203 180 Campbell Parade Bondi Beach, NSW 2026
|Opening hours||Mon-Sat 11am-1am; Sun 11am-midnight|
|Features||Bar, Gluten-free options, Groups, Pub dining, Wheelchair access, Licensed|
|Prices||Moderate (mains $20-$40)|
|Phone||02 9132 5777|
When Bondi Beach Public Bar opened a few days shy of Christmas last year, I wrote that I loved it but would likely never return. At least not on a Saturday night when the bronzed clientele of Maurice Terzini's neo-Aussie pub could make a 33-year-old feel like an octogenarian.
Cut to nine months later and I'm back at the heaving joint and couldn't be happier – Rabbitohs' preliminary final score notwithstanding. Terzini (the Italo-Oz legend also behind Icebergs and The Dolphin) has created a cracking venue-inside-a-venue in Bonnie's, a 50-seat enoteca separated from the rest of Bondi Beach Public Bar by a few spray-painted panels and cartons of wine.
Italian small plates, table service and a focus on Australian winemakers also separates Bonnie's from the main room, where it's still a struggle to snare a seat on a Saturday night.
Chef Monty Koludrovic has created a short menu of simple classics big on flavour and familiarity for the new venture. Fried calamari ($18), Calabrese meatballs ($18), prosciutto and grissini ($12), all the hits. A brighter-than-bright colour scheme (much fluorescent pink; even more fluorescent orange) plus identifiable dishes means Bonnie's is super kid-friendly, too.
Certainly, no child is leaving the vanilla untouched in a neapolitan ice-cream ($6), where the flavour trio is rolled into a baseball-sized scoop with a cherry on top. Jaci Koludrovic (pastry chef and wife of Monty) churns the dessert in-house at Icebergs and Country Valley milk gives the ice-cream a wonderfully smooth texture.
Before then, however, you're going to need a Bonnie's pizza fritta – "pizza" meaning pizza and "fritta" meaning fried. Bread is fried before being heaped with your selection of Italian flag-inspired toppings and pan-baked in the wood oven.
"Red" translates to a tomato base carting chilli, garlic and pepperoni, and the "white" option sees potato and rosemary salted by slivers of anchovy. Both are knockout value at $12, served crunchy, cheesy and hot. The "green" pizze rocks zucchini with kale, pesto, parmesan and basil, if you were wondering.
A silver plate of grilled sardines ($18) sharpened with salsa verde is another winner, along with a deeply flavoured spreadable salami served with fennel and parsley salad ($14).
Sommelier James Hird has created a wine list featuring six rotating Australian grape juice producers – currently Ravensworth, Joshua Cooper, Ochota Barrels, Lucy Margaux, Latta Vino and Les Fruits. Hird isn't concerned with a balance of red, white and orange, but rather a balance of winemakers that represent different climates. "We always talk about wines in terms of people and place, so I thought why not write the new pub list like that?" he says.
There's also an ever-changing "poster list" on the wall that allows Hird to showcase a larger selection of wines from a particular producer – either Australian or international – when a cracking allocation comes in. At the time of writing it's Le Coste, produced a few hours' drive north of Rome.
Meanwhile, if you only drink one cocktail, make sure it's a sbagliato ($16) from drinks boss Lenny Opai. There's a complexity to the mix of Campari, prosecco and Antica Formula that goes beyond your standard spritz.
It's easy to imagine Terzini rummaging through a Spotlight bargain bin to source the tablecloths – a motley collection of prints featuring cartoon cowboys, palm fronds and Damien Hirst-style spots. Notably, the material hasn't been hemmed but Terzini isn't a bloke to miss this kind of detail and you can be guaranteed it was a conscious decision.
This is punk rock dining. A scuzzy two-minute surf-rock banger where a seemingly slapped-together surface gives way to considered thought and integrity. Will absolutely return.
If you only eat one thing: Bonnie's pizza fritta ($12).
If you only drink one thing: Share a bottle of something refreshing and Australian.