The Potting Shed, Alexandria

I’d been looking forward to a friend’s dirty 30 for ages. When you are going for dirty, you have to pick a suitably themed restaurant…. and nothing in this world is filled with more dirt than a potting shed. Bet you didn’t see that one coming! Minds out of the gutters people and into the flower beds!

On Saturday night I wandered down the proverbial garden path to one of The Grounds night time haunts, The Potting Shed. This restaurant has to be one of the most beautiful I have ever seen! To start with, despite the warm night, a mini bonfire has been set up outside the entrance accompanied by a pot of skewers and marshmallows for toasting. I almost didn’t make it into the actual restaurant. Boy I’m glad I did!

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When these guys go for a theme, they seriously commit. Timber tables of all shapes and sizes completely fill the place while the diners who sit at them, lit only by candle powered lanterns, provide the happy buzz of chatter and laughter that sets the scene for our celebration. A beautiful explosion of greenery covers the ceilings and walls with potted plants, vines, hanging baskets and flower beds positioned in every available space. It is the unique touches like a hanging bench swing and a real life macaw vocally making his presence known that makes this place really special.

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And the menu… It was to die for! Attached to a clipboard with a pitchfork or shovel clasp, everything from the appetisers to the sides to the mains are designed to share and we could see why – giant sized potions and delicious options that create a complete inability to make choices, all of which are definitely value for money!

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We began with two servings of the pumpkin fatteh $16, which was, and I kid you not, an explosion of happiness in my mouth. It kept me silent for about 15 minutes which is basically unheard of! Served on a wooden board it consisted of perfectly roasted pumpkin, zatar coated pita bread, sweet labne and toasted pine nuts. Individually the elements were tasty – together they were the perfect mouthful.

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We moved on to the small sized (cough cough) serving of the steamed black mussels $15. These juicy morsels were stewed in a rich tomato and chorizo sauce that was perfectly spiced. The two slices of buttered garlic and herb bread that accompanied the dish were the kind of carb I would happily get fat for.

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By this stage we were stuffed but that didn’t stop us from moving on to our mains. We’d ordered a mixed barley salad $18 which was the only slight disappointment as though there was tasty stuff at the bottom of the plate, it was a sparing potion and smothered in salad greens. Not to worry though, our other main was the lamb shank pot pie $24 – a mammoth dish of juicy, soft, fall of the bone meat topped with creamy, well seasoned mashed potato. We were heroic in our attempt to finish it but despite our best efforts, half made it home with us to become the following day’s dinner.

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The others had ordered the mixed meat and cheese platter, the wagu burger, grilled fish and the beef back strap. Everyone was deliriously happy with their choices and by the end of the night, utterly stuffed. Thank goodness there was no cake, although the ones available for special preorder I was told, had been seriously tempting – cheesecake pavlova anyone?

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But no, there was absolutely no room for sweets and yes, I too almost fainted hearing myself say that. All I had space for was one perfectly toasted marshmallow and then it was off into the fairly light filled night, taking our happy hearts and grateful stomachs home.

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