There’s always something magical about being by the seaside on a bright summer’s day, sea breeze in your hair, all cares and worries a million miles away. After a pleasant walk from Bondi to Bronte and back, followed by a refreshing dip in the sea, I didn’t think my day could get any better. Until we set foot in North Bondi Fish for lunch.
This gorgeous bright and airy restaurant, opened by restaurateurs Matt Moran and Peter Sullivan, took over what used to be North Bondi Italian Food. With its understated yet lovely décor, it looks like a beach house, perfectly placed to enjoy the spectacular view of Bondi beach and its beautiful people. Whitewashed bricks and simple wooden chairs and tables are highlighted by splashes of bright colours and over-sized paper lanterns, giving the place a relaxed yet fun vibe.
The menu is printed on brown paper placemats and, naturally, is completely seafood-centric. Along with most trendy places these days, the menu is designed for sharing, just how we like it.
We began with a seared scallop each, marinated in ginger, soy and lime, served on a bed of rock salt. These little bites were perfectly cooked, wonderfully fresh and informed us, in case we didn’t know this already, that the rest of our meal was likely to be pretty awesome. Once I had gobbled the scallop, I couldn’t resist drinking what was left of the marinade.
Moran’s take on fish fingers were also pretty special. These weren’t the Bird’s Eye cod fish fingers I ate growing up; these were chunky, satisfying fish fingers made with tuna and chopped gherkins, that paired beautifully with the homemade tartare sauce.
The charcoal-grilled Fremantle octopus, cooked on an Inka grill, had a delicious smoky flavour and perfect texture that couldn’t have been further from some of the rubbery octopuses (octopi?) that I have had the misfortune to taste. The romesco sauce added a lovely nutty and sweet contrast to the rather salty octopus.
Also cooked on the grill were the split king prawns, generously sprinkled in a delicious lime and oregano butter. I’ve never thought to pair prawns with oregano, but the combination was utterly faultless, as were the prawns themselves.
The grilled snapper came very simply with a side of asparagus, radish, pea shoots and avocado salad. I loved the fish, which carried that same lovely charcoal flavour, but I was underwhelmed by the pea shoot salad.
One of my favourite dishes was the sweet potato scallops. One order brings two pieces; if we had known how delicious they were I dare say we would have ordered at least two more each. Beneath the crispy, slightly greasy batter was a thick, fluffy disc of perfectly cooked sweet potato, all sprinkled in rosemary salt. I know North Bondi Fish is all about the seafood, but these beauties are up there amongst the best things on the menu.
For dessert, although tempted by the doughnuts, we decided on the much lighter option of mango and passionfruit sorbet with fresh mango and coconut tuiles – a deliciously refreshing dish to round off a wonderful meal.
Service was excellent throughout the meal, despite the fact the place was heaving by the time we had finished. Including a pitcher of fruity white wine sangria, our bill came to AUD170 (approximately HKD1180) for the two of us. That’s certainly a pricey lunch, but given the setting and the exceptional food, we’d happily pay it again to go back tomorrow…if only we weren’t now over 7,000km away!
North Bondi Fish
120 Ramsgate Avenue
Tel: +61 (02) 9130 2155