The recent rebirth of mainstay Bondi Trattoria is a story of new beginnings. For the restaurant and its customers, it’s a new life after 30 years of loyal service. For Joe Pavlovich, the former executive chef to Luke Mangan’s restaurant empire, the beachside establishment is the first restaurant that is truly his own.
“After 30 years of being run and loved by the same owners, they really didn’t want it to go to a fast food joint. We haven’t really changed that much: it’s still a trattoria, it’s still Italian, but we have freshened it up. That’s what they wanted,” says Pavlovich.
A handful of framed photographs that have hung in the restaurant since it opened still remain, as does an updated version of an old signature dish: angel hair pasta with barely touched tuna. “But the menu is completely different, completely our own,” says Pavlovich.
Soft pastels complement the ocean outside and dark wood finishes make the restaurant feel like a provincial home. The crockery is mismatched and looks at home next to elaborate, heavy glassware.
Bondi Trattoria’s menu is weighted towards the start of the meal, with an extensive antipasti list. For the taramasalata, Pavlovich has sourced white roe – which is creamier and milder compared to the more common pink. He tops it with bottarga, lemon oil and fennel pollen, and serves it with grilled flat bread. Alongside classics like salumeria and oysters, Pavlovich serves raw diamond clams and Moreton Bay bugs. The bugs are roasted in a chilli and garlic butter sauce and come with buffalo mozzarella.
Further down the menu are the classics – fish and chips, and steak, chips and Bearnaise – and pizzas made from a sourdough that Pavlovich started fermenting a few weeks before opening. Roast carrots come drizzled with honey on a bed of roast saganaki cheese and topped with moreish granola. Golden beets are served with blue cheese, pear, macadamias and maple syrup.
Fellow ex-Mangan employee Alasdair France curated the venue’s wine selection. The bulk is Italian in origin, and those few that aren’t come from Australian vineyards growing Italian varieties. These are complemented by a cocktail list with classics and modern updates. There’s a Bondi Negroni (West Winds gin, Applewood red okar, vermouth and orange bitters) and a Tratt Bellini (prosecco, Aperol, Pavan, gomme, peach and lemon).
Bondi Trattoria also hopes to make the most of their view and has started serving breakfast. This menu offers the usual suspects, but with options to upgrade. Add grilled prawns to eggs Benedict and crabmeat to smashed avocado.
34 Campbell Parade, Bondi
(02) 9365 4303