The team behind Potts Point Room 10 has joined forces with the Fishbowl crew to open a venue that’s serving interesting smoothies, bowls with lots of textures and flavours, and a toast menu that’s not run-of-the-mill, Side Room.
In Bondi’s Pacific complex – alongside Bondi Beach Public Bar, Panama House and beside Fishbowl (hence the name) – the venue is more of a place you grab something to go rather than while away a couple hours; although there are a handful of tables to drink the robust coffee (the cafe uses beans from Mecca) or eat one of the bowls, which are expertly thought through and packed with flavour.
The beef brisket is a standout. Made in-house, the meat is slow-cooked for eight hours using a master stock, then sliced and served with caramelised onion, kimchi slaw and pickled cucumber. The brisket is also available in a sandwich, with the addition of a sharp cheddar, red onion and rocket served within two slices of Brickfields bread. They’re decent two-hander sandwiches, too.
“Smoothies, sandwiches and bowls – it’s nothing no one hasn’t heard before. In fact it’s almost overdone these days, but we’re trying to do it with the best ingredients, and interesting ingredients, and take them to another level,” says co-owner Nic Pestalozzi, who is from the Fishbowl side of the operation (other Side Room co-owners from Fishbowl are Nathan Dalah and Casper Ettelson).
Room 10’s Andrew Hardjasudarma (another Side Room co-owner) agrees. “Both Fishbowl and Room 10 have a lot of followers because we do the staples right. People love the consistency,” he says. “With our sandwiches, we’re trying to wow people, but not with gimmicks.”
The head chef is Yuvi Thu of Room 10 (another co-owner and also Hardjasudarma’s wife). She’s worked in some of the city’s best kitchens (ACME, Mr Wong and Bistro Moncur) and is assisted by Victoria Scriven (Ester). They make many of the ingredients in house, such as cashew “cheese” (which is vegan) and pickles, and their toast menu is something you would wake up early for.
The Ziad toast is made with spiced chickpea spread, roast capsicum, dukkah and fresh herbs; while the Bingo II is an extravagance of peanut butter, banana, cinnamon, walnut and honey.
Match these with a smoothie, which incorporate Australian natives such as quandong, strawberry gum, Davidson plum and lemon myrtle, and mixed with nut butters, almond milk and fruit.
Broadsheet suggest the Blueprint. It’s a jumble of lychee, coconut “meat”, banana, macadamia butter, coconut milk, river milk and the ingredient that makes it a surprising colour: blue algae.
“We’re a smoothie bar first, that was the original concept, but you needed to have a few more things than that, so we added salads, sandwiches and coffee. But it’s our smoothies that make us different,” says Hardjasudarma. “People have forgotten about these Australian ingredients and we want to show them off.”
180–186 Campbell Parade, Bondi
This article first appeared on Broadsheet on May 28, 2018. Menu items may have changed since publication.