Tag Archives: Bondi Hardware

A tough reservation: Bondi Hardware

Rather than doing the whole “we’re too busy to need reservations”-thing, the owners of Bondi Hardware have made a compromise. Half the restaurant is for bookings, while the other half is reserved for walk-ins. What a great idea, or so I thought.

A week before my desired dining night, I rang to book a table for three. Politely, I was told that there were no reservations available but walk-ins were welcome. “But I don’t welcome walk-ins”, I wanted to respond. Instead, I decided to live life on the edge and simply rock up on an extra-chilly Friday (and hope that the Gods would be on my side.)

The rustic and edgy aesthetic of Bondi Hardware

As we approach Bondi Hardware, a happy clamour of noise leaks out the door into the street. A small crowd are gathered in a small huddle trying to escape the gusty coastal winds, clearly waiting for a table. There was no way we would get straight in. The waitress politely warns us that there would be atleast an hour wait. Feigning optimism, we add our name to the list and traipse down Hall Street in search for a drinking spot. Three vodkas down and my phone trills into life. We rush to the restaurant to secure our seat. Perched on high stools, we watch as two vivacious bar staff pour, shake and sip on an array of serious-looking cocktails. The lights are fairly low and the music is playing so loudly that we can hardly hear a word that the waiter says as she rattles off drink suggestions. But it doesn’t really matter – our conversation is somewhat exhausted after we have just spent the last hour in idle chit chat at Ravesis, waiting for the call.

The calculatedly rustic setting feels like a cross between Shady Pines Saloon and Grasshopper, but more elegant. Exposed bricks, low slung industrial lights and worn timber tables dominate the restaurant while bits and bobs are placed around the space in a measured and conservative manner. The crowd is a dizzyingly weird mix of middle-aged suits, leggy blondes and some chilled-out surfer bros. And despite the unusual clientele, the room has a happy and excited buzz.

Head Chef Justin Walshe has created a diverse menu of share plates, wood fire pizza, snacks and cheese boards. The food arrives quickly, thank goodness. Pan-fried ocean trout with a rocket, goats cheese and pickled red onion salad is robust and flavoursome while the salt and pepper squid is as it should be – crispy and tasty. The prawn, roasted garlic and chilli pizza is simple but pleasant however it is the chargrilled zucchini, olive and anchovy pizza that really lets the side down.  Service is as crisp and professional as a hatted restaurant but the food is mostly mediocre.

We must remember though, Bondi Hardware is not a fine diner – it is all about having fun, enjoying a cocktail and letting your hair down with some fine tunes. And Bondi Hardware certainly achieves this, better than most.

Anna Lisle

Read more about Bondi Hardware here

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Filed under Bondi Beach, Bondi Hardware, Reviews

Catching up with Sydney’s small bars: York Lane

I have felt behind the eight ball in recent months. Keeping up-to-date with restaurant openings and cafes has always been easy, but getting to every new small bar, wine bar, cocktail bar, absinthe bar…. now that has been a struggle. So… I have spent the last month exploring Sydney’s bourgeoning drinking hotspots.

Shady Pines Saloon is quirky and different, whereas Stitch is crowded, but worth putting up with the odd jab in the rib and spilt drink. Mr Cooper’s Wine Bar is sophisticated and elegant, perfect for the Woollahra/ Paddington crowd and Baxter Inn is moody and atmospheric but with an added stiffness that comes from a crowd that is predominantly wearing suits. Bondi Hardware exudes that effortlessly casual chic that one associates with the Campari-sipping, North-Bondi-Italian-eating Eastern Suburbs crowd. But York Lane, tucked away in the heart of the CBD, can be described in three words: Tiny. But. Fabulous.

The well stocked bar at York Lane

The bar doesn’t try too hard. There is no theme, colour scheme or particular design. But… it is certainly not devoid of character. Instead of paintings, bicycles hang on the walls and rather than proper seats, patrons perch on child-sized red and white wooden stools. A chalk board offers cheeky descriptions of drink specials and round copper lights dangerously hang from the ceiling. And unbeknown to many, all the furnishings in this tiny, split-level space are recycled.

An espresso machine pumps out takeaway lattes by day but as the sun sets, York Lane transforms into a licensed restaurant and tapas bar. Small clipboards are handed out with brown recycled paper listing a handful of tapas dishes and drinks, which change daily. Duck pancakes with hoisin sauce are the perfect accompaniment to a crisp pear cider but I eye off another table’s order of pork belly with chilli jam and buffalo wings. I make a mental note to order these next time. Because, yes, there will definitely be a next time at York Lane.

Anna Lisle

York Lane on Urbanspoon

Read more about York Lane here

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Filed under Events, Reviews, Sydney CBD, York Lane