch outdoors on the edge of raised vegetable beds

The Garden is where The Grounds ‘walks the walk’ by cultivating its own greens through sustainable permaculture methods. A resident horticulturist is on staff and happy to share gardening tips to take home. School holiday programs were in full swing during our visit with a communal table of eager participants. Classes are educational yet fun and in keeping with The Grounds focus on gardening and food, like making pizza or floral crowns.

View through window of bowls

Kitchen window still life

 

 

Empty cart against barbecue shed wall

Behind the BBQ shed

 

Florist at work

Floral magic in progress

 

Florist shop interior

Full bloom at the florist’s

The whole space has a delightful free-flow vibe that encourages exploration and free-ranging. It’s also a true communal space that is a living, breathing village square of old; a space where people can gather free of traffic and the hustle of bustle of A-B modern shopping thoroughfares. This is a place to linger.

A garden bench hidden amongst the greenery

A garden bench hidden amongst the greenery

 

Fresh bread packaged in bread bags on display

Freshly baked bread handy storage bags that are keepers

 

Sign post at The Grounds

Navigating the food options

On weekends (both Saturday and Sunday) The Grounds markets are staged with over 80 stallholders proudly presenting their wares. Shoppers can browse artisanal food and unique handcrafted products in the old Salts Meats Cheese Warehouse – an apt yesteryear setting in which to celebrate craftspeople and further embody The Grounds community focus.

The Grounds courtesy van

Taking it to the people – The Grounds courtesy van curbside

Service extends beyond The Grounds with a courtesy Express-o Bus that picks up from surrounding suburbs on weekdays. It’s a handy ‘community outreach’ idea that caters to office workers looking to step out for lunch or groups of 4 or more who don’t live within 10 minutes walking distance. Bookings are essential.

 

Contacts:

The Grounds of Alexandria

Building 7A,

2 Huntley St,

Alexandria NSW 2015.

Ph: +61 (02) 9699 2225

W: www.thegrounds.com.au

 

The Grounds Markets – 9am to 3:30pm every Saturday and Sunday

 

(Image Credits: Peta Bassett)


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