When I go to The Grounds of Alexandria, I feel like I’m in some fancy version of Wonderland (well, without awesome rides like Snowy River Rampage and that super scary tower that just drops you). The grounds at, ahem, The Grounds are immaculate—there are stalls full of tasty treats, interesting bits and bobs everywhere you look and colourful characters entertaining guests AKA Kevin Bacon, the resident pig, who is MUCH larger than I had imagined. And hairier.
Large and hairy pigs aside, The Potting Shed is a beautiful addition to the already beautiful space and, as the name would suggest, The Potting Shed actually resembles a large potting shed. With tonnes of plants hanging from the roof, water mists spraying/watering you in the warmer months, and clever integration of shovels and forks around the place (look at the menus!), it really is one of the more fantastical restaurants in Sydney to dig into a meal.
Speaking of digging in, we must discuss the food, because isn’t that what we are all here for? Shares are always a good way to start and we got stuck into the steamed South Australian mussels which came in a white wine, fennel and garlic broth and was accompanied by a generous serving of herb and garlic bread. Of course we ordered the wonderfully crunchy chips to soak up even more of the broth and to double up on the carb intake.
The Shed Platter was a thing of beauty. Big beauty—it’s huge. It’s loaded up with cured meats, cheeses, bread, lavosh AND grissini, skordalia and fruits… Whew! My tip? Don’t go too nuts on the ordering if there’s just the two of you—this will definitely get you at least halfway there. Unless you’re a big eater, then go for your life!
For mains, there’s an epic looking pulled pork sandwich on the menu that would have been about the size of my head, but we opted for the grain-fed sirloin steak, hand-made gnocchi and the shellfish linguine. To say we over-ordered was an understatement, but this was all in the name of research (you’re welcome).
The steak was thick, juicy and perfectly cooked, plus the mini-cleaver that accompanied the steak was a bit of fun. It came with a few potato crisps on the top, which was a bit of a surprise, although not an unwelcome addition. The Shed shellfish linguine was packed full of under the sea deliciousness including blue swimmer crab, clams and mussels, and while salty, wasn’t overwhelmingly so. In fact, I would order this dish again and again.
Finally, out came the gnocchi which came with a soft cooked egg and those potato crisps again! If we thought we were doing carb on carb before, this dish really showed us.
There’s also a solid drinks list should you choose to partake. I opted for the Senorita, I Feel For You for two reasons—a) it sounded like a fiesta in my mouth with the mint and lime juice and, b) Justin Timberlake. There’s also a healthy wine list with many an option for wines by the glass or bottle… and even carafe.
The Potting Shed is a restaurant in Sydney where you can while away many hours eating, drinking, and pondering how you can get your plants to look this good. Whether you’re there on a date, or with some friends, a visit here is an excellent choice because The Grounds don’t do anything by halves.
Image credit: Jackielyn Powell