Category Archives: Alexandria

In the Vicinity

Alexandria is an unlikely place to find a rocking restaurant, let alone cooking of this calibre. The mastermind of restaurateur Rob Rubis, Vicinity boasts a theatrical, glamorous, Soho-meets-Sydney warehouse design with soaring ceilings, dramatic room dividers and low slung metal lights. Despite its aesthetic, Vicinity has the snugly comfortable feel of a local favourite. But it’s not just a restaurant – this 250-seater is also home to a private dining room, an outdoor area with intimate fireplaces where guests can mingle over a pre-dinner cocktail and a casual lounge area apt for long weekend brunches. Tick, tick, tick.

Soho-meets-Sydney

But you can spend all the money in the world ($2.5 million, to be exact) on a fitout and if the food falls wayside, you haven’t got a chance. Thankfully the kitchen is in the confident hands of Head Chef Paul Pereira who has wooed foodies across the globe at establishments such as Lindsay House in London, Finefish in Cremorne and most recently, Forbes and Burton in Darlinghurst. There’s clearly a formula to Pereira’s style and it revolves around cooking on the spit or grilling over wood. Tonight the ‘kindle, coal and fire’ specials include sirloin and barramundi. We opt for both. The sirloin is coupled with potato fondant, carrot puree and drizzed with bone marrow butter while the crisp skin barramundi is paired with black olive puree, chorizo cubes and mayonnaise. Pereira’s combinations are spot on and both proteins are cooked to perfection.

Roasted beetroot, green lentil, labne, mint. Recipe here.

The chips come highly recommended, served with a range of salts and mayonnaise – none of which are really needed and a side of crunchy cauliflower bulbs topped with tempered mustard seeds, curry leaf and green chilli will convert any hater of the usually-bland white vegetable. The ticks continue. We also like that they aim to keep things mostly local, with wines (which can be served in 500ml carafes) from Mudgee, Marlborough, Orange and Yarra Valley and coffee from Morgans in Emu Plains.

Sydney’s Inner South has never really been a dining destination. That was until The Grounds of Alexandria and Bread and Circus– now Vicinity has hit the scene, all I can say is watch out 2010.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Vicinity here

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Restaurant Review: The Grounds of Alexandria

You wouldn’t notice this place if it wasn’t for the crowd of people standing in the driveway.  Tucked away in a backstreet in Alexandria, between warehouses and large industrial buildings, The Grounds of Alexandria is the latest in a stream of concept cafes to open in Sydney.

The line waiting for takeaways

The owners behind this ambitious new venture include hospitality names; Jack Hanna, the former world latte art champion, Ramzey Choker, food importer and hospitality icon and the team from Jack & The Bean coffee wholesalers.

The kitchen garden

The Grounds hasn’t been done on the cheap. Interior designers, The Artistry, who list Beach Haus, Darling Island and The Oaks on their portfolio, have created a space which retains the charm of the industrial building while adding a modern and chic edge. Rustic exposed brick walls, high wood ceilings and moss green trimmings, combined with subtle globe lighting and retro-coloured coffee cups creates a dynamic space that is functional yet also beautiful.  In the back area of the cafe, just near the open kitchen, coffee roasters are hidden behind floor-to-ceiling windows, giving diners a glimpse into how their lattes have been made. The educational focus of The Grounds is clear, especially with the addition of a “research facility”, dedicated to experimenting with blends and roasting processes. Blackboard crash-course diagrams about how to roast coffee line the walls while a rare La Marzocco espresso machine sits proudly, in all its lime green glory, pumping out takeaways.

Rhubarb Tart

If you happen to arrive at peak hour, simply grab a sweet treat and a takeaway coffee and perch in the garden, where edible herbs and trimmed hedges grow in healthy abundance. Once you manage to snag a table, the menu is in keeping with the wholesome and natural approach of the entire cafe, focusing on rustic and homemade dishes such as breakfast quinoa, house baked muesli and innovative sandwiches and salads. The slow-roasted pull-pork sandwich is a must but if you are after something lighter, any dish that includes a slice of their artisan bread (it has a bakery too), will be a highlight.

Anna Lisle

The Grounds of Alexandria on Urbanspoon

Read more about The Grounds of Alexandria here

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