When Mark Alston was first introduced to now business partner Guy Turland, he already had his sights set on a chef-hosted TV show. “When I started actually spending time with Guy,” he says, “I realised that the way he lived his life in general was just way cooler than anything I had in mind.”
Out of an appreciation for Turland’s simple, local lifestyle, Bondi Harvest was born. It was first launched as a YouTube channel in early 2013. Now, as of the start of the year, it is a restaurant taking up the ever-changing first floor of The Eastern in Bondi Junction. A unique, u-shaped table that looks like an elegant sushi train (minus the conveyor belt) takes pride of place giving the place an open, friendly vibe. Comfortable booths adorned with pot plants run up on one side of the well-lit space.
The cafe serves three meals a day plus a handful of freshly made juices such as the YOLO, made with house-made turmeric milk, yellow beet, ginger, apple and organic honey.
Growing up in Bowral, “My mum was a fourth-generation dairy farmer,” says Turland. For him, food straight from the source has been a lifestyle for as long as he can remember. As with many of the cafes popping up all over Sydney, all produce will be seasonal and locally sourced, some even coming from Turland’s hometown in the Southern Highlands.
The menu is split between naughty and nice; healthy, often gluten-free or paleo dishes are offset by less saintly versions. Try a quinoa pancake made with coconut milk and gluten-free flour, served with a rocket salad dressed with black sesame, home-cured black pudding, balsamic cocktail onions (pickled in The Eastern’s cellar), poached eggs and avocado. But if that all sounds a bit too healthy (or hipster) for you, opt for a fluffy pancake topped with sweetened ricotta and rhubarb compote.
Lunch will offer a series of superfood salads, made fresh daily and served to diners by the chefs themselves, allowing customers to ask all the questions they want about what goes into them. All salads are meat-free, but if you happen to be craving protein order a fresh addition of stuffed mushrooms, jerk chicken or pan-roasted fish straight from the kitchen.
Eventually the YouTube concepts will extend into the physical space, bringing in guest chefs, cooking courses and other interesting and engaging events that will continue to educate the people of Sydney on fresh, local produce.
Level 1, The Eastern
500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction
Mon to Fri 7.30am–4pm