'Non-traditional' izakaya Isabel Bondi opens

On the menu: Tsukune, egg yolk ($6).
On the menu: Tsukune, egg yolk ($6). Photo: Supplied

When an izakaya opens in Sydney with equal promise from the bar and kitchen, it has our attention. Throw in water views and we're already in the cab.

Isabel Bondi opens this week, and while an izakaya is really just a Japanese pub or tavern, this opening promises more.

Which is probably why its owners are calling it a "non-traditional izakaya".

Burnt miso, Pierre Ferrand 1840, toasted sesame and quandong ($22).
Burnt miso, Pierre Ferrand 1840, toasted sesame and quandong ($22). Photo: Supplied

For starters one of its owners is award-winning mixologist Kate McGraw.

When McGraw says it'll forge new ground in the east, she isn't wrong.

There's a house-made persimmon and rhubarb wine on the beverage list, fermented and then rested for 18 days. 

Talisker 10, persimmon and nori ($15).
Talisker 10, persimmon and nori ($15). Photo: Supplied

It has one of the largest Japanese whisky lists in the country, and cocktails such as Isabel's take on the Miso, a blend of burnt edo miso, armagnac, rum and distilled milk. 

Consultant chef Phil Davenport, who made his name as head chef at Ku De Ta in Bali, has designed "hero dishes to go with hero cocktails".   

A nashi pear danger juice (fermented nashi pear spiked with a snowpea-based eau de vie) is matched with ocean trout tartare with burnt eggplant puree, spicy yuzu dressing and black radish.

Advertisement

The chef explains that his love for the cuisine was born during his school years, when his palate was awoken by the bento lunch boxes of a Japanese friend.

He points to a wagyu dish with miso mustard hollandaise and sesame bean sprouts as a must-try.

A co-production from owners McGraw, Geraint Coles and Mitchell Slattery (Panama House) and Michael Riley (Milkbox Tuckshop), Isabel Bondi opens on Thursday.

Owners (from left): Mitchell Slattery, Kate McGraw, Michael Riley, Geraint Coles.
Owners (from left): Mitchell Slattery, Kate McGraw, Michael Riley, Geraint Coles. Photo: Supplied

Open Wed-Fri 4.30pm-midnight; Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm.

Level 103, 180-186 Campbell Parade, Bondi, isabelbondi.com