Alex Harmon revisits an old friend in Bondi...
It was one of the first pubs I ever went to... a “few years ago,” I embellish.
“So, back when there was carpet,” says manager Luke. Yep, I definitely remember spilling a few beers on that sticky carpet. Fast-forward to now, and the Hotel Bondi has been given a coastal makeover by the Maloney Hotel Group. Fresh wooden floorboards, wide arched windows and chic beachside furniture.
The group also took over the kitchen, keeping the classic staples of a pub menu and giving them a bit of a sophisticated twist. The Salt and Pepper Calamari ($13) isn’t your usual floury chewy mess, but rather delicate, soft squid with loads of flavour.
The Chicken Parmigiana ($21) ($15 during the week) is your pub test and it comes out swinging in size and flavour. Arancini Balls ($10) are popular, I’m told, and they make for a perfect drinking companion - because mateship is alive and well in this establishment.
The fresh new cocktail menu has all the classics for only fifteen bucks, like an Espresso Martini ($15) and the Bondi Raspberry Highball ($15), which is like Bondi’s fruity version of the Moscow mule.
The Pumpkin Beetroot and Quinoa Salad ($15) with Bulgarian feta and walnuts is more substance than style, but seems like great value for its heartiness – what you want in a pub salad, right? Team it up with an Aperol Spritz ($15) or a glass of Fickle Mistress Pinot Noir ($9) and you’ll kid yourself into thinking you're on a summer holiday.
Unpretentious and inviting, Hotel Bondi is still a pub at heart, which if you look around town, these days is pretty rare.
178 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach
Ph: (02) 9130 3271