Breakfast at The Grounds of Alexandria

I have a confession… this post has been sitting in my drafts folder since March… I was debating on whether or not to post it considering I came here so long ago, but I took so many photos it would have been a waste if I didn’t. So, here you go! (Five months later…)

I visited the cafe at The Grounds of Alexandria in Sydney earlier this year when I picked my boyfriend up from the airport. It was the perfect breakfast stop before the 3 hour drive back to Canberra, and oh my, was I amazed. I didn’t realise how huge the establishment was! I believe the area used to be an industrial car park which the owners transformed into something really special. Not only is there the cafe but a restaurant, called The Potting Shed, as well. They also bake bread and pastries in-house and roast their own coffee beans.

As you walk in you are welcomed by a vibrant green walkway.

IMG_1060

There is a carnival-like atmosphere as you make your way through to the cafe passing carts filled with colourful desserts. Although not pictured, there was even a doughnut vendor cranking out fresh, doughy balls of fried, sugary goodness.

IMG_0912

IMG_0915

I had to resist all the desserts on offer since we were about to eat breakfast but I definitely need to try some next time I visit! Kinda regretting that I didn’t get some to-go… ah food regrets.

IMG_0919

They even had a homemade lemonade cart right outside the cafe.

IMG_1038

IMG_1041

Our Signature Avocado

I ordered the Ground’s signature avocado dish which came with avocado two ways; smashed and sliced, heirloom tomato, two poached eggs, a huge slab of feta, pomegranate seeds, a sprinkling of za’atar and mint on house baked bread. Yes. I love it when cafes add cheese to their avocado dishes. Cheese makes everything better. I liked the pops of sweetness from the pomegranate, and the za’atar gave it a nice tang.

IMG_0929

Breakfast burger

My boyfriend ordered the breakfast burger. It’s hard to go wrong with bacon, eggs, avo, lettuce, cheese, tomato relish and smokey mayo on a brioche bun. Let’s just say he was pretty satisfied and demolished it in about five bites (although not before I stole a sneaky nibble). The smokey mayo was pretty damn good and worked really well with the tomato relish. To make the dish even better, we got a side of crispy polenta chips with the burger. Unfortunately all the photos I took of them were horrible, but trust me they looked good!
IMG_0975

How could I not order a coffee at a coffee roastery?

IMG_0954

While we waited for our breakfast, I wandered over to the front counter and found this marvellous array of bread. Mmm carbs…

IMG_1013

I loved the homely feel of the cafe with rusty signs, brick walls and wooden surfaces.

IMG_1029

IMG_1023

Oh and I forgot to mention, there is a florist right next door too! IMG_1066IMG_1078

The Grounds of Alexandria is really something. I’ve never experienced breakfast quite like it and I’d totally recommend a visit if you’re ever in Sydney.

Details for the cafe at The Grounds of Alexandria:

Opening hours:

Weekdays

7:00am to 4:00pm

Weekends

7:30am to 4:00pm

Address:

Building 7a, 2 Huntley Street, Alexandria NSW

 

Brunch at Coffee Lab

I had heard so many great things from Coffee Lab in the city, so I was really excited to try them out last week. My good friend was down from Queensland, it was relatively early in the morning (11 is early right?) and we were in need of some caffeine and good food – it was the perfect opportunity to hit up one of Canberra’s up-and-coming cafes.

As soon as you walk through the doors you can feel the über-hip-Canberra-cafe-vibe. From the warm wooden panelling scaling the wall, vibrant hanging green foliage to a large communal coffee table with newspapers and magazines strewn across the surface, the cafe just invites you in to relax and enjoy a cup of coffee.

We started with a round of tea and coffee. I’m generally a flat white drinker but was mistakenly given a latte. It was really no big deal seeing as though I don’t see a big difference between the two. I guess one plus is that lattes look better in photos! The latte was smooth and definitely hit the spot.

Coffee

The First Frost

I love mushrooms, and after hearing good reviews about this dish from my sister I had to try it. The dish came with mushrooms two ways; roasted and sautéed. They were nicely cooked with a subtle garlicky and herb flavour which wasn’t too overpowering. I was really happy to see some enoki mushrooms thrown in amongst the toppling mountain which is different from a lot of other cafes – big thumbs up for that. It also came with zucchini ribbons, alfalfa sprouts and lemon, all of which added a crisp freshness to the dish. The marinated feta was a little surprise underneath the mound of mushrooms as I had missed that detail when reading the menu. All I can say is that cheese makes everything better – one of the only philosophies I stand by in life. The portion was incredibly generous, and so it is decently priced at $16.00. I also added two poached eggs for $4.00, but had I known how big the serving was I would have been fine without them!

Frost 2

No Ragrets

My friend ordered the No Ragrets which I found out later is one of their best sellers. It comes with a cornmeal hash brown, smoked Piallago bacon, sautéed kale, poached eggs and a generous drizzle of James Brown sauce. My friend described it as a “fancy eggs benny” and loved it. She said she doesn’t normally like kale due to its bitterness, but actually enjoyed it in this dish because it was quite subtle (and perhaps drowning in delicious hollandaise-style sauce). Priced at $17.00 I will definitely try this next time I come in.
Ragrets 3

Look at that yolk-porn…
No Ragrets

Dillon You Son of a…

My other friend wasn’t too hungry and so she went for a lighter option of your classic avo on toast. Coffee Lab’s version comes with avocado rolled in black and white sesame seeds, marinated feta, chilli flakes, alfalfa sprouts and lime served on sourdough toast. She thoroughly enjoyed the addition of feta and chilli, so at $15.50, it was a hit. 

Avocado

I really enjoyed the food and coffee at Coffee Lab and am keen to try more of their menu. If you haven’t already tried them out, lock them in for your next brunch date!

Details for Coffee Lab:

Opening hours:

Weekdays

7:00am to 4:00pm

Weekends

8:00am to 3:30pm

Address:

26 Narellan Pl, Canberra

Sign

Brunch at Ivy and the Fox

I had been meaning to try Ivy and the Fox after thoroughly enjoying a delicious lunch at its sister cafe, Fox and Bow, in Farrer last year. I have to say, it didn’t disappoint. There’s a lovely outdoor seating area that looks out over a field of bright green grass and towering eucalyptus trees -the perfect atmosphere for some brunch lovin’. I had just walked a decent 30 minutes from Hancock library to the café and so I was absolutely famished. Despite it nearing lunch time, I was craving something breakfast-y. I think I associate that feeling of being ravenous with waking up in the morning and desperately needing to fuel my stomach. Luckily for me, Ivy and the Fox do all day breakfast.

Mr Fox

The ‘Mr Fox’ completely cured my hunger. Pretty much a ‘big breakfast’ that you get at your stock-standard café but with a Spanish flair. It came with two fried eggs, mushies, roasted tomatoes, bacon, a giant crispy hashbrown, perfectly charred chorizo and morcilla- a Spanish style blood sausage. This was actually the first time I’d ever tried blood sausage, and I bloody loved it. It tasted like an awesome pork sausage with an extra depth of meatiness. To be fair, it wasn’t my first experience with animal blood in dishes. Growing up with a Vietnamese background exposes you to some really cool but somewhat strange foods.

IMG_1126

IMG_1128

Señorita Fox

My friend ordered the ‘Señorita Fox’ and it looked so beautiful I had to take a photo. It came with a thick slice of toasted sourdough, a wedge of avocado coated in black and white sesame seeds, two poached eggs, Tasmanian smoked salmon, asparagus and a decent chunk of grilled haloumi. My friend was incredibly generous and cut off a bit of the avocado for me to try, and I have to say, the sesame seeds really added another dimension to the avocado. It was toasty and didn’t need any salt, which is generally unheard of with avo! Definitely will order this dish next time.

IMG_1140 IMG_1144
Kiss Me Katut

My friend ordered this mango, pineapple and coconut smoothie that came with a giant scoop of passionfruit gelato. Sweet, tangy, refreshing and basically a meal in itself.

SMOOTHIEPASSION

Green smoothie of some description

I actually ordered a pear, kiwi, cucumber and kale juice however I received this green smoothie (unless it was just a really, really thick juice). I can’t actually figure out which smoothie this is from looking at the menu, so the more I think about it, it was probably what I ordered but maybe their juicer was broken and they had to use a blender? I tasted a lot of banana (maybe residue from the blender? Totally just making things up now…) which was a bit over powering but it was cold, refreshing and really filling.

SMOOTHIE2

Salted Caramel Cronut

Oh yes. Not much to say but that it was flakey, crispy, sugary and had an oozy custard filling. The perfect way to end a meal.

IMG_1109

Ivy and the Fox may be a bit out of the way, but it’s definitely worth it! Give them a go.

Details for Ivy and the Fox:

Opening hours:

Weekdays

8am to 4:30pm

Weekends

8:30am to 3pm

Address:

Old Canberra House, 73 Lennox Crossing, Acton

My first breakfast at home after travelling through South America

This post is basically about the foods I craved the most while I travelled around South America. It’s a bit-different from my usual recipe-style posts, so I hope you enjoy it as much as I enjoyed eating my first breakfast at home after two months!

Travelling around South America was one of the most liberating experiences of my life. It was filled with meeting amazing people, purchasing last minute plane tickets at the airport counter, being accused of credit card fraud, taking 30 hour long bus rides, a few stints of food poisoning and altitude sickness, and of course trying out the delicious food each country had to offer.

From the succulent steaks and charred chorizo sandwiches in Argentina, the fresh and vibrant ceviche in Peru to the homely quinoa soups in Bolivia, I was at the mercy of South America cuisine (I did snap a few pictures on my phone of the amazing food we had, but unfortunately the quality isn’t so fab, so I won’t be posting any pictures here. I did however post a few photos on instagram (username my.foodfix) during my two months of travelling, so if you feel like a gander, go on over and have a look!). But despite the amazing food, there are just some foods I will always crave. 

Basil pesto

IMG_0429Mmm basil pesto. Pasta was my go to dinner during my travels- it’s cheap, easy and for some reason I never get sick of it. Unfortunately, basil wasn’t readily available and the jarred stuff was selling for 10AUD a pop.. so that was out of question. I had to make do with your standard tomato pasta, though I ALWAYS loaded it with cheese, which in my opinion makes everything better. I always prefer fresh pesto as opposed to the jarred stuff (although when you’re strapped for time, I’m totally all for it), mainly because I can add what I like! I only put in a little bit of garlic because I think it can be overpowering, and I like to use walnuts instead of your standard pine nuts or almonds. Instead of making pesto pasta (which I had later that same day), I mixed a heaped spoon of pesto with another heaped spoon of ricotta, smeared it on seeded toast and topped it off with spinach, smoked salmon and a squeeze of lemon. It was amazing. If you haven’t tried this combo yet, I highly recommend it.

Avo on toast with sweet cherry tomatoes

IMG_0427I wasn’t deprived of it by any means- Avocados were so cheap everywhere we went, in fact we had it quite often. Avocado is another food I could never get sick of. Normally, I generously drizzle my toast with extra virgin olive oil, add the avocado (I often smash the avo for ease and convenience, but for the purpose of visual appeal, today it was sliced) and tomatoes, squeeze a bit of lemon juice and sprinkle on a bit salt and pepper- yum.

Bacon

Greasy, crispy bacon. I wouldn’t call myself the biggest bacon fiend (I have a friend who cooks up 4 rashers of bacon for breakfast everyday and somehow still manages to be the tiniest person I know), but after a couple months (who am I kidding, it was more like a couple days), I started getting withdrawals. Like cheese, bacon has this amazing quality to just make any dish better. So naturally, I just HAD to fry some up.

A cuppa

I’m an English Breakfast or Earl Grey with no sugar and a dash of milk kinda gal. Sadly for me, fresh milk was quite hard to come by throughout Argentina, Bolivia, Chile and Peru, and the more traditional teas we came across were generally of the herbal variety (though I do love green tea). Back home, I tend to have one or two cups of tea a day, one in the morning and one in the late arvo. Sometimes I cave, and have a cup before bed (caffeine doesn’t affect me), but that often leads to midnight trips to the bathroom to relieve my bladder.. Note to self: stop drinking tea before bed.

And on that note, here’s one last picture of my amazing breakfast!

IMG_0432