The Grounds of Alexandria
An innovative culinary space
Just when you thought Sydney’s coffee scene couldn’t get more frenetic, along comes The Grounds of Alexandria. Inside a massive renovated warehouse space along Bourke Road is this coffee roastery, café and education centre, combined with a bakery, rustic kitchen, edible garden and sweeping outdoor courtyard. Ambitious much?
Little expense has been squandered. Interior designers The Artistry have roughly exposed the brick walls and high wood ceilings, and combined them with garage-sized industrial windows, bespoke timbre tables, metal mesh chairs, and hanging plants dangling from pulley systems.
It’s the combined brainchild of Jack & The Bean coffee wholesaler and former world latte art champion, Jack Hanna, and food importer and hospitality veteran Ramzey Choker. Their coffee philosophy stands in opposition to where much of the artisan-roasting scene is heading, Hanna tells us. Rather than pursing typical characteristics like sweetness, acidity and fruit – elements that get lost once milk is added – he’s focusing on body, mouthfeel, cocoa and butter for his espresso-based coffees. That is, unless he’s brewing filtered coffee from the myriad of alternative-brew systems.
Glass, Perspex and metal screens are everywhere, showing the inner workings of the Clover coffee machine, reconstructed 1971 La Marzocco, as well as a look-in roasting room, exposed reverse osmosis water filtration system (for consistent minerals in the coffee, naturally) and the brick-encased kitchen/bakery. A blackboard details the coffee-making process from bean to cup.
The food’s equally impressive. The rustic menu incorporates heirloom produce from an adjoining garden and a Hunter Valley acreage – both run by a dedicated horticulturalist. For breakfast, specialities include soft-boiled eggs rolled in crispy quinoa and a ‘breakfast board’ of double-smoked ham, avocado, Persian fetta, poached eggs and more. For lunch, there’s confit trout with pearl barley and sandwiches on artisan bread (soon to be housemade), such as slow-roasted lamb with spiced eggplant.
Oh yeah, the expansive, landscaped brick courtyard is a downright paradise. At The Grounds, life’s coffee cup is certainly looking half-full.
Where: Building 7, 2 Huntley St, Alexandria
When: Mon-Fri 7am-4pm, Sat-Sun 7am-3pm
Phone: (02) 9699 2225