If you take the hint provided in the name, you’ll probably be well-pleased by Vinegar and Brown Paper. There’s a fair amount of fish’n’chips walking out in brown paper bags, no doubt to eat on nearby Horderns Beach (the main beach you associate with Bundeena).
We opt to dine-in, enjoying the antics of the neighbourhood larrikins – a flock of cheeky cockatoos – while we wait for our dinner.
The birds take the opportunity to eyeball us through a string of Edison bulbs draped along the edge of the white, bull-nosed corrugated iron roof.
It provides a little shelter for five stools set along an L-shaped wooden benchtop. It's nothing flash, but a nice enough place to enjoy a casual meal by the sea.
Inside, the clean, white-tiled and simply appointed store is dominated by a stainless-steel counter. Behind it sits a retro white-on-black letterboard outlining the regular menu, with today’s printed specials hanging on white paper below.
House-battered Fish Cocktails ($3/each) are the stars of our meal. They’re made on good-sized pieces of hoki encased within airy, golden batter that’s light on oil and big on crunch.
To punish us for foolishly taking the healthier option, the beer-battered nuggets of fish come up much better than Grilled Hoki & Chips ($22). In this presentation, the delicate fish is a bit mild and nothingy, getting a bit lost under a decent tartare against reasonable chips and a straight up salad.
A Corn & Black Bean Fritter Burger ($12) proves more enjoyable.
Building flavour using house-made chilli jam, guacamole, mayonnaise, the fritter is sandwiched with 'slaw inside a slightly dry brioche bun.
We whet our lips with milkshakes, presented in clear plastic in fun flavours like Salted Caramel ($4.50) and an even better Popcorn ($4.50). You can also splash out for a keep cup - well, if you have a spare twenty-odd bucks lying around, and you’re planning on returning.
Our final foodie offering, Loaded Bad Boys ($15) with Bacon ($2), looks a bit like a hot mess when we open the cardboard box and guacamole goes everywhere. Probing underneath the coriander and oozing green topper with a metal fork eventually comes up mashed potato, with the outsides of the slightly undercooked beer-battered wedges firmly cemented together with melted cheese. This dish doesn’t quite hit it for me.
If I could do my meal over, I’d save myself some dosh and hit up their straight up beer battered fish’n’chips doused in vinegar and wrapped in brown paper.
Vinegar and Brown Paper
46 Brighton Street, Bundeena
Ph: (02) 9527 6655