Winter in Sydney can be spectacular. On a sunny Saturday, we lunched by the beachfront at North Bondi Fish, formally the home of the now defunct North Bondi Italian. This is the newest venture of the entrepreneurial Australian chef, Matt Moran.
We were seated perfectly, by the floor to ceiling glass windows overlooking the beach at North Bondi with a good view of the brave and adventurous swimmers and surfers making their way through the waves.
Not surprisingly, given the location and name, the menu is all about seafood, though the menu design could do with some work. It is the cocktail and wine options that seem to be given greater gravitas in the layout. We really had to focus our attention on the single column of food options, visually overpowered by the drinks list. on either side. Cocktails to the left and wine to the right.
The menu is a little difficult to navigate and it wasn’t until sometime after perusing the options that we were advised that the dishes are designed to be shared, which seems to be all the rage these days.
We started with the seafood charcuterie board, impressively the fish looked very much like a traditional salumi charcuterie. Air dried tuna, a seafood-type pate, along with beetroot and citrus cured salmon, accompanied with cornichons, mustard and pickled onion.
The food came out speedily. We ordered two types of scallop – one a battered sweet potato disc, reminiscent of corner bar takeaways as well as seared scallops, served on the shell – sweet, fresh and singing with a hint of a coriander infused perfume. For those that are a little irksome of the herb, don’t be deterred. It is only a suggestion of it and pairs beautifully with the scallop. Next up was the snapper sashimi, dressed with a touch of juicy citrus and what we thought may be a flash of clove. One that tantalised the tastebuds.
Salt and pepper calamari was done nicely and a crab and pea linguini with a hint of chilli were our substantial options. The calamari was good, though the linguini a little heavy and the flavour of the crab masked by the density of the pasta. The Quinoa salad was a good accompaniment.
For dessert, we opted to share the cheese plate. Three lovely cheeses served with lavosh and red grapes. Disappointingly, the cheese was too cold on service and we didn’t have the luxury of time to wait for the cheese to soften closer to room temperature, as we were rushed out by the staff for the next lunch sitting, though the restaurant was probably only one third full.
Verdict: A reasonably priced menu, lovely flavours pairing the fish and seafood. North Bondi Fish would benefit from a little less economy turning over tables when not too busy and rebalancing their menu design to emphasise the wonderful food options.