The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: CHAR GRILLED MARINATED LAMB CUTLETS

The Potting Shed at the Grounds

Hello Everyone! It’s Sunday which means another review on the blog tonight for you! Today’s post is one of my favourite cafés to date. I’ve been here a total of 3 times now and this place always finds a way to impress me. That’s right, I am talking about The Potting Shed at the Grounds of Alexandria! The ambiance, the feels, the food, the service, and of course the ever so friendly, drop-dead gorgeous waiters there – spot on. I came to know about this place through Instagram photos from friends and various food bloggers that I follow.

My first trip here was when my high school friend Andrew came to visit, which was somewhere in mid-August. We, and three of my other friends went along for a lovely Sunday brunch. I remember that day clearly – it started off wet and gloomy, but ain’t no rain gonna stop me from getting FOOD, especially from the Potting Shed. By the time we finished catching up over food (which was a very long time indeed – basically the table next to us seated 3 different customers before we got up and left), the sun came out and it ended being such a beautiful day. My second trip here was for dinner; a complete different feel to the ambiance as it was dark, but food was the same – spot on delicious. The third time, we were a group of about 12 people, gathered together to celebrate my 23rd birthday over a delicious brunch. And finally, I popped by the Grounds for their Christmas markets. I got a photo with Santa and instead had food from the Garden Café – it was a festive day and again the food didn’t disappoint.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds

The Grounds of Alexandria is located in an old pie factory from the early 1900s. The exterior and interior design maintains the integrity of the former warehouse, embracing its rustic and industrial aesthetic. Besides the cafés, the site opens onto a luscious garden of heirloom vegetables and fragrant herbs, in which the kitchen uses sustainable practices. This includes picking fresh herbs every morning and working with full time horticulturalist to grow seasonal produce for the menu; offering a wholesome and rustic menu. The site is also home to  a coffee research and testing facility as it is known to be the flagship venue for its specialty coffee. If you want to know more about their sustainable practices and research facility, head on over to their website at GroudRoasters.

The Potting Shed is one of the eateries that can be found at the Grounds. It is located towards the back of the site, if you’re entering from Huntley street, right next to the florist. When you walk in, you are immediately greeted by one of the locals at the café Fluffy the Blue and Gold Macaw. The café is surrounded by lush greenery and really defines its name throughout – from how they presented their menu right down to the cutlery used; terracotta pots everywhere! This is also one of the reasons why I love this place so much.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHARE WITH FRIENDS: PUMPKIN FATTEH
SHARE WITH FRIENDS: PUMPKIN FATTEH
Roasted pumpkin, za’atar, pine nuts, labne, black sesame seeds and flatbread ($16.00)

This roast pumpkin fatteh was melt-in-the-mouth perfection; a wholesome burst of Middle Eastern flavours that is sure to tingle your tastebuds. If you’re looking for a great entrée, this is definitely one to try and share with friends. The pumpkin was so tender that you could easily spread it onto your flatbread. Top it off with a bit of labne, pine nuts, za’atar, and chives and you’ve got every element of this dish in one bite. My only criticism for this is that the flatbread-pumpkin ratio isn’t quite balanced – would love more flatbread to wipe up the rest of the labne and pumpkin!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHARE WITH FRIENDS: KUROBUTA PORK BELLY SLIDERS
SHARE WITH FRIENDS: KUROBUTA PORK BELLY SLIDERS
with kimchi and rye-eye mayo on a charcoal brioche ($16.00)

Taking a shift in culture, these pork sliders are a fusion of French (brioche), Japanese (kurobuta), and Korean (kimchi) cuisines. I am not a complete fan of kimchi, but these flavour combinations worked to my liking. The pork belly sandwiched between the charcoal brioche buns were flavourful and melt-in-thee-mouth tender. The pork crackling on the side of each slider? Crispy. They are offered as a set of three per order on their menu, but you can always ask your friendly waiter/waitress to add an extra or two at additional costs.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHARE WITH FRIENDS: MINI DOGS
SHARE WITH FRIENDS: MINI DOGS
Shed-made Kurobuta pork & fennel sausages with caraway seed, cabbage and apple slaw, plus white onion, dill and mustard ($16.00)

This was probably one of the most enjoyable entrées on their menu as it was served as a sort of DIY plate. It was quite entreating in a way because not realising that they had already cut a slit into the buns, Jialing further made a horizontal cut along the sides of the buns. When she cut through halfway and the top fell right off, she realised that incisions had already been made. But other than that little mishap, the dogs tasted amazing. Like the pork sliders, you can ask for an additional serving or two at additional costs.

You’d imagine having these 3 hefty entrées would already be ever so filling for 5 people, but no, we were just getting ready and pumped up for our mains!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: BATTERED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
SHED MAINS: BATTERED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
served up with hand-cut potato chunks and rosemary salt, lemon, watercress, radish and tartare ($23.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: GRILLED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
SHED MAINS: GRILLED MARKET-FRESH FISH OF THE DAY (WHITE FISH)
served up with hand-cut potato chunks and rosemary salt, lemon, watercress, radish and tartare ($23.00)

You have a choice of battered, crumbed, or grilled for their market-fresh fish of the day. As you can see, we went for the classic battered and grilled. The fish was cooked to perfection and again just melt-in-the-mouth, especially the grilled fish. It’s like a fancy take on fish and chips, but instead of the chips, you have baked potato chunks seasoned with rosemary salt. The salad on the side added an extra texture to the palette and a burst of freshness to the tastebuds.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: SLOW COOKED GRAIN-FED ANGUS SHORT RIB
SHED MAINS: SLOW COOKED GRAIN-FED ANGUS SHORT RIB
with sweet & sour glaze, spiced eggplant ($23.00)

This was amongst the best mains that I’ve had from the Potting Shed. Beef and eggplant are a match made in heaven, both absolutely tender and packed with flavour. We were unsure though whether it was actually beef ribs as according to Jialing, they didn’t taste like ribs. For me, they didn’t look like the classic ribs for they weren’t served on the bone, but nonetheless, delicious!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: CHARCOAL-GRILLED HOLMBRAE 1/2 CHICKEN
SHED MAINS: CHARCOAL-GRILLED HOLMBRAE 1/2 CHICKEN
amongst fenugreek, coriander, walnuts, pomegranate, cucumber, radish and grains ($28.00)

This charcoal-grilled chicken was another favourite amongst us. I actually can’t remember if the skin was crispy, but that golden tan on it though! Tender, juicy chicken on a bed of yummy grains. The broth (sauce?) that came on the side to bathe your chicken in was also very flavoursome, and the fresh greens on the side balanced the dish as a whole.

The next two mains I unfortunately cannot comment on because I did not get to have a bite of! This was during my birthday and everyone basically had their own mains. I am assuming that they all taste very good anyway as my friends ate every single thing on their plate and left nothing behind.

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: DAVID BLACKMORE FULL-BLOODED WAGYU CHEESEBURGER
SHED MAINS: DAVID BLACKMORE FULL-BLOODED WAGYU CHEESEBURGER
with shed-made dill pickles, mustard seed onions, tomato chilli jam and lettuce, all on a poppyseed bun with chips ($21.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: LAMB SHANK POT PIE
SHED MAINS: LAMB SHANK POT PIE
with piped buttered mash and green leaf salad ($24.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: BBQ CHILLI & GARLIC QLD JUMBO PRAWNS
SHED MAINS: BBQ CHILLI & GARLIC QLD JUMBO PRAWNS
(6) covered in burnt lemon dressing, served whole ($32.00)

I actually got to try one of these plump jumbo prawns – they were cooked to perfection and packed with flavour. I actually have a funny story to tell about these. But first, flashback to entrées. So amongst the friends who came to my birthday brunch was Daniel. When digging into our pumpkin entrée, we realised that he was putting the pumpkin skins to the side. We told him that you could in fact eat them. Then came along this main of his – I didn’t actually notice it at first, but towards the end of his meal I realised how clean his plate looked. He had eaten the shells of the prawns. After that we all made fun of how when he could actually eat the skins, he’d put them aside; and when he’s not meant to eat the skin (shells), he ate them anyway!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - SHED MAINS: CHAR GRILLED MARINATED LAMB CUTLETS
SHED MAINS: CHAR GRILLED MARINATED LAMB CUTLETS
(6) infused with oregano, mint and grilled lemon, with beetroot, potato & feta salad ($34.00)

When i visited the Potting Shed for the second time for dinner, my eyes were all over this dish as I was deciding on what I wanted to have. I went for something else though only because I thought it was a bit expensive for a casual weekend dinner. We settled the bill and just before I walked out of the café, a waited walked by carrying two plates of these babies and I had an instant food regret. They looked so good even though it was relatively dark and I could barely see a thing. I knew then that this was definitely a dish that I needed to order for the next visit despite how expensive it was. And voilà! I went all out and ordered it for my birthday and definitely no regrets. My only criticism? It was probably a little bit too pink on the inside for me, but otherwise, flavour combination was on point!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: BAKED APPLE PIE (for 2 people)
DESSERTS: BAKED APPLE PIE (for 2 people)
amongst home style vanilla custard ($16.00)

I actually cannot remember what my mouth felt like after having this dessert which means that it probably wasn’t as memorable as the last dessert you’ll see in this post. Nonetheless, it was a great tasting apple pie. I really liked how they served the vanilla custard in an old-school milk bottle, it made us fight over who wanted to pour it onto the pie!

Again, I was not able to have a bite of the next two desserts, so I won’t be able to comment on them. But judging by the orgasmic sounds that my friends made while consuming the dessert, I’m guessing they were pretty top notch as well!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: BANANA TART TATIN
DESSERTS: BANANA TART TATIN
alongside coconut ice cream and hazelnut praline ($14.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: BANANA BANOFFEE PIE
DESSERTS: BANANA BANOFFEE PIE
short crust pastry with caramel topping, flavoured cream, grilled banana and coconut ice cream ($12.00)

The Potting Shed at the Grounds - DESSERTS: SELF SAUCING CHOCOLATE PUDDING
DESSERTS: SELF SAUCING CHOCOLATE PUDDING
with vanilla bean or salted caramel ice cream ($14.00)

Ever heard of the saying that there’s always room for dessert? THERE WILL ALWAYS BE ROOM FOR THIS DESSERT HANDS DOWN! You can obviously tell that this is probably the most mouthgasmic dessert I’ve had EVER! The first time I had this dessert I unfortunately had to share with 4 other people – it was definitely not enough! I had about 2 mouthfuls and that was it! Much rage. But for my birthday, I ordered one just for myself! This warm and chocolate-rich pudding is to die for, and the salted caramel ice cream on the side was the perfect match. I mean, if this photograph of the dessert doesn’t entice you into making that wise decision to order it, then I have no words for your insane mind.

What I have shown in this post is just a number of dishes that you can find at one of the cafés at the Ground of Alexandria. The site is filled with various food stalls and I definitely recommend spending a sunny weekend at the Grounds with friends for some delectable eats. Explore the gardens, the markets, and of course say hi to the various farm animals!

The Potting Shed at the Grounds
Building 7A
No. 2 Huntley Street
Alexandria, New South Wales
Australia, 2015

– Ally xx

Rustic Pearl

Rustic Pearl

Hello Everyone! Here is another brunch turned late lunch review of this lovely café in Surry Hills that my housemate/friend recommended for a Sunday Brunch treat before the beginning of Semester 2 (last semester for me, but many more semesters for her). We’ve also been planning this brunch outing for a while now as our friend Daniel was on a month-long, or even more, holiday and we wanted to have our first brunch-turned-late-lunch get together. I also invited along my new housemate Lydia for our delicious eats.

I keep saying brunch-turned-late-lunch, and for those of you who have read my previous post, I am very particular about the timing when it comes to ‘brunch’ and ‘lunch’. Well hats off to Marissa for wanted to get to Rustic Pearl at 10am, at least she understood the concept of time when it comes to brunch, but what happened was that we ended up leaving a little bit later than planned. We only left home at about 10:45AM and probably reached the place at around 11:15AM. At least it wasn’t quite lunch yet, but nearly pushing it. The place was hectic though, we had to wait in line for a table and I was told by one of the waiters that it would be about a 45-minute to an hour wait. I was just like OH MY GOD, but we waited anyway.

They were pretty spot on with the predicted waiting time as I didn’t get a call for a free table until about an hour later. By the time we sat down and ordered it was probably already quarter to one, and food probably came out about another 15-20 minutes later. Man I was starving because as usual I skipped out on breakfast thinking that I would be having brunch. I think from the past two ‘brunch’ outings I have learnt my lesson – that I will NEVER be able to actually have brunch at the time I perceive it to be at, and that I should ALWAYS have breakfast before going out for a brunch-turned-late-lunch outing.

But enough babble, I shall get onto what I loved about Rustic Pearl. Now, I’m not one to order drinks at cafés just because it usually fills me up a bit even before the food arrives. But Marissa told me that they have some pretty awesome smoothies, and other drinks of course on their menu – and she was right! It was to die for! I had something called a Chocomolé which was basically Avocado and Chocolate, something I’ve never had before, combined that is, and I was just blown away by how amazing it tasted. The other smoothies were delicious as well (yes, we all doubled dipped and shared a sip from each drink that we ordered amongst the four of us).

Rustic Pearl - Avocado SmoothieAvocado Smoothie topped with pistachio & pomegranate seeds ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - Banana Cinnamon SmoothieBanana Cinnamon Smoothie ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - Chocomolé SmoothieChocomolé Smoothie with avocado, cocoa & honey, topped with pistachio & pomegranate seeds ($7.00)

Rustic Pearl - 'Yum Yeshil' (dairy free) Blended Fruit Juice‘Yum Yeshil’ (dairy free) Blended Fruit Juice with spirulina, topped with seeds, goji berries & bee pollen ($7.00)

Daniel wasn’t too fond of this drink. I only had a little sip so I couldn’t really judge the taste of it based on that. But this was the only smoothie that was dairy-free which is why he ordered it.

Now onto the food, we of course decided to order something different so that we could all each have at least one bite from everyones plate. The food was amazing! I could not fault the dishes at all, and neither could my friends.

Rustic Pearl - Breakfast Special: Smoked Wagyu Omelette
Breakfast Special: Smoked Wagyu Omelette with buffalo mozzarella, spinach, skordalia, bacon dust, tomato relish & toast ($17.00)

Marissa’s dish; she absolutely loved about the omelette was silky smooth and juicy. She is not a big fan of cherry tomatoes, but with this dish in particular, she almost forgot that she ate them! It was that good. She said that it looked a little bit small on the plate (in comparison to our dishes) but it was filling enough for her.

Rustic Pearl - Lunch Special: Fish of the Day (Swordfish)
Lunch Special: Fish of the Day (Swordfish) with spinach, tomato concasse, capers, avocado, cucumber & witlof, dressed with apple vinaigrette ($19.50)

Daniel’s dish; he absolutely loved how his fish was cooked to perfection. Yummy and juicy. He also loved his greens so this was the perfect, healthy dish for him.

Rustic Pearl - LUNCH for the soul: Char grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burger
LUNCH for the soul: Char grilled Mediterranean Lamb Burger with red onion jam, smoky eggplant purée, fresh tomato, cos lettuce & yoghurt dressing ($18.00)

Lydia’s dish; another stellar dish that did not upset. The meat patty was cooked to perfection – moist and juicy.

Rustic Pearl - BREAKFAST for the soul: Bosphorus Benedict
BREAKFAST for the soul: Bosphorus Benedict, char grilled bay lobster flesh, crushed avocado & 2 poached organic eggs, topped with homemade hollandaise, fresh chives, coriander & chilli ($24.00)

In my opinion, the best dish of the 4 (just because it was mine and I got to eat most of it) no but seriously, this dish was just so delicious. Runny egg yolk with char grilled lobster, who would’ve thought? Another stellar dish to my list of mind-blowing eggs benny (my top one is still Devon’s Eggs Blini – I will do a review on them when I have the chance to go back with more friends that that I have an array of dishes to show and write about and not just the one).

Now this is one worth mentioning (but hopefully no one from the café will see this, just incase it was a mistake and they will get in trouble with this), however I assume that it was intentional and I will state why… So, when the bill came, it was folded in half, had the total amount written on the back of the order sheet, and had a ‘Thank You!’ note written just below it. Now of course because we all knew that we needed to split the bill according to what we ordered, I opened the bill to see that we were undercharged in two of the dishes. Each dish, except Daniel’s was $17. Which meant that Lydia’s Lamb Burger was undercharged by $1 and my lobster Eggs Benny was undercharged by $7… Now being a nice and honest person, I was actually going to ask them if they had made a mistake on the bill, because I find being undercharged $7 is quite significant.

But instead I didn’t – not because I wanted to cheat but because I analysed they way the bill was given to us. It was folded in half, the total was written on the back of the order sheet, and I’m pretty sure that if they had totalled it, they would’ve spotted the mistake on the bill. Also, the two dishes that were undercharged came from their regular menu so I’m pretty sure they have been serving the dishes for a while and they would’ve remembered how much it costed. So I just wondered… Why? I probably should’ve asked why we were undercharged so that I at least knew why… A part of me also thought that it might be because we waited just a little bit over an hour for a table? Just maybe.

Nonetheless, it was a great day of warmth and sunshine (off for it is the middle of ‘winter’ here down under), laughs shared between old and new friends accompanied by delicious drinks and lip-smacking food. A must visit café for those in the Sydney region!

Rustic Pearl
415 Crown Street
Surry Hills, New South Wales
Australia, 2010

– Ally xx