The occasion for our lunch was a farewell to Sydney for a lovely friend, moving to Melbourne. So we wanted to go somewhere appropriate. A place we could be Ladies who Lunch, frock up and delight in the very best that Sydney has to offer.
World renowned for its beach, Bondi is a haven for inner city Aussies, ex-pats, tourists and backpackers. An eclectic mix of restaurants and bars line the esplanade of this magnificent Australian landmark. The pinnacle of Bondi’s dining crown is Icebergs Dining Room & Bar. It’s absolutely one of those places that I would suggest out-of-towner’s experience for a taste of Sydney dining sophistication – it’s got it all. I would go so far as to say it is the quintessential Sydney dining experience.
Stacked above the Bondi Icebergs Swimming Club, on the cliff at South Bondi, the restaurant interior is elegant with all shades of the seaside – aqua glass, wicker furniture, turquoise highlights, crisp white linen and polished concrete –it is the continuation of the stunning seascape, indoors.
The wait staff are sharp, smartly dressed and gracious. And they don’t miss a beat. Running a little late for our booking was nothing to phase the staff – we walked in and they immediately offered us the option of a drink at the bar, which we gratefully accepted.
Starting with a bottle of sparkling Chandon Brut Rosé perched on the terrace, we admired the view, watching the surfers bob in the sea on their boards as well as the lap swimmers in the sea pool. Sadly, too far to spot up close Bondi’s finest – the Surf Life Savers.
We were shown to our gorgeous window table, where a menu listed with delicious Italian dishes was presented to us. Delicate entrees, followed by pasta and risotto options and roasted/grilled meats. We decided to make the most of our beachside location and opted to double up on entrees for fresh, summer flavours.
Scallops are my absolute favourite, so Wild Hand Dived Hervey Bay Half Shell Scallops, accompanied with Tomato, Green Chilli,
Garlic, Radish Salad was a no brainer for me. Just cooked, to perfection, it was tangy, sweet and peppered, in all the right places.
My dining buddies ordered Salt Baked Gold and Purple Beetroot Salad, Served Chilled with Goats Curd, Beet Juice, Roasted Walnuts, Gorgonzola, Young Chard. These beets were out and proud, not sparse, hiding behind an abundance of baby spinach. I’m happy to report that there was not a baby spinach leaf insight and delighted for the generous serving of beets. Visually, a sight to behold, though the Gold beetroots must have had chameleon properties that day…they were scarce in the mix, as all we could see was a mass of purples, pinks and red.
The third starter was Carpaccio of Petuna Ocean Trout, Baby Basil, Horseradish Cream, Free Range Quail Eggs and Kamut Crumbs, was the perfect balance of flavours and texture. The Kamut crumbs were especially tasty.
We carb’d it up with our next course, ordering entree sized dishes, which were just the right size for a summer lunch.
Spaghetti with Clams & Zucchini – I needed to add a fair bit of salt to the pasta and the zucchini were infact tiny zucchini flowers, which was a lovely surprise.
Orecchiette, Broccoli, Garlic, Anchovy, Hint of Chilli served perfectly al dente, and as written on the box, the chilli was a notional suggestion. With a table service grind of pecorino, the meld of flavours was just right.
Lastly, the Queensland Spanner Crab, “Venetian Style” Soft Polenta, Fresh Sorrel, Chilli, Garlic, Lemon: just an exquisite dish.
Wines were lovely. We opted for the white, an Austrian Grüner Veltliner, with our first and second courses. Our cheese course and dessert was accompanied with an absolute new favourite wine – Torbreck’s The Steading - a GSM from the Barossa Valley, lightly chilled. So good infact, we didn’t stop at just one bottle. The cheese plate was a very generous serve of four cheeses with glace fig, excellent value at $30. Such good value, we couldn’t finish the plate. One of my pet peeves when ordering cheese is the cheese to bread/lavosh ratio. In this instance, there were both in abundance.
And, because we were ladies that lunched, no meal would be complete without a spoonful of decadent dessert goodness in the form of chocolate. We shared a divine Flourless Soft Centred Chocolate Pudding, Honeycomb and Raspberry Ice Cream with Chocolate Coated Honeycomb. It tasted as great as it sounds.
I’ve never had a bad meal here. It is just so darn consistently great. The sights, the salt spray, the sounds of the crashing waves, the grumble of rolling thunder, the service, the food. Ahhhh. Winning.
Did you know?
- The restaurant takes its name from the famous Beach Bath (sea water swimming pool) which it sits above. The name refers to a group of lifesavers who wanted to maintain their fitness during the winter months. They formed the Bondi Icebergs Winter Swimming Club.
- Icebergs Dining Room and Bar celebrated 10 years in 2012.
- Icebergs sister restaurant, North Bondi Italian, anchors the north end of Bondi Beach.