The Grounds of Alexandria, Alexandria

It seems like half of Sydney is flocking to The Grounds of Alexandria and I am one of the last to try this trendy new place.  Slap on the wrist for me!

It was a Sunday morning and we decided to visit for brunch.  After parking on Huntley Street where the warehouse is located, I hurried along briskly to the entrance.  After all, I had heard how popular it was and feared that we would have to wait ages for a table.  As I walked in, it really did seem like half of Sydney was there - sitting at the tables, queuing up, spilling out into the gardens, kids racing around.  It was all happening!

And this was at the early (for me) hour of 9.30am.

The Grounds is a converted warehouse that has a cafe restaurant, gardens growing organic produce, onsite coffee and research facilities and some resident farm animals too. It is a family friendly venue too judging by the number of kids exploring the nooks and crannies of the garden.  They also offer takeway food and coffee, and there are a lot of tables and chairs in the gardens for you to sit and eat.

If I may also add here how much I like the name - it just rolls off the tongue...The Grounds of Alexandria! And also make me feel like I'm going to some exotic destination.

Back to the Sunday morning - luckily my friend had arrived just five minutes before me and we didn't have to wait for a table at all. 

There was a lot of bakery eye candy at the counter and a giant Easter egg too!

Since their specialty is coffee, I couldn't avoid ordering my usual skim flat white.

Skim flat white ($3.50)

And after seeing the cute jar glasses that juices and smoothies came in, I also had to have a juice.

Watermelon, pineapple and mint juice ($7.00)
Smoothie of the day - mango ($7.00)

All of their brunch options sounded delicious.

Lemon myrtle mushrooms ($16.00)
Shimeji, enoki, field, baby button and woody mushrooms in The Grounds lemon myrtle butter with a fried egg on brioche

I decided on having the mushrooms and the best part was definitely the oozing egg over the brioche.  I couldn't really taste the lemon myrtle although I could definitely taste the oiliness coming from the butter.

Turkish style eggs ($16.00)
Soft poached eggs in a rich tomato sauce with canellini beans, spinach, labneh yoghurt, pisatchios and toast

After finishing and paying for our meal, we went outside into the gardens for a wander.

There was the most charming lemonade stall....

....and beautiful flowers for sale.

...and of course the chickens...

..and the little piggy! Who was having the bestest day snuffling around in the hay.

If I had to describe The Grounds, I would say it's a really fun place to eat.  The space inside the converted warehouse is really lovely and then you get check out what's outside as well!

The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon

Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli, Homebush (2)

Another post on the CWCD!  We had such a good time during our last visit and I wanted to try more things off their menu. We went back the very next weekend.

It was a hot day so I avoided ordering a coffee (even though their coffee is quite good and I have always gotten one in the past).  Instead, we each ordered a fresh juice instead - you can pick from orange, pineapple, melon, apple, carrot and ginger or a combination of up to three of those.

Melon and apple juice ($6.50)

My juice arrived in an average sized cup and I dutifully admired the ombre of colours in the glass.  It was light and refreshing, but I thought it was a bit on the pricier side - am I getting out of touch? Is $6.50 for a juice in the suburbs the new norm?  My friend and I discussed it, agreeing that we would have both been happier with $5.00.

I was feeling like pizza again .

Suprema ($14.99 medium size)
Smoked ham, cabanossi, mushrooms, onion, capsicum,pineapple, olive, pomodoro, cheese

I ate the whole thing myself! Sometimes I am really surprised at the capacity and depth of my stomach.  The toppings were generous and I loved eating it while piping hot.  Yum, now I feel like more pizza...
Linguine Marinara ($28)
Prawns, calamari, octopus, mussels, octopus, parsley, cherry tomato, napoletana sauce
My friend really enjoyed the pasta dish and struggled to finish the generous serving size.

Tuna Nicoise ($20)
Grilled tuna fillet, artichokes, beans, potato, egg and light mayonnaise dressing

I had been eyeing the tuna salad on the menu for a while and finally decided to order it.  It was beautifully presented with the soft egg yolks making for a pretty picture.  Unfortunately the tuna was well over cooked and dry.  It was very disappointing because it could have been the perfect salad.

As it was, I struggled to finish the substantial salad which could have been a meal in itself.  I don't think I will be ordering this one again.

Coffee Warehouse: Cafe & Deli on Urbanspoon

Palings Kitchen and Bar, Sydney CBD

It seems like Sydney are going through a period of reinvention - out with the old, in with the new. Where under performing restaurants are quietly shut down and transformed in the hopes of a better revenue stream.

So I wasn't surprised to learn that Mad Cow is no longer and in its place, Palings Kitchen & Bar.  The decor is completely different, the menu offerings are more cafe style and lower priced too.

Our visit took place on a Friday night to take advantage of the March into Merivale $33 meal deal.  I must admit that I did the calculations in my head beforehand to suss out if it was worth doing the deal considering most of the items on the menu average out to be the same as the deal.  I suppose the bonus is the glass of wine or beer offered with the deal.

Since Palings has no barriers from the internal Ivy courtyard on level 1, it meant that it was very noisy.  Being a Friday night, the music was pumping and there were people everywhere.  My voice felt a bit hoarse by the end of the meal.

We decided to order some items in addition to getting the $33 meal deal, namely some snacks and desserts.

Iggy’s sourdough, pepe saya hand churned butter ($2)

Country terrine, liver pâté, mostarda ($16)

Burrata, field tomato, basil and parsley dressing (Entree choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $15.50)

Roasted cauliflower, pomegranate, fennel, lime (Entree choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $14)

The salads were both generous servings.  I had the roasted cauliflower and would have preferred it if the cauliflower had retained some of the roasted texture.  As it was, it was soggy from the dressing.

Although the snacks and entrees came out very quickly, it took a while for the plates to be cleared.  When they were cleared, the waiter asked if we wanted any dessert - we told him that we were waiting for our mains! 

Grilled fish of the day, creamy potato and cucumber, sorrel (Main choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $25)

The grilled fish of the day was kingfish and we both found it to be too salty.  The creamy potato was like a good old fashioned potato salad and I enjoyed the bits of dill through the creamy dressing.

Roast of the day - pork with apple sauce (Main choice from the March into Merivale menu, usually $25)

The pork was a huge disappointment.  I don't often say this but.....too much fat!  There was only two very thin slivers of meat running through the piece, the rest was taken up by gelatinous fat that for once, did not work in the pork's favour.  The fat was tasteless and we cut most of it off. 

The desserts from the menu are from Lorraine's Patisserie downstairs.

 Strawberry mascarpone ($12)

New York cheesecake ($9.50)

Both desserts were very yummy and a nice way to end the meal.

I wouldn't be against revisiting but I think anytime other than a Friday night would be better.  Most of the waitstaff were running around flat and I noticed a lot of patrons (including us) struggled to get their attention at times.  Having said that, they were very friendly when you did manage to flag one down. 

Palings Kitchen and Bar on Urbanspoon

Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli, Homebush

I first stumbled upon the Coffee Warehouse Cafe & Deli sometime last year after having dinner in North Strathfield.  The CWCD is on Parramatta Road, very close to the turn into George Street and it is a welcome change from the car dealerships surrounding it!

It is an impressive set up with a deli, mini supermarket browsing (where they sell coffee, tea, sauces, nuts, biscuits etc), pizzeria (where you can also get takeaway), indoor seating and outdoor seating.  It's open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and seems popular on Saturday nights for a late night dessert.  Family friendly too judging by the large groups and babies that seem to be always present!

This time, we decided to visit for lunch because it was raining and I was in the mood for pizza.

After placing our orders, I went for a browse in the small aisles and chose a packet of wasabi peas - $4.85 for 500g, not bad.  I also eyed the tempting large tubs of gelato in the freezer - if only they would last the drive home without melting!

They have an extensive coffee menu and also do barista training!  My flat white was smooth and I gobbled up the little butter cookie placed on the side.

 Pear and Goats Cheese salad ($18) with sliced pear, roasted hazelnuts and watercress

 Quattro Gusti pizza - prawn and anchovies, ham & mushroom, vegetarian, pepperoni and olives ($17.99 medium size)

Magherita pizza - pomodoro, cheese, oregano ($14.99 medium size)

French fries ($8)

The pizza hit the spot and was exactly what I needed.  Thin crust, decent amount of toppings and the medium size was just right for one person.   The Pear and Goats Cheese salad was a bit bland and I wouldn't order it again.  French fries tasted like maccas fries but what more could you expect from french fries?  A great meal all up and I will be returning again soon to try more things from their menu. 

Coffee Warehouse: Cafe & Deli on Urbanspoon

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