North Bondi is shaping up to be on par with Newtown as one of Sydney’s most vegan-friendly dining hubs. Sadhana Kitchen, Bondi Wholefoods, and Orchard Street are within minutes’ walking distance from each other along Wairoa Avenue. Zeitgeist Mylk Bar is the latest addition, just around the corner on Gould Street. “It’s a perfect little spot,” says owner Grace Watson. “I feel like we’re all supporting each other.”
Watson has been vegan since high school. “I’ve baked at home forever, so when I became vegan I started making vegan cakes,” she says. Whilst working at Gertude & Alice, she started supplying things such as brownies. Six months ago, she started a wholesale business, with cafes such as Mecca Circular Quay, The Farm, and Iggy’s among her clientele. Zeitgeist Mylk Bar is her next step.
“The driving force behind it is combining my two passions, food and animal rights,” she says. “This is a really perfect way to be an activist every day, because you’re showing people how delicious and amazing vegan food can be. You’re not giving up anything.”
Watson focuses on flavour. The menu features both baked and raw items, such as cinnamon doughnuts, peanut-butter cookies and passionfruit cheesecake. All her raw desserts are cashew-based. For baking, she uses apple-cider vinegar to mimic eggs. “I mix it with soy milk to make buttermilk, or combine it with bicarb soda, which makes a frothy mixture that lightens a cake like an egg would,” she says.
Beyond being inspired by traditional milk bars, Watson chose the name because she supplies other eateries, such as sister cafe Coffee Bondi Beach and Brooklyn Coffee Co., with her almond and macadamia milk. “So we literally are a milk bar. I make around 100 litres a week,” she says. You can try it in her shakes – like the red velvet or apple pie and custard – or as flavoured milk, in chocolate, vanilla, or strawberry.
The colour scheme is white and pastels, “but not too cute, so it’s welcoming to everyone,” says Watson. Everything is served on custom-made ceramics in a milky cream shade that enhances her colourful desserts. The central décor piece is still to come. It’s a lighting feature that Watson describes as, “a giant chandelier, made of coloured wood.”