For most restaurateurs, the dream isn’t to run the best restaurant in the city. Most just want a good neighbourhood joint – casual, well liked and busy. For a while, that’s exactly what Bondi’s Corner House was, but somewhere along the line it lost its way and went into liquidation.
Ben Siderowitz (food truck New York Pastrami Deli), the restaurant’s new owner, is hoping to bring it back. “It would have been really sad for this to be stripped and sold off. I wanted to keep it going, keep the pulse going.” Luckily for him he’s got Zach Pauling on the pans, (ex-Vue de Monde) the man who oversaw the kitchen when it was at its busiest.
Locals will be happy to hear Pauling’s pillowy butternut and polenta gnocchi is back; going into spring it’s being tossed with peanuts, sage and a Taleggio béchamel. It’s also kept the pizzas (crisp-based, simple toppings). The new additions are typical modern-Australian with a Mediterranean twist; no surprises but executed well. Roast carrots and beef cheeks tender enough to eat with chopsticks sit on potato puree; brussels sprouts are fried and tossed with lentils, mint and a mustard dressing; and cauliflower is roasted and dusted with Manchego and flaked almonds.
The wine list has 15 whites and reds in total – most sit in the middle price range. Upstairs Percy Small, the bar manager, has been workshopping a new cocktail list that includes fresh peach and strawberry sodas and a gin sour with ginger, rhubarb and a subtle spike of wasabi. “We hope to be known as the best in the eastern suburbs,” says Siderowitz.
Visually the space is still the same as when it was Corner House, with a few touch-ups here and there. It has different vibes depending on where you sit. The link between the more formal and causal areas is the recycled materials and joinery showing off the building’s heritage as an old tram stop.
281Bondi Road, Bondi
(02) 8020 6698
Tue to Sat 5pm–12am