Friday, March 21, 2014

The Grounds of Alexandria

You may have heard of Kevin Bacon. I'm not talking about the actor, but instead the imfamous pig that went missing a few years ago from a Sydney cafe and was found in Melbourne. Well, The Grounds is the cafe where Kevin Bacon resides amongst other farm animals, an array of beautiful outdoor undercover seating areas, a bustling cafe and bakery, markets, a coffee research facility and it's own valet parking service.

The Banker, Coco and I first visited on a sunny Friday a couple of weeks ago. We were initially wanting to take their cousin there who was visiting from HK, but she had other plans so we went ourselves instead.

We got there at 'brunch' time and it was already quite busy. Parking was hard to find; we had to park up the road and around the corner, but we only waited about 10 minutes for a table.

Coco had been there before and recommended the breakfast board. I also liked the sound of the croquettes. So we ordered a breakfast board each and a plate of croquettes each. Cold drinks came in mason jars with a handle, and the food was pretty quick to arrive too.

The breakfast board comprised of smoked ham, poached eggs, avocado, pesto, fetta cheese,  tomatoes and sourdough bread. Very filling.  But the banker and I managed to finish off our croquettes too,  but Coco... tsk tsk... didn't :p

We wanted to grab some pastries to take home but our bellies couldn't handle it. We opted for a take away coffee and sat outside and enjoyed the garden space and the afternoon sun.

The second time I visited The Grounds was last weekend with the hubby, Gaffa. I noticed there were bike racks there the first time I went so I suggested to Gaffa that we ride there, have lunch and ride home. Great way to exercise and we don't have to look for parking.

On our way to The Grounds we rode to HMAS Kuttabul in Potts Point as Gaffa was working there for the week and he wanted to ride into work. So off we went. I recently started riding into work in the city so I wad used to the 10km journey. We got to the base and checked out the showers and locker facilities and the location of the wardroom. The wardroom was down the hill and because I don't like hills we pushed our bikes back up the hill and then continued onto Alexandria.

We finally got to The Grounds at about 11.30am. After locking up our bikes and putting our name down on the waiting list we wandered around the outdoor area. They advised us of a 1.5hr wait for a table as it was a weekend and prime brunch time. But after we bought some fresh lemonade and sat down for a rest, our buzzer beeped about 15-20mins later, so the wait wasn't long at all.

Breakfast stops at 11.30am and lunch starts at 12pm. (I've always wondered what happens between 11.30 and 12.00, because you can't order either... I noticed this at another cafe I recently went to as well). Anyway since it was after 12 when we sat down we could order lunch. Gaffa and I always share so he let me pick 2 meals. I chose the lamb dish and the duck salad, and a side of chips. For drinks I had a mocha and Gaffa was recommended a piccolo. He's not a big milk in coffee drinker so he wasn't too fussed about the piccolo.

The food was delicious, both very different.  The lamb was full of flavour whereas the salad was quite light, which was great for us as we wanted to fit in dessert; and the chips were very morish with the aioli.

There were a range of desserts, with a wide selection of them being gluten free. We went for the passionfruit cheesecake and chocolate mousse cake. Very, very yummy! Cute presentation too, as it comes out on a chopping/cheese board - easy for sharing!

While we were eating lunch the weather turned 180 and went from blistering sunshine to heavy down pour. I was crapping myself as our helmets were outside and we were not equipped for riding in the rain. Lucky the rain eased as we finished dessert and I had a plastic bag to store all our valuables from getting wet. Surprisingly it wasn't too cold riding home in the rain, but I was peddling that little bit quicker just to get home to a hot shower!!

The food at The Grounds is reasonably priced and serving sizes are decent. I would definitely go back to try some of the other breakfast and lunch dishes. The outdoor areas are so pretty and would be a great place for a party or function. They've got areas for children to play in and I think they're building another area for adults only. So it'll be great to see what they come up with.

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