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North Bondi Italian Food


PhilD
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Having just returned from the UK we are out searching for apartment and Saturday took us to Bondi Beach, after checking out the apartment we strolled along the beach and by chance came across NBIF. I had heard a lot of great things about it, and so took this opportunity to give it a go. As you would expect on a sunny spring afternoon it was mobbed, they don’t take bookings so we added out name to the list and were told it would be two hours (and no they don’t take mobile numbers). Off we headed for a longer walk with the aim to get back for a few beers before a late lunch. We arrived back 40 mins later (we were thirsty) to find our table ready. Good news but a bit worrying on the time estimate front.

A good position on a shared table (more later) at the front with a prime view of the beach, this is really one of the best located beach side restaurants I have eaten in, and given the location the scenery inside isn’t at all shabby either.

It is quite a big menu divided up in the usual Italian style, starters are around $16 to $18 mark, mains head towards $30 and sides $10 t0 $18. It reads pretty well, with some interesting sounding dishes including a daily roast (evenings only) and an offal section.

We start with some very good bread and oil, great texture to the bread and a nice bite to the oil, the draught beer is “Blue Tongue” which hits the spot. We share “Baccala Fritto” for a starter and it is OK, probably a lot more potato than fish and quite a bland aioli to go with it, OK but we have had lots that are better.

My partner had a good “Carpaccio White Fish” which really worked well with some chili flakes and toasted fennel seeds, it is a good dish but really only a starter size ($21). I chose the “Coteletta” which again was fine but not really inspiring, again I have had many that are better. Only the roasts come with veggies so I ordered a side of zucchini, asparagus peas etc. It was quite good but at $18 for basically a bowl of peas I would hope so.

Service is very good, even though it is packed there is no pressure to move on. We were still at the table when dinner started at 6:00, no reservations again so it gets busy quickly. We offered to clear the table and head for the bar but the waiter was happy to let us stay. When we asked for the bill he said:

“Have you guys been here a long time?”

“Yes”

“Wow”

He then gave us the bill for $675. It looks like the people we had shared the table with had done a runner and left us with the bill, it was quickly cleared up and our bill for food, a few beers and two bottles of decent wine was just over $200. Not bad value given the location etc.

Overall the food is OK, but I would not go back for just the food. Interestingly it is owned by the same team that own “Icebergs” on the other side of the beach, and this is another restaurant I find has a “style of substance” problem. When it first opened the food was fantastic, but on a recent visit in March is was good but no longer stunning. However, the location of NBIF is stunning and it is a perfect way to while away an afternoon with a few beers, some wine, and then eat a few dishes to balance the alcohol.

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