Without doubt on of the “IN” looks of the moment for places to be seen sipping on your chai latte and munching on your lightly toasted prosciutto panini has to be the “industrial look”, going back to the minimalist basics, and throwing in an ingenious take on up cycling to ensure a quirky talking piece is installed at various points. This enhances the customer experience and gets them talking about the establishment as something more than a great place for a coffee and a bite to eat, (although no denying this is an important factor – being surrounded by a family of dedicated coffee drinkers woe betide anyone who makes a naff coffee!)
Alexandria, an area of Eastern Sydney has definitely taken this industrial styling by the horns…. moving it out of the trendy interior design magazines into the every day foodie experience. Once an area of home maker centres this industrial area has been re-established with disused warehouses opening up as new cafe’s, restaurants and interior design stores with an eclectic edge. Here is one of Alexandria’s Gems
Shop 7A, 2 Huntley St
Alexandria NSW 2015
With many a magazine article, and the ever popular “brunch” and Cafe culture of Sydney a chat with the new places to be seen, “The Grounds” in Alexandria Sydney is one of “THE” places of the moment. As such trying to get in on the weekend was a bit of a task, and with a loathing for queueing I decided to take my chance for the perfect opportunity for brunch on a week day before I caught the plane to commence my big trip! – Hense my blog takes a quick last pitstop in Sydney before I hit the streets of London. Even then the business men and women in the area had marked their territory with their espressos, and Blackberries in tow!
The first thing that you notice are the grounds of “The Grounds” themselves, the outside benches will no doubt be highly sought after when the summer finally comes our way. There is a sense of going back to seasonal and home grown produce with the flower beds full of herbs and veggies, themselves perfectly styled…(you should see my veggie patch….lets put is this way we work on taste around here!!).
The grounds of The Grounds – Source Birdcage design
All this together with a good old fashioned chicken shed…perfect for city kids (small and large) to see where produce really comes from! And a comforting thought that your eggs are pretty darn fresh!!! (mind you with the number of patrons they have to work overtime!)
”We have a full-time horticulturalist who will be working closely with the chef, growing heirloom seeds and vegies and experimental edible flowers; he’ll be constantly rotating the gardens and will be there to answer any questions the customers might have and give them tips,” (source the SMH)
For those of you who are into their Farmers Markets In a few weeks time The Grounds of Alexandria will become home to weekend Farmers Markets!
The inside is exposed brick, polished concrete and exposed piping with minimalist industrial lighting and metal seating. Menus served on clip boards and fruit juices in vintage glass jugs and mini milk bottles adding to the talking points at every turn. The harsh industrial is softened with strategically placed greenery.
Whilst The Grounds has so many facets to it’s appeal from the interior to the gardens, the main aim of the business is to show case the “ART” of making coffee…as a non coffee drinker the art is a little wasted on me so you will have to let me know!!
The Grounds focuses on the fact that coffee is one of the worlds biggest commodities, yet so few people understand what is involved in making it. As a response to this they have purpose-built pipes bringing the coffee beans into the cafe space from the roasting room. With a converted vintage La Marzocco espresso machine, apparently one of only two in the world which has been custom rebuilt for The Grounds . They have even got glass panels installed in to the roasting machines so that you can see what is going on inside! And for those of you who need a diagram…. they have thought of that too!
Enjoy your coffee…let me know how you go….mean while off to the airport to continue the colourful journey!!