The Grounds just happens to be the biggest restaurant/cafe opening this year. I went to see what all the hype is about.
Toasted Quinoa rolled eggs with oven roast tomatoes and Truffle oil. $14.00. It is important that you like truffle oil if you order this. Everything is fresh and crunchy but it is all very dry……I prefer to have some butter or olive oil to help my toast go down
Cherry Danish was delicious with beautiful creme patissiere. $8.00
People have been lining up to get a table at The Grounds for months. There are a reasonable amount of tables compared to most of the cafes that have opened in Sydney recently, but they are all taken at 10am on a Thursday morning. There are mothers with children and retirees meeting for coffee and cake along with tables full of office workers conducting meetings. This is, after all, a predominately commercial area, starved of any cafes or restaurants before the recent opening of places like Bourke Street bakery ,Mikes Kitchen, Bread and Circus, Love Grub and Campos coffee
Everything is fresh and interesting and the prices are very reasonable. If you want coffee and cake you will be hard pressed to choose one from the array in the display counter. These arrive at your table on a wooden chopping board…. in fact most things arrive on a wooden chopping board. If you heard a large scratch there, it was me just trying to get rid of the feeling that there is just a little bit of kaos in the service section still, after all the practise they have had. Food seems to arrive very quickly, almost too quickly ( is it made already?) while tea and coffee seems to take an eternity. This is despite having two coffee machines and an army of attendants behind them.
What I will tell you is this….. the staff are friendly and try very hard to make you happy…. even if they are a little confused at times.
Now story time….. after waiting for what seemed like years for tea to arrive, when it did, it was not the right tea. So, the waitress was dispatched to cure the problem. 10 or so minutes later a young guy in a dirty apron came to the table baring the ubiquitous chopping board with a cup and tea pot on it, he had a lovely dirty chux in his possession, which he very kindly wiped the edge of the chopping board with , after he spilled the tea putting it down. We thanked him ( well what else do you do?). As he left the table my phone began to ring, I was chatting to my companion so I ignored it. Two paces away from the table, the guy in the dirty apron doubled back to say…..”your phone is ringing…you know” . I thanked him but didn’t answer it, he looked at me and said “really?… oh” and left. We laughed cause it must have almost killed him …phone ringing and not answering it….. ( just let me say that the restaurant… with a child at the table next to us screaming, was so noisy no body could hear it)
The place is inspiring to city folk not only because of the high ceilings and wonderment of the space /warehouse/ nicely appointed factory/ that seems clean and airy and …kind of like you’ve gone to Berry for the weekend ( southern highlands of New South Wales). Maybe this is it. You are transported to another world all the time wondering why somebody hasn’t thought of this before.
You can sit in a garden where there are chickens and herbs and trees, good food and coffee.( if you carry it out there yourself) Kids are playing and soon there will be a bar and Pizza available from a shed like structure right there in the graden.
I’ll leave you with a few shots of the scenery
April 2014. :The grounds have now expanded into the site next door. There are outdoor food outlets and a nursery( plants). There are food market stalls on a Friday , Saturday or Sunday.