The Potting Shed
41/43 Bourke Rd Alexandria, NSW 2015
On a rare trip to Sydney to visit friends, there was one place I knew I had to visit – The Grounds of Alexandria. For anyone wondering what I’m talking about, where have you been? The Ground of Alexandria is a culmination of garden, café, market, farm, bakery and coffee roastery, and is one of the most photographed eateries in Australia. Located at an old industrial site, this acre of land has been converted into a beautiful space perfect for anyone looking for a cup of coffee and some greenery.
We arrived on a Saturday afternoon and found ourselves amongst hundreds of others looking for a place to eat. Unsurprisingly, The Potting Shed, one of The Grounds’ most popular restaurants, had a wait time of 45 minutes. However, this was the perfect opportunity for us to explore the rest of what The Grounds had to offer.
Even though it was almost 3pm when we were finally sat at a table, the restaurant was still packed full of people. I ordered a raspberry lemonade to stave off the humidity and heat, and was surprised to find it was absolutely delicious – the raspberry and lemon flavours were both incredibly strong and it was the perfect balance of sweet and sour.
The menu at The Potting Shed, like all of the other eateries in The Gardens, is very much produce-driven, and every single item on it sounded amazing, which is definitely a rarity. Luckily there were four of us, so we could order a range of dishes and try a little of everything.
Each strip of fresh, al dente past covered in a rich, flavourful sauce, with salty capers to break it all up. I was also impressed with the generous serving – it’s a pet peeve when a restaurant skimps on pasta – this was definitely enough for a very satisfying meal.
I had high hopes for this burger as soon as the waitress informed us that the chef routinely cooks the beef to a medium, and I was not disappointed. The patty was beautifully pink on the inside, and the cheesy sauce was overflowing – perfect for dipping chips. I’m not sure what to make of the shovel that it was served in though – perhaps taking the theme a bit too far?
The crumb on these fish fillets were perfectly seasoned and crunchy, while keeping the fish inside moist. The main downside were the chips, which were really just roasted wedges of potato that needed an extra sauce on the side (the tartare was only enough for the fish).
Mussels, like most other seafood, are beautiful when cooked well, but more times than not, end up overcooked and chewy. I was very surprised to find, for the first time, an entire dish full of perfectly cooked, fresh mussels that still retained the flavour of the sea. The sauce was simple but deliciously garlicky, and all of it was mopped up by the green onion pancake, an interesting alternative to bread.
A simple dish but the crispy cauliflower with cheese and seaweed for extra flavour made a great side.
It’s easy to see why The Potting Shed is so popular – I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed all of the food. The only downside is that the prices are a bit higher than expected for the type of food on the menu and casual vibe of the restaurant, but the quality was definitely there. The atmosphere of the whole place, extending to The Grounds, was lush and vibrant, albeit very crowded at times. If I lived in Sydney, I could definitely see myself enjoying the beautiful surroundings and people-watching the afternoon away with a cup of coffee and some cake.