I was transported back to Europe this weekend, to a stunning walled kitchen garden where I found, what could be easily described as, my new favourite place in Sydney.
We arrived by car via a not very inviting alleyway and went around the back to the car park – a grey mass of concrete and warehouses. In fact that is just where it is located; a 1920’s industrial estate – not very inviting.
However, I had heard lots of good things about The Grounds of Alexandria (@thegroundsofalexandria) but what I experienced surpassed all my expectations. We were greeted with a beautiful old herringbone pathway, made of reclaimed brick, enticingly guiding us into the oasis. The path was framed with old terracotta plant pots with mature palms, Cyprus trees, fig, lemon and other fruit trees. Butterflies fluttered past busying themselves among the flowers – I felt like I was in a fairy tale garden.
Along the path were old carnival style food stalls; one selling all kinds of nuts, another doughnuts and pastries and one for cones piled high with homemade gelato.
At the end of the path was a main courtyard area with tile-topped tables and of course, more plant pots. The ceiling is covered in hanging baskets with bright colourful flowers cascading down from them. Everywhere you look is another secret garden or little area with a table under a pagoda of vines. I was in heaven, an inner city paradise.
What makes this garden even more special is that it is designed to be entirely sustainable. The organic planters produce delicious heirloom vegetables, fragrant herbs, flowers and fresh fruit.
Unbelievably The Grounds of Alexandria also hosts a coffee research and testing facility (@groundsroasts) where it roasts its own coffee on site. It is some of the best coffee I have tasted in Sydney. It also has an artisan bakery, farm shop, two cafes (an indoor and outdoor- running from two similar, but different, menus).
There is also a bar & restaurant that serves alcohol, called The Potting Shed, a child’s play area, outdoor private dining space (my wedding venue is sorted)… … a beautiful florist and a small animal farm, made up of Kevin Bacon the pig, Turbo the Shetland pony, a couple of goats and a few ducks! In case you were wondering, and for once I can say that food wasn’t at the forefront of my mind either, I had a strong and smooth long black and the Brunch Burger; generous slices of grilled halloumi (made on their charcoal bbq) with caramalised onions with rocket, sandwiched between a brioche bun. My gorgeous flatmates both had the chicken burger and a traditional lemonade with a hint of rose.
I want to go back, immediately. In fact, if I didn’t have to hold down a job and an apartment I would be here ALL the time. I can’t wait to come back.
Did I mention that I love it here!?