Sensory Lab Bondi is closed. Without much fanfare, or even really a whisper, the acclaimed Melbourne roaster has left the eastern suburbs. Replacing it, with an equal amount of mystery, is Reuben Hills and Paramount Coffee Project’s (PCP) new venture, Bondi Hall.
“We took over Sensory Lab in February and we have plans to do something interesting,” says owner Russell Beard. Right now they’re running the joint like their other Sydney venues, quality coffee and cuisine-blending food. The former comes from Reuben Hills and Seven Seeds beans, and the latter is a collaboration with the Hills Bros kitchen by Naoya Shimada and Eden Elan. The current menu is short and simple (there’s much more to come, Beard says). Early highlights are the pearl-barley porridge with orange-spiced almond milk, gingery rhubarb, molasses, apples and pistachios; and the brekkie roll with bacon jam, garlic fried potato and a fried egg.
Despite the promising early menu, the interesting part Beard is referring to is the site’s upcoming wine element. “We've got a few little things in the works. A natural-wine store at the back and a wine service in the evening,” he says. The team is midway through applying for the licensing required and can’t give many details until it’s all wrapped up, but Beard says the project is inspired by his interest in the natural wine movement.
“We found ourselves really enjoying a lot of the new-wave of wines, such as natural wines, wines made without any additions or deletions, orange wines and white grapes fermented with their skins,” he says. “[We] thought a lot of these wine producers were doing revolutionary things similar to what is happening in coffee. To pair it all under one roof had a nice slant.”
Beard says the new cafe will also undergo renovations (an Alana Cooke design; she did the design for Reuben Hills) to suit the new concept; a space that moves seamlessly between wine and coffee. We want to create a place that’s welcoming and cohesive with our aesthetic while still maintaining the casual vibe of Bondi.” Beard says the cafe will remain open during the renovation but to expect some big menu changes once it’s finished.
75–79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Mon to Sun 7am–5pm