Bondi, one of Sydney’s most famous suburbs and Bondi Beach, one of the world’s most iconic strips of sand. Ironically, although I have been a Sydneysider for over 25 years, I seemed to have manged to avoid the whole Bondi scene. Well, I’m not a sun worshipper or a big swimmer and the whole scene simply appeared too touristy and too popular to me.
So that should help explain why I had never been to the famous Icebergs Dining Room and Bar until recently, which is a renowned modern Italian restaurant at this legendary beach. Perched on the hillside at the southern end of the coastline; this building did look like a white iceberg floating in seawater. I thought perhaps that’s where the name might come from? Though Kent assured me it’s because they celebrated the start of the winter swimming season by jumping into the pool with big chunks of ice – something you will never see in the ocean anywhere near Sydney!
Welcome To The ‘Australian Riviera’
From Campbell Parade, it’s only a stone’s throw away and a pleasant walk on a glorious day like this… The open sky, blue ocean; surfers carrying their surfboards in the street and walking barefooted. Looking down to the ocean, there’s that wide strip of sand, people enjoying a swim or sun baking… It’s all very laid back and we were immediately charmed by this worry-free holiday atmosphere.
‘This would be your Australian Riviera.’ said Kent looking out across the beach to the clusters of apartment blocks along the northern end.
We had deliberately arrived half an hour early so we could have a pre-lunch drink in the bar lounge overlooking Bondi Beach.
‘You are right!’ I said, sipping of my glass of chilled Prosecco, ‘The Australian Riviera is right here!’ And I started wondering why I had been resisting all this fabulousness for so many years.
Meanwhile, Kent liked his White Negroni cocktail as we delighted in soaking up the local atmosphere…
A Table With An Ocean View
Yes, that’s the view from our dining table. Thanks to planing and a bit of luck!
Well of course I wanted a table with an ocean view, and I was also on the look out for a sunny day to make this outing as perfect as possible. Well, before I made the reservation, I watched and checked the weather reports closely to try and find a clear day. When booking, which I did by phone; I made sure to ask for a table by the window. The answer I received was they would do their best to accommodate us, but ‘it all depends on availability’. Considering the weather could change in a week’s time, or a celebrity and their entourage might book the entire area; at the end of the day I guess you could say that we were lucky. I had a sunny day and a table I desired.
Our Starter: Scampi Con Ravanelli
How colourful and beautiful did our shared starter look! They say we eat with our eyes and this elegant looking dish gave us such a visual pleasure when it arrived our table!
The Western Australia scampi, whipped roe; turnips and radishes cooked in fragrant emulsion and topping with crispy sea grass… This dish was light and full of flavour, I loved very bite of it!
The sauce was delicious, a great compliment to the scampi; I was also keen on the crunchiness from the radishes and the sea grass. The only regret here was that I had to share it with Kent.
My Main Course: Pesce Del Giorno
Pesce del Giorno, AKA Fish of the Day. Rainbow trout from New South Wales! It was my choice from the three on offer among the day’s Fish of the Day selection; I fancied the pink fish so it was an easy decision to make. Being Chinese, I much prefer having the whole fish option instead of the fish fillet and so I requested it and the kitchen delivered.
Of the two ways it could be prepared, I chose it with ‘Natural, Lemon, Sorrel & ALTO Extra Virgin Olive Oil’ – just the way I like it!
There’s something about cooking meat with the bones; it always make the meat taste better, and in my opinion, it’s more beautiful to serve the whole fish rather than a fillet.
My grilled whole fish was tender, flaky and flavoursome.., the moment it arrived in front of me, I imagined myself sitting by the Mediterranean sea, in a fisherman’s village somewhere in Italy. So wonderful!
Oh, did I mention the tasty crispy skin? Yum! It was a generous serving too; overall, a very satisfying main which made me very happy!
Kent’s Main Course: Agnello Con Carciofi E Aglio Nero
‘Roasted Lamb Loin, Brussel Sprouts, Poached Artichoke & Black Garlic Sauce’ and it was an impressive looking dish! A contrast to my light seafood meal, Kent’s roasted lamb looked very colourful and rich.
As we were having mixed meals (Let’s not say surf and turf!); we of course went for a bottle of rosé, and it complimented both our meals beautifully.
In Kent’s latest attempt to find ‘lamb that tastes like lamb’ as he remembers it… Well he was slightly disappointed by the mildness of the lamb flavour. ‘Whatever happened to mutton?’ Asked Kent. Having said that, he was happy with how tender the cut was and very well cooked – meaning not over or underdone; it was also pleasantly pink too. The beans and root vegetables were perfect accompaniments, true taste sensations. And nothing was left on his plate.
Our side dish, a bowl of fries was cooked to perfection! Moist and fluffy on the inside and crispy on the outside.
Bondi Beach Through Glass Louvre Windows
We had been savouring not only the view but also the fresh air through the open louvre windows. However, just before desert, as the wind started to pick up, the attentive staff were quick to close the windows, keeping the whole room comfortable; all part of what was certainly turning out to be an afternoon of impeccable food and service.
Kent’s Liquid Dessert: Amaretto Affogato
It was the third time recently that I had witnessed Kent ordering an Affogato coffee, but there had never been anything as fancy or alcoholic as what I saw here; it truly was a kind of liquid dessert!
Vanilla ice cream, a shot of Vittoria espresso coffee, a shot of Amaretto, grated chocolate coated coffee beans… METHOD: coffee all-in over the ice cream; the Amaretto sipped on the side. His self satisfied smile said it all.
My Dessert: Crostoli Con Mirtilli E Limone
This bright and alluring sweet plate was made of: ‘Whipped Yoghurt, Blueberry Lemon Sorbet, Honeycomb, Blueberries & Crostoli’. I was very fond of the lemon zest which balanced the sweetness. The crunch from the honeycomb added an interesting texture to my bites. Kent commandeered and made short work of the Crostoli as an additional part of his Affogato. It was a great dessert enjoyed by me with a very fine caffè latte. Perfect for a warm summer day like this!
Doing my research into the restaurant before booking, I had seen and heard mixed reviews and feedback regarding the dining experience at the Icebergs Dining Room and Bar; so I was not really sure how it would all pan out. However, our own lunch experience here was fantastic! We hope to come back again before too long; for more great food, service; and that Australian Riviera fabulousness!