If you have driven along Huntley Street in Alexandria in the last couple of years, you may have noticed that the former industrial precinct along there has been converted into a stylish aggregation of cafés, sit-in and take-away eateries, markets and organic garden beds. An escape from the city in the heart of the city, The Grounds of Alexandria is a landmark coffee roastery, café and sustainable garden founded in 2012 by entrepreneurs Ramzey Choker and Jack Hanna. I have wanted to go since I heard you can meet the pigs, chickens and miniature ponies that reside there…
If you visit the one-acre site around the first weekend of any month, you will come across The Grounds’ monthly market fair, featuring local craft stalls, wholesome food offerings, family entertainment and the resident Grounds animals. It was the perfect place to be over the long weekend: leafy vines offered relief from the scorching sun and sprinklers in The Garden were on hand to cool us down (and keep us all sane!).
Inside the buildings, namely The Café, The Lock In and The Florist, exposed machine vents and gas meters have been installed against the old brick walls and juxtaposed with low-hanging lights, gleaming white tiles and shiny, state-of-art coffee machines. All the spaces are meticulously thought through and it’s a wonderful place to spend time in.
After a stroll around the market stalls with a cup of homemade lemonade (I opted for the pink variety) we enjoyed a delicious lunch at The Café. Highlights on that menu have to be the exquisite Grilled Squid Fattoush and the decadent Breakfast Burger, for those who may have over-indulged the night before. The Grounds really is a gem of a place and I plan to get myself down for a chat with the pig and some delicious fresh ‘paddock-to-plate’ food as often as I can.
All words and photos: Rosie Pentreath