Confession: I’ve been to The Grounds Keeper Cafe a lot in the last four months. So much so that the owners, Hadi and Sam know my face and laugh whenever I turn up and ask me where I’ve been if I haven’t visited for a while. Lucky for them, I normally bring someone new every time.
Up until six months ago, the options for food at the Blacktown Showground Precinct were pretty average; there was a kiosk serving hot and cold drinks and ice blocks, and the cafe menu was limited to a few burgers, a $10 all-day breakfast, and a few sandwiches for the kids to eat. If you were enjoying the playground and needed a feed in a pinch, it wasn’t a bad option. Today, the precinct hosts a hidden gem – just metres away from one of Western Sydney’s best water parks, and offers quality coffee and fresh mediterranean cuisine.
The brothers behind The Grounds Keeper Cafe in West Ryde have have expanded their passion for thoughtful, good-quality food, and have opened another branch just minutes away from Blacktown Station where you can sit back and enjoy a hearty meal or a decent espresso while the kids run around and burn energy in the playground or water park just few metres away.
The middle-eastern and mediterranean inspired menu doesn’t disappoint; I’ve been here for breakfast, brunch and lunch and have
wolfed down thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve ordered. The pancakes are a decadent way to start the day but worth trying if you want to treat yourself, while the barramundi (a chef’s special, not always on the menu) with beetroot chips was the perfect light lunch (Mr 4 stole most of my beetroot chips – not a bad way to give him a serving of veggies). I was totally satisfied by the chicken burger (fresh aioli – yes please), but a mate of mine said the wagyu burger was average.
They have a kids breakfast menu with items starting at $9.50 and includes bacon and eggs on toast; a ham and cheese omelette on toast; pancakes with strawberries, vanilla ice cream and maple syrup; and a ham and cheese toast.
My sister pointed out that while the food and coffee is delicious and top-quality, it comes at a price most families may not be prepared to pay for a day out to the park. This isn’t a fast-food joint or even your regular park cafe; most of the produce is picked up in the early morning and locally-grown, and even some of the desserts are home-made.
So if you plan to come here with the whole family, you’ll probably consider it a treat – but it’s a treat that’s worth it (experience tells me their rocky-road is definitely worth it).
Address: Blacktown Showground Precinct, cnr Richmond Road and Balmoral Road, Blacktown
Opening hours: 8am-4pm Saturday and Sunday; 9am-4pm Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (closed every Tuesday)
Cuisine: Middle Eastern breakfast and lunch, fresh juices, home-made desserts, coffee
Kid’s menu: Yes