Tag Archives: Bondi

Bondi’s PaperPlanes is a high-flier

Ever seen a ceiling made of 500 individually-painted, brightly coloured Japanese skateboards? Or walked through a tin fleet of origami cranes that hang in limbo? Chuck in a purple, 10-metre neon-lit bar and you have Bondi’s PaperPlanes. Hidden away from the tourist-driven chaos of Campbell Parade, PaperPlanes is the brainchild of brothers Matt, Chris and Tim Barge (of Barge8), who also own LL Wine and Dine in Potts Point, together with business partner Phil Capaldi.

PaperPlanes Functions & Events

The ceiling features 500 individually-painted Japanese skateboards

The restaurant design features a quirky mix of kitsch Tokyo pop culture (think Manga comics) and Bondi sass. When we walk in the doors, it’s like we’ve been transported to downtown Tokyo, but the crowd, mostly made up of Bondi’s beautiful people in all their golden-skinned, Tsubi-wearing glory, reminds us that we’re still firmly planted on Australian soil.

An origami-folded menu reveals an array of modern Asian cuisine that has a clear Japanese bent. It’s been created by former LL Wine and Dine head chef, Jin Kung. For starters, the edamame is served with a seriously hot chilli sea salt and provides the perfect excuse for throwing back one of their signature cocktails – the ginger and lychee martini. A sesame seed-crusted yellow fin tuna is seared and sliced in rectangular mouthfuls, topped with a pinch of fried garlic and macro herbs.

Kingfish belly carpaccio with chili oil and a sweet ginger and mirin sauce, topped with tempura jalapeno

Kingfish carpaccio with a sweet ginger, chilli oil and mirin sauce, topped with tempura jalapeno

The special of the day, a pretty ceviche dish of salmon, watermelon and avocado is testament to how well Asian flavours and Australian ingredients work hand-in-hand. After our cold appetisers, the kushiyaki (grilled skewers) become the perfect ‘transition dish’ from entrée to main. The shiitake mushroom stuffed with a truffle and prawn butter has a curious flavour that is beguiling but it is the red miso eggplant that is truly impressive. The cubes of eggplant ooze with a salty-yet-sweet sauce and the only problem with the dish is that there just isn’t enough of it. The sake-flamed teriyaki chicken is served with sautéed white wild mushrooms, giving the dish an interesting edge that makes you wonder, why don’t more Japanese restaurants serve this?

Char-grilled sea scallops with kushiyaki glaze

Char-grilled sea scallops with kushiyaki glaze

There are nine different sakes in 60-millilitre, 240-millilitre and 720-millilitre sizes, and an international wine list that spans European and South American varietals as well as Australian drops. The cocktails, however, are what you’re here for – with a range of standard concoctions, served with Asian twists like fresh yuzu, shochu and wasabi infused vodka.

Anna Lisle

Read more about PaperPlanes here

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Yum cha and Asian tapas at Bondi’s Mamasan

It’s a Sunday night, but Mamasan is buzzing and it’s easy to see why. This Bondi favourite is reeling in local crowds with its modern Asian tapas menu and a stellar drinks list featuring Asahi and Sapporo on tap.

Sprawled over two shop fronts, Mamasan is surprisingly roomy, with space for up to 90 people. There are also secret nooks that have been well conceived for intimate group dining. The moody lighting adds to the comfortable ambiance, while quirky design features, such as lucky cats, Astro Boy characters, toy soldiers and Godzilla figurines give the restaurant its charm.

The quirky interior suits the hip Bondi crowd

There are only three of us dining, but everything on the menu sounds so appealing that we order enough for five. Despite the fact that the restaurant is busy, the service is friendly and efficient (a surprise for Bondi). Each dish is presented as a tapas-style meal, with enough for four people in each serving. Duck pancakes are underwhelming, but the prawn sesame rolls are deliciously crunchy and the soft shell crab is lightly-battered and tender, with the yuzu aioli and Nepalese spicy tomato ‘Achar’ sauce providing additional bite.

In a rushed decision, we order the pork sliders off the special menu (one each at $14 a pop), without really knowing what to expect. It was as if a Momofuku-like pork bun met a Rockpool burger and had a baby. It’s a messy dish, but memorable. Let’s hope it becomes more than just a special.

It’s at this point we should have stopped (did I mentioned we also demolished one-bite-beef and BBQ chicken wings?) but us greedy Eastern Suburb folk always want more. We converse with the group at the table next to us and they recommend the ‘fish on fire’.  The dish involves miso-marinated Salmon that has been cooked between cedar wood papers and then smoked. The final product arrives at the diners’ table with the cedar embers still glowing and served with a side of marmalade, which is an unusual but brilliant combination of flavours.

Sami-Jo Adelman

Mamasan on Urbanspoon

Read more about Mamasan here

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