Overlooking iconic Bondi Beach, Ravesi's is a stylish restaurant, situated on the first floor of a boutique hotel by the same name. As far as the restaurant's decor is concerned, a simple shell motif extends throughout, starting with lit shell wall hangings as you walk up the stairs.
The theme continues in the softly lit white dining room with light fittings, chairs and large lit plaster spirals overhead.
There's a wide wrap-around balcony on two sides, and it looks straight out onto Bondi Beach. The optimum time to dine would of course be daytime, on the weekends. According to our waiter, piled high plates of salads like Tempura Soft Shell Crab ($25) are popular during the day, particularly outdoors.
For an innovative tipple try a Bondi 8 Ball v.2 ($15.50) - it was great all the way to the cinnamon sugar rim and crisp apple garnish. According to their website, the cocktail contains "a hefty measure of spiced Bacardi 8, agitated for a long count with sour apple and cinnamon schnapps, fresh lemon, spiced syrup and egg white to fluff" it up. In my photo below, it's the one on the right, and one of the best cocktails I have had for a while.
On the left in my photo is the Burnt Orange Margarita ($15.50) which I thought was less successful. According to their website, it's composed of "Herradura Reposado shaken with Grand Marnier, a murmur of Campari and spiced syrup, fresh blood orange, lime and a dollop of lime marmalade." I am not a Campari fan, and the murmur was still too bold for me.
To eat I tried an oyster sampler, showcasing all except au natural. Of the varieties I tried, I suggest the two winners were the Oysters with Chilli Lime Dressing ($24 / six) or an upmarket Kilpatrick grilled with Jamon and Pedro Ximinez ($24 / six). For the record, the oysters I had at Sobo were better, and didn't need as much dressing up - but as far as dressing up oysters goes, the chilli lime ones were very good.
In small plates, Trout and Ginger Dumplings ($18) show off the natural flavour of the fish. Take no notice of the serving size, they were not something I ordered, rather they were a sample of a dish sent out by the chef. I could see why he sent this dish - they were lovely, and I haven't seen Trout used in dumplings on a menu before.
Another small plate, the Duck Pancakes ($18) shine with a well-rendered hindquarter of duck. They looked nice on the plate - what you can't see is that the duck is sliced up to the last segment which had the bone in it. The only thing I missed was a slice of chilli. I'd call this Asian influenced, rather than an Asian dish, and I liked the way it was different to the garden variety duck pancakes on offer everywhere. The Hoisin was excellent, I suspect it is the same one they use at BBQ King).
The Salt Squid with Chilli Lime Sauce ($18) is tender and tasty. It beat the preceding night's offering of the same dish at Subsolo hands down.
Ravioli is a signature dish here, so the chef prepared me three different tasting portions (so again, ignore the serving sizes). The first was a Chili Prawn Ravioli ($15/sm $25/lg) with prawns and garlic chives, bathed in a lemon-wine sauce. It was a nice dish, but surpassed by both of the other types of ravioli.
The second tasting portion of ravioli was a Lamb and Rosemary Ravioli ($15/sm $25/lg) in a red wine sauce, topped with Pecorino Romano. This was, as I mentioned, even better than the first type.
The option that was the best was the one recommended by our waiter (good job) - Sweet Butternut Pumpkin, Goat’s Cheese and Sage Ravioli ($15/sm $25/lg) with a burnt butter sauce. It is unusual for my dining companion to agree that a vegetarian option was the best, yet he did! This is an excellent vegetarian dish!
I loved the main Venison ($35) served with golden eschalots, fat little pillows of truffled (oil only I'm afraid) gnocchi and morello cherries. This main justified the price tag. It was excellent.
I liked the side we had too - Green Beans ($8) which had been fried in a wok with a chilli and black bean sauce. Desserts sounded good, but by this point, I was stuffed to the gills. Damn that last ravioli for being so good I finished the portion!
Despite being responsible for meals throughout the hotel’s venues, the white-jacketed chefs in the immaculate open kitchen didn’t break a sweat the whole evening. You can get food in the main downstairs bar (it's a different more accessible pub menu), and in the funky Drift bar in my photo above. The menu for Drift shares some dishes in common with the menu I tried, but not the mains. I walked away from this meal happy and satisfied.
118 Campbell Pde, Bondi Beach
Ph: (02) 9365 4422