“There’s really nothing like us in Bondi – we’ve got 100,000 fairy lights and DJs playing all weekend.”
That’s how Ussi Moniz Da Silva describes his Upper East Side, a flamboyant restaurant that commands a corner position on a buzzing Bondi intersection.
Most people will know the space as Café Bondi, which occupied the site for 16 years. What they won’t be familiar with, however, is the space’s vibe and the atmosphere.
Palms and bamboo furniture channel a tropical ambiance, and the pumping music (read: loud) is all about creating a party scene – perhaps one you might find in Bali. “So you’re eating this really high-end product but your head is bopping to the music at the same time,” says Moniz Da Silva.
The food is a collaboration between Moniz Da Silva and chef Jason Dean, who has worked at Est, Gastro Park, Gazebo and the now-closed Buzo. “The grilled king prawns have been a massive hit,” says Moniz Da Silva.
So too the South Coast rock oysters with white balsamic and verjus; lamb rump with soy-braised mushrooms, cauliflower and tarragon; and the salt and pepper cauliflower with white soy and tamarind. “Bondi loves fresh produce and keeping healthy,” says Moniz Da Silva. “So the cauliflower makes sense.”
There’s a spin on the Piña Colada, the Upper East Side Colada, which is served in a coconut. Share cocktails are also on the list; supersized servings for four to five people.
On the weekends DJs play all day for The East Side Sessions. “We’ll move a few of the tables around so people can get a bit of a boogie on,” says Moniz Da Silva.
While the venue is set up for summer there are plans in place for when the season changes. The menu will be tweaked, heaters and fireplaces will be added and patrons will be able to snuggle up under blankets. “We might even have a blanket party,” says Moniz Da Silva.
Upper East Side
14–16 O'Brien Street, Bondi
Mon to Thu 5pm–10.30pm
Fri to Sun 11.30am–10.30pm