Finally. Finally got myself to this place. Now to see if it lived up to the hype..
Now in case you haven’t heard of this place (which I seriously doubt), the Grounds is…imagine a Disneyland for the trendy and the hipsters. Unlike any cafe you’ll ever visit the area spans a large area and has ample food and drink options. While there is the regular sit-in cafe with a menu and waitresses and whatnot, there’s also outdoor stands where you can quench your thirst, fulfil your grilled needs or even do something other than eating.
Pretty neat right? There’s even a playground to dump your kids while you have fun (I’m joking!! But there really is a playground for kids). Before we got to go into the cafe, we had to wait for some vacancy and that left us almost 30 minutes worth of exploring.
I didn’t want to flood the ‘food’ blog with photos of non-food so I’ll cut to the chase! After staring at Kevin Bacon, looking at flowers, examining cool artefacts, we got in and ordered some grub. Initial impressions of the menu was that it had some great breakfast and lunch varieties. The prices were pretty average ‘cafe’ prices and the food sounded great.
So what did we get? Three banana smoothies, some coffee, some chips, a classic chicken schnitty, salmon with some quinoa salad and a steak sandwich.
Yeah, it’s $8, but hear me out. God damn. This is one hell of a banana smoothie. When it was raved about I was thinking “it’s just a banana smoothie…”. I was wrong. Firstly taking one sip of this thing gives you the impression that you’re eating a banana. You get plenty chunks of banana but was I surprised with that consistency. Super smooth. Along with the honey to give that extra natural-sweetness and the crumbs of granola left on the top, so..good. Buy it. For sure.
To start off the feed, we got ourselves some chips. They were crispy as hell but the main attraction here was the chilli mayo that it’s served with. The sauce you want to dip everything into. Get chips just for that mayo. Real talk.
The chicken schnitty was nothing too special of a dish. While the bread crumb had fantastic seasoning and gave the chicken a marvellous crunch, the chicken itself was disappointingly dry. However with that salad and the provided aoli sauce, it didn’t ruin it. But it was disappointing. The salad was sweet especially with those dried blackcurrents and the slaw had a tang to it, partially thanks to that lemon. Along with the crunch of the walnuts, it’s no surprise they have the same salad completely on its own. A schnitzel comes with craving, and if you’re craving, I wouldn’t recommend against it, but otherwise, give other things a shot first!
Now to my dish. The steak sandwich. When it came, first thing I thought was “this has to be the biggest surface area of a slice of bread I’ve ever seen”. First of all, lets talk about the star of the sandwich; the steak. The meat itself was quite chewy and a bit tough. The kind where you try to take a bite but you accidentally pull the entire piece out because it wouldn’t break off. But not to worry. The delicious aoli sauce and ample amount of beetroot kept it moist and flavoursome. If I had to change a few things though..the meat should be a bit thicker so it can retain some moisture and the bread should be toasted by default, because that mayo will soggy itself right through! I was proper full after this though so a lot of bang for your buck in this one.
I didn’t have too much of the salmon so we’ll keep this short. The salmon was moist and very well cooked. The skin was crispy to the days but still allowed the meat to fall off with the touch of the knife. To to complement this, the quinoa salad with soya beans delivered a great tangy texture to the fish. I’d definitely like to come back and eat the plate as a whole and get a…closer look ;P and so should you!
Also, let’s not forget that the Grounds is an extra good supplier of miscellaneous desserts like tarts and fresh bread. In fact I bought a charcoal with fox nuts loaf and it was delicious. Managed to snatch it up for 3 Loaves for $10 too. Bargain for deliciously fresh bread. I recommend you give that a shot!
So, that sums it up. Did the Grounds beat the hype? I’d like to say, it did fairly well. With the non-conventional cafe layout of stands and plenty to keep you busy while you wait for a table, it certainly took that boring factor out. Also the food was…good, but not amazing. A few hiccups here and there but it is on par with anything else. The service was also amazing; if you were wondering.
So should you come here? Yes. It’s just one of those places you have to visit, but more for the atmosphere than a complete food-driven adventure.