The perfect neighbourhood restaurant seems to be the Holy Grail in the industry right now. The latest attempt, a pretty gallant one, too, is Darren Robertson (Three Blue Ducks) and Cameron Northway’s (Sweet & Chilli) North Bondi all-day eatery, Rocker.
The idea here is to be the place to go for locals at any time of the day, for any occasion. In the morning that means coffee (from Single Origin), pastries (some done in-house, others from Brasserie and Messy Spoon) and a short breakfast menu that includes fried eggs on toast with apple, pickles, watercress and LP’s Quality Meats blood sausage. And a sandwich stuffed with maple-and-espresso-soaked bacon and house-made HP sauce.
At night, try Negronis on tap, house-made pastas and Chris Morrison’s (ex- Guillaume sommelier) rotating, Australian-focused wine list.
Head chef Stuart Toon says he hopes to change the dinner menu daily, uncommon even for the most seasonally strict chefs. “There are a few parameters. Every day we'll have a vegetarian special, a whole fish and an oyster,” he says. There’s also a rotating quartet of pastas, a steak, charcuterie, a few appetisers and a separate menu of bar snacks. The opening menu has a beef ragu (using oxtail, tongue, ox cheek, bone marrow and jellied tendon); an orecchiette with clams, urchin and sea lettuce; and from Toon and Robertson’s English heritage, a salted rye and treacle tart.
Many venues have struggled to juggle morning and night identities, but Robertson and Northway should have an easier time because their fit-out seamlessly straddles the two. “I would describe it as an industrial edge softened with some natural elements like greenery, timber and leather,” says Northway, who did a lot of the design. It’s divided into two parts, a light-timber dining room with sea-blue table tops and curtains at night, and a cafe/bar space with a long table in the centre, bar seating on one side and a series of small wall-mounted stone tables on the other.
5/39–53 Campbell Parade, Bondi
(02) 8057 8086
Mon to Tue 7am–12pm
Wed to Sat 7am–11pm