Rocker Bondi, a casual neighbourhood restaurant and bar has opened in North Bondi, a partnership between Three Blue Ducks Co-owner and chef Darren Robertson along with Cameron Northway and Ian Clark from events company Sweet & Chilli Australia.
Occupying the former site of The Hill Eatery on the corner of Campbell and Hastings parade, the interior channels the coastal look and feel with blue tabletops and pale timber chairs, hanging fernery, and daily specials on butchers paper add to its casual beachside appeal. Incidentally, the name “Rocker” refers to the curvature of the bottom of the surfboard from nose to the tail.
The food menu is a synergy between Co-owner Darren Robertson and Head Chef Stuart Toon, who has worked with Jamie Oliver for a number of years. You’ll find the opening menu strong on pasta dishes, made fresh daily, with both Darren and Stuart in the kitchen.
The wine list is exhaustive with some 120 wines with 25 by the glass, curated by former Guillaume sommelier, Chris Morrison. The focus is on small producers across Australia, with 80% sourced from craft and artisanal winemakers including red, white, orange, pink and sparkling. The wines were selected to be good in the glass and tell a story of their region, Morrison explains. These will change as the menu changes but won’t be just limited to seasonality – they will be chosen to be matched with the food.
The cocktail menu follows with a core range and is based on seasonal produce. At the time of the visit, the cocktail didn’t have names but various surfboard sizes, a quaint concept though it may soon change. The Negroni and Espresso Martini will soon be on tap and there are plans to make bottled cocktails available in the future.
Roasted Pumpkin Seeds with Soy and Mirin
The menu is divided into Snacks, Smalls, Bigs and Sides, these can be shared among friends or enjoyed individually.
Oysters, Ginger, Cucumber
From the Snacks, the Oysters, Ginger, Cucumber ($5 ea) are a good place to start, paired with 2016 Swinging Bridge #003 by Tom Ward ($12), a cloudy orange wine with skin contact, cloudy, crisp with a grassy undertone.
Raw Beef, Horseradish, Kohlrabi
The perfectly seasoned Raw Beef, Horseradish, Kohlrabi goes down a treat with Jilly Wines The White Wolf Of Cumbria 2016 ($12), a rose produced from naturally fermented-barrel fermented pinot noir, sauvignon blanc and gewurztraminer.
Artichoke and Lemon Gremolata
From the Smalls, the Artichoke and Lemon Gremolata ($14) is a delightful autumn-winter dish. A whole baked artichoke sits on a bed of celeriac and artichoke puree, topped with lemon gremolata and crispy artichoke chips.
Baby Octopus, Creme Fraiche, Nasturtium and Preserved Citrus
The Baby Octopus, Creme Fraiche, Nasturtium and Preserved Citrus ($17) is ever so tender to the bite with a vibrant citrus dressing and a touch of heat.
Orechiette, Clams, Sea Lettuce and Urchin
Moving up to the Bigs, flavours of the sea come together in Orechiette, Clams, Sea Lettuce and Urchin ($30). The orechiette are light and al dente, while the the sea urchin adds a delightful salty and umami note. The only thing missing is a piece of crusty bread to mop up the excellent sauce.
Pappardelle, Ox Cheek, Orange, Thyme, Parmesan
Also from the Bigs, the Pappardelle, Ox Cheek, Orange, Thyme, Parmesan ($28) is like a big warm hug on the inside. Silky ribbons of house-made pappardelle soak up the rich tomato ragout made from beef shin, beef cheek, been tongue and beef tenderloin slow-cooked for 2 days. This is a hearty, comforting dish you may not wish to share.
The dish is expertly paired with Kir Yianni Kali Riza, Xinomavro 2014 Vielles Vignes ($14), a dry and fruity Greek wine with soft tannins that cut through the richness of the ragout.
Greens and Grains
From the Sides, Greens and Grains ($9) is a light and tasty with the freshness of parsley, mint, farro, quinoa, chia seeds and barley.
Salted Rye and Treacle Tart
For dessert, it’s difficult to pass up on the Salted Rye and Treacle Tart ($13) with vanilla ice cream, set to become a popular choice. The dessert is paired with Amaro Montenegro which may seem an unusual at first but its spicy notes work very well with the treacle and ginger making it a flavour bomb, particularly if you have both in your mouth at the same time.
Rocker Bondi ticks all the right boxes for a casual, inviting and welcoming neighbourhood restaurant that you would want to drop in regularly, be it dinner for two or with a group.
Rocker is open daily from 7am as a coffee bar. The restaurant is open for lunch Wednesday to Friday 12pm to 3pm and dinner Wednesday to Sunday 5.30pm to 11pm, with brunch on the weekends from 9.30am-2.30pm.
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39-53 Campbell Parade
Ph: (02) 8057 8086
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