It took a little longer than I thought but the doors have swung open at Alexandria’s newest eating and drinking venue. Over the road at The Grounds you can have your queues, kiddie-focused playground and farm animals but here at Vicinity it’s all about wooden decks, lounges, fire pits and a flash interior. This industrial suburb has had a bit of a spit ‘n polish over the last year or so and something tells me there’s more on the way.
The large floor space is subdivided into a variety of areas. Centrally there’s a smart-yet-casual cluster of 4-seater tables lightly partitioned by strands of chain, off to one side is a lounge area beneath a very large and not-so-pretty collage of distracting television screens, and by the bar there are several tables and armchairs. The very impressive kitchen sits at the rear while more seating is tucked behind the bar by way of benches and tables. Inside and out, a lot of humans can fit into this place.
The menu is casual, familiar, and from what our little group tried, really delicious. Daytime is “graze” time in this vicinity. A smattering of breakfast bits and a very nice selection of brunch and lunch edibles. Be it coffee or booze, there’s something on the menu that suits anything I’m wanting to drink it down with. Creamy scrambled eggs (10.5) and a deliciously messy sloppy joe (16) that has its sweetly spiced meaty innards dribbling down anyone’s hands as they dive in.
The grilled Western Australian octopus (12) is more akin to carpaccio or ceviche; thinly sliced, supremely tender and juiced-up with citrus, mild chilli and herbs. The pan-seared chorizo (12) has a spicy edge, making it a perfect friend for a cold beer. A splash of apple cider and slices of green apple are thrown in during its pan time, taking the smokey flavour to another level.
More beer-appropriate food is the teeth-shattering pork scratchings (6), lightly dusted with an onion and sage salt. Yeah baby. And some melting beef ribs (13) with sam jang (Korean ssamjang paste) mayo, apple and radish salad. Only a few little bones here so no need for sticky fingers, unless of course you forego the stainless steel implements and do it dirty.
The sides on the menu also act as a starter, with most of them being vegetarian friendly. The turmeric cauliflower (10) wears an Indian outfit of tempered mustard seeds, slivers of green chilli and the odd curry leaf. Aside from a bunch of cakes and pastries there are a couple of desserts for the sweeties. Think knickerbocker glory and baked rice pudding. All we tried was a nice and moist green tea cake (4) to have with our coffee’s.
Aside from some staff still struggling to grasp the table number format and delivering meals to those that didn’t order them, the friendliness, decent food and Sydney-style industrial comfort of this place seems to have already been embraced by the local urbanites.