The old industrial hub of Alexandria has traded trucks and factories for flat whites and smashed avo, and these are the top spots to grab brunch in the neighbourhood.
The converted warehouses of Alexandria hint at the history of this now-fashionable inner-city neighbourhood, but the fragrance of coffee luring hipsters from nearby Redfern and Surry Hills reveals exactly where the suburb’s priorities lie in the year 2018. Dive into Alexandria’s thriving cafe scene with a bite to eat at one of these great brunch spots.
You can’t begin an article about the best brunch spots in Alexandria anywhere other than this mega-cafe, whose queues for weekend brunch have become the stuff of legend in Sydney. The Grounds occupies a heritage-listed industrial precinct that offers a glimpse into Alexandria’s working class past, and is made up of a huge cafe, restaurant, bar, garden, bakery, patisserie, coffee roastery, markets, florist and even an animal farm that all reflect the suburb’s bohemian character these days.
Mecca is one of Sydney’s leading coffee roasters, and the cafe attached to its roasting headquarters in Alexandria plates up a mouth-watering brunch to go with its batch brews and pour-overs. Grab a spot at one of the long timber tables and tuck into a plate of bacon and eggs or bircher muesli, while budding coffee experts can see the roastery in action at regular cuppings every Saturday morning.
Meet Gerard’s website lays claim to the best coffee, breakfast and lunch in Alexandria — and when you’re feasting on the humbly-named ‘Best Roast Chicken Sandwich Ever’, it’s hard to disagree. Sitting on the corner of busy Henderson Rd and the impossibly charming Gerard St, Meet Gerard prides itself on innovative use of local ingredients and showcasing delicious specialty coffee from local roasters Coffee Alchemy.
A short stroll from Sydney Park, the Copper Mill is a quintessential Alexandria establishment, breathing new life into an old printing press with a thoroughly contemporary raw timber and polished concrete fit out. The food menu is similarly rustic-chic — a series of breakfast sandwiches are the star of the show, including a Peruvian roll packed with pork belly and salsa criolla.
From the crates of fresh vegetables sitting on wooden benches to the agave that replaces sugar on many menu items, everything about this Alexandria wholefoods cafe feels healthy. Sharing an airy, open space with coffee roasters Campos, and Vietnamese restaurant Nguyen Brothers, Bread and Circus curates a welcoming, communal vibe that perfectly suits its ever-changing, veggie-heavy brunch options.
This Alexandria favourite bakes home-made biscuits, bagels and bread, a little more 21st century than Nanna used to make. Grandma’s has renovated a breezy industrial-style space into a flower-laden foodie destination for breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea — the range of different shakshukas (eggs poached in tomato sauce) are the house specialty, or treat yourself to a home-style dessert.
When you’re walking down the street, you wouldn’t normally look twice at an electricity substation — but this isn’t your average electricity substation. Inhabiting substation No.152 in the heart of Alexandria, this beautiful brunch spot has transformed a grey old industrial site into a garden oasis brimming with plants and picnic tables — the leafy internal courtyard is a cool spot to peruse the inventive brunch menu with a Single O house blend in hand.
COOH began as a small local cafe in North Curl Curl on the Northern Beaches before making its move to the big city, opening a huge venue on Bourke Rd just across the street from the Grounds. The passion for wholesome, flavoursome, awesome food is palpable — fish is cured and ‘raw’ desserts are baked on site, and the ingredient list goes out of its way to support small independent farmers and wholesalers. Open breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Textbook is the brainchild of pâtissier John Ralley, who cut his teeth in Michelin-starred restaurants in the UK, and baker Steven Anderson, a self-described ‘bread geek’ who’s into the scientific side of the trade. The dynamic duo create a mind-boggling array of original and eminently Instagrammable sweet treats that light up the dessert cabinet at this small Alexandria eatery, which is heaven on earth for any Sydney sweet-tooth.
Coco Republic is one of Australia’s premier furniture and design brands, so the cafe within their flagship Alexandria showroom is every bit as elegant as you’d expect. The goal of this glitzy espresso bar is to transport diners to the Italian Riviera, and L’Americano’s opulent marble tables and leather chairs are certainly more lavish than the exposed brick and timber benches that characterise the rest of the neighbourhood’s eateries.