You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy a meat-free meal. That’s the philosophy at Bondi’s The Dandylion. Co-owners Chitti Lardi (a lifelong vegetarian), Guido Polacchini (who has a background in bars) and chef Valeria Boselli (previously of The Watsons Bay Hotel) were inspired by the variety of vegetarian dining around the world and decided to open the intimate restaurant and bar.
Dishes are 100 per cent vegetarian, with vegan options and gluten free alternatives. Asian–style mushroom and kale dumplings with spicy miso will have you squabbling over the last parcel. Cajun seitan fajitas with spicy pineapple salsa and spinach are refreshingly different. The Moroccan stew has earned a loyal following, packed with couscous, brown rice and okra, finished with sheep’s-milk yoghurt, pomegranate and mint. The Dandy Plate to share is perfect to linger over with drinks, with stuffed mushrooms, warm olives and cumin-roasted veggies.
Regularly changing desserts have become a signature, including the chilli chocolate pannacotta with coconut cream and almond praline. The space (previously a DVD store) has whitewashed brick walls, a recycled train-sleeper bar, booths with footrests made of pipes and hand-blown glass pendant lights. The team regularly feeds vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, including for weekend breakfasts of saffron scrambled tofu with Persian-spiced eggplant, or Amazonian acai bowls.