There’s no resting on laurels for Sydney-based dining group House Made Hospitality. The team behind Hinchcliff House only opened Promenade in the refurbished Bondi Pavilion earlier this year, and breezy CBD spot Martinez is set to open next month. But before they press play on that, they’ve unveiled a swish – and permanent – revamp of pop-up Bondi bar Rancho Seltzo. Meet Easy Tiger, a restaurant delivering a Southeast Asian menu and an on-site brewery that’s opened its doors to the public today.
“We wanted something that spoke to the beach,” the group’s culinary director Stephen Seckold tells Broadsheet. “Southeast Asian food, particularly during the summer months, does that. We wanted to bring something that’s light, fresh and has vibrant flavours.”
The 70-seat restaurant has seen Rancho Seltzo’s colourful interior stripped back to a relaxing neutral palette, with larger-than-life lanterns and rattan seating complementing the terrazzo and American oak tables.
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To head up the kitchen, the group has brought on Andrianto Wirya, whose menu is informed by his Indonesian heritage and his experience cooking for Queen Chow, Mr Wong and Ms Gs. Taking advantage of the venue’s shiny new wok burners and woodfired oven, Wirya will be firing out a cross-country spread of street food-inspired dishes, taking diners on a tasty tour of Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, Laos, Malaysia and the Philippines.
There’s a beef rendang party pie with Wirya’s sambal, a twice-fried crispy corn larb, laksa-flavoured char kway teow, Balinese-style suckling pig baos, and claypot Hainan chicken rice with a super-crispy bottom. There’s also the chef’s take on a crying tiger, where woodfired beef flank with nahm jim jaew is served sizzling on a plate.
Wirya highlights his cha ca kingfish, another dish he’s put his own spin on. “Cha ca is a signature [turmeric and dill grilled fish] dish from Hanoi. I’m doing my version ceviche-style but still with all the herbs.”
If you can’t decide which dishes to order, there’s a choose-your-own-adventure banquet for a bargain $42, where you’ll receive your choice of any five dishes plus rice. “When you travel to Southeast Asia it’s all about eating lots of different types of street food,” Wirya says. “We’re giving people the opportunity to sample lots of our dishes instead of ordering just one large main.” Selected dishes will also be available for takeaway, if beachside dining is more your style.
In addition to an all-Aussie wine list, the space continues to be home to the local Bondi Brewing Co. There are three fermenting tanks on-site, brewing both batch brews and seltzers. The line-up of cocktails takes cues from the food menu, with fruity sips like the South Bondi Tiger with gin, tamarind, Vietnamese mint and fresh lime; the Kaya Colada featuring kaya jam; and the slightly spicy Ma-Muang Margarita, with habanero, mango, orange liqueur and tajin.