The suburb known for its trucks and warehouses has been invaded with great coffee haunts and cafés of late and is billed as a potential successor to Surry Hills and Redfern for the next "it" hood. Which means it's also been invaded by brunchers – so watch for queues. You'll find the city's savvier food-lovers gathered at the café-bakery-urban farm that is the Grounds of Alexandria. Or lining up for flaky pies at Bourke Street Bakery. Or snacking on pizza slabs at Cipro. Or shopping at Salt Meats Cheese. Or getting their coffee nerdery on at Don Campos. Or even sucking up some pasta at Café Sopra. But there are some old faves that have hung in as the gentrification's been taking hold – the Alexandria Hotel is still an excellent old pub, and a spiritual home for Swans fans everywhere.
Salt Meats Cheese
It seems like every time we turn our backs Alexandria adds another awesome venue to its growing portfolio of inner-city cool. The café/bakery/coffee roastery that is the Grounds of Alexandria was the first to pull the crowds, ably assisted by wholefoods canteen Bread and Circus and neighbouring coffee counter Don Campos. But the winner for this industrial-suburb-that-could must surely be Salt Meats Cheese, a massive imported-food warehouse specialising in crazy salts, cheeses, and, yes, you guessed it, meats. In the centre of the warehouse the exotic salt counter is selling one-way tickets to flavour town. Big black cloth sacks filled with spiced, smoked (and even hammed) salt are on display, but watch your fingers there, grubby. There’s a little shaker on hand for tasting. That means no double-dipping between bags lest you mess up the wild porcini salt with Bolivian rose. Perish the thought. Out the back of the enormous warehouse, you’ll find a cheese and salumi bar run by a man with a moustache so big it looks like it could get up and stroll away on its own. This cured-meat cabana features a bar made entirely of Himalayan rock salt and more hanging salumi than a Berlusconi house party – many of them made and cured by Sardinian chef Giovanni Pilu, of Pilu at Freshwater fame. The front bench is covered in huge wheels of cheese, the entire section of the warehouse cool and comforting. With the musty scent of cured pork and the lighter perfume of gruyere, earthy tru