GPK Erina Fair

GPK (Gourmet Pizza Kitchen) is, as the name suggests, a pizzeria located in the Hive at Erina Fair. GPK also serves pastas and alcoholic beverages; and is conveniently located near Hoyts, if one wishes to follow food with a trip to the movies.

Food

I ordered the Bacon & Mushroom pasta. I thought the meal was average. While it wasn’t bad, the pasta lacked the oomph that would have made it delicious.

My friends, who ordered a variety of pizzas and pastas, also found their meals to be bland.

2.5/5.

Drinks

I ordered a piña colada.

I thought the drink was thicker than other piña coladas I’ve had in the past, however I still enjoyed the taste of it. Despite the piña colada containing white rum and myself being a bit of a light weight, I never felt even the slightest bit tipsy, which does make me wonder if they forgot to add the alcohol… but, hey, maybe I was just having a heavy weight kind of day *shrug*.

Meanwhile, a friend of mine, who considers herself a piña colada connoisseur found the drink lacked the pineapple-y taste that usually characterises piña coladas, and she agreed that it was a bit thick.

2.5/5.

Service

We were served by the owner and we found the service exceptional!

My friend had a voucher for two free pizzas… and we somehow ended up with four free pizzas! One of these extra pizzas was due to kitchen forgetting to leave off an ingredient. They caught the mistake themselves, so the pizza wasn’t brought out to us before they offered to give it to us anyway. A friend that joined us later in the evening ended up eating this pizza rather than buying one for herself. The other extra free pizza was because a friend went home sick… His leaving had nothing to do with GPK, yet they offered us a free pizza anyway!

On top of this, the owner was funny (or as funny as you may find some lame dad jokes). He made the night enjoyable for our group.

5/5.

Overall

While we found the food and drinks to be very average, GPK’s service was some of the best I have seen. Altogether, I rate GPK 6.6/10.

The Grounds of Alexandria

The Grounds of Alexandria are a beautiful floral themed space, located in a 1920s Industrial area. This history has been absorbed into the design of the Grounds, creating a unique, rustic, and quaint space. The Grounds include The Café, open for breakfast and lunch; The Potting Shed, open from 11:30am until late; and, The Garden, a variety of takeaway style eateries, namely The Garden Bar, The BBQ, and The Pizza Silo. 

The Grounds are well known for featuring a changing theme. The current theme is Disney’s Maleficent. 

“As a beautiful young woman of pure heart, Maleficent has an idyllic life in a forest kingdom…”

One way in which The Grounds have incorporated the dark beauty of Maleficent into their garden is as you walk down the main walkway, you are flanked by hedges decorated with black roses, crow feathers, and wispy dead leaves. These additions stick out haphazardly yet in perfect harmony. This pathway is truly stunning, if not dark. The effect is that you feel as though you really are entering the horned fairy’s dominion.

Halfway down the walkway, there is an opening to the right where you can enter into the courtyard of The Grounds; the centrepiece of which is a beautiful water fountain. The backdrop, an archway of fairy lights, looks as though it continues eternally in an ethereal fashion. This area is particularly picturesque at night. I felt as though this space would be perfect for hosting a wedding reception.

There is also plenty to do here, with a kid’s play corner containing a rocking horse, both a cow and a pig seat, a large connect four game, and more… All to keep the little ones entertained while you browse the gardens. There’s a pig pen for The Grounds’ resident pig Harry Trotter, as well as a pen of hens + Russel Crow the Rooster. All of these areas keep to a farmyard theme and are ultra fun additions to the venue.

The rear side of the courtyard connects to The Garden, where the aforementioned takeaway shops are located. This too is beautiful to walk down, and if you take a left here it also loops back to the main walkway.

Design 5/5.

The Potting Shed

Luke and I had a dinner reservation at The Potting Shed for our third anniversary. We arrived half an hour early, yet the staff were willing to seat us and begin service upon our arrival. There was a line up, however, to get a seat and only one lady on host, so in saying this, we did have to wait about five minutes in line before we were eventually seated. We also found the service throughout the night a bit slow.

We were seated directly under a large industrial heater. Our waitress offered to turn the heater off for us if it became too hot, but we found it comfortable in light of a slight chilly breeze.

We were handed a drink menu and two food menus. The food menus came on a heavy metal clipboard, once again tying in to that industrial history of The Grounds.

We read through the drinks menu and I immediately fell in love with the description of a cocktail The Casual Encounter at first sight. “Save a dance for this belle of the highball – the glassiest drink in the gin joint. A thirst-quenching kiss of elderflower, Tanqueray Gin, peach and rose syrup.” The drink itself looked better than the water-colour illustration in the menu and it tasted equally as satisfying.

We ordered a Grounds Garlic & Herb Baguette to start. We found it quite bland. There was a twig of rosemary on the side; while this appeared aesthetically pleasing on the side of our bread board, it would’ve added more to the taste of the baguette if it had been baked into the bread.

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On its arrival, I ordered my second cocktail, The Fluffy-tiki. “Dedicated to our feathered friend, Fluffy. Delightful Captain Morgan Spiced Rum with pineapple and chased by citrus. Cheers Fluffy.” The Fluffy-tiki is served in a parrot mug. No, I’m not joking… Yes, it looked awesome. I didn’t realise this on the night, but you have the option of buying the mug from the restaurant for an extra $17.

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Our food arrived next:

1x The Shed Cheeseburger for Luke

ground brisket, onion rings, house sauce, pickles and melted cheese with chips; and

1x The Potting Shed Game Sausages for me

with colcannon mash, burnt onion and thyme gravy (gf) 

While the dinner could have been ever so slightly more tasteful, particularly for how much it costs, I otherwise couldn’t fault it.

Drinks 5/5.

Food 3/5. (-1 not as tasteful as it could be; -0.5 price; -0.5 understaffed).

Amenities

I have never seen bathrooms that look as nice as the ones at The Grounds. So much thought and effort has gone behind the design of these bathrooms and I loved it. To sum up how pretty they are, I have to point out: How often do you have the urge to take a picture of a bathroom?

5/5.

Overall

The Grounds of Alexandria have, within me, inspired a love for nature, beauty, and the rustic. I will definitely be going back in the future.

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My overall rating for The Grounds of Alexandria is 9/10!

Sweet Surprises Terrigal

There’s a new sweet shop in Terrigal called Sweet Surprises (and it was actually a surprise for me since I didn’t know about its arrival!)

They have an amazing range of international foods and otherwise interesting lollies… I felt like I was in heaven visiting!

I bought some pickle-flavoured Pringles (honestly, who knew that was a thing?!) and some Lucky Charms, which I’ve wanted to try my whole life.

The shop is set out nicely, it’s neat and well-faced (apart from the boxes in the above photo lol), and the staff are friendly. The location is convenient: located right on the esplanade of the beach; making the shop a great stop for some cheeky snacks on your day out.

I would definitely recommend visiting if you are on the Central Coast!

5/5 stars.