“Do you realize it’s a one and a half hour wait?” The restaurant host asked no one in particular as he added more names to the growing wait-list. “Is this even sinking in?”
It had sunk in, but like the Brunch Village episode of the TV show Portlandia, it just didn’t matter.
All of Sydney had queued up and while they weren’t waiting for marionberry pancakes, they weren’t leaving till they made it inside the chic industrial restaurant. Built around the turn of the 20th century, the red brick structure that once housed a pie factory was still turning out delicious baked goods as well as gourmet food.
The only difference between the episode and real life was that The Grounds of Alexandria was completely prepared for the legions of devoted brunchers that showed up every weekend. The organic garden facing the restaurant was filled with activity. There were chickens, hamburger & BBQ stands, a playground, a coffee research facility, a flower stall, and even a piglet named Kevin Bacon.
Barret and I grabbed a rose lemonade and a coffee and joined the other families resting in the shade of a weatherworn pergola. The pillars were wrapped in vines and from the thick wooden beams hung old ladders, potted plants, and a flotilla of illuminated mason jars.
The sweet scent of homemade Nutella donuts proved too tempting to Barret, so after he savored his last bite we walked to Salt Meats Cheese. Located just next door to The Grounds, it was a gourmand’s haven of imported specialty foods. They had everything from blue corn masa flour (yay!) to jackfruit chips (yuck!) to Big League Chew (ah-childhood). We wandered the aisles till our table buzzer went off.
So was my zucchini and pear salad worth a one and a half hour wait in a long line?
The mint, lemon juice, and crushed pistachios were a beautiful touch, but probably not worth it. However- toss in boutique lemonade, a shady canopy, freshly baked treats, the scent of fresh mint wafting from the gardens and a seriously appetizing store next door- then YES.
You can put my name down on that list any day.
How to get to The Grounds of Alexandria: Building 7A, NO.2 Huntley St, Alexandria NSW 2015