Nelson Road Tuckshop

Inside the bright and airy Nelson Road Tuck Shop.
Inside the bright and airy Nelson Road Tuck Shop. Photo: Fiona Morris

60 Bronte Road Bondi Junction, Australia 2022

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Opening hours MON-FRI, 6AM-3PM; SAT-SUN, 7AM-3PM
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Phone 02 9387 6505

Nelson Road Tuckshop - once the site of a Portuguese cake shop - is a nutritionist's dream.

Owned by husband and wife Felix and Corinna Clark - who also run Bellagio cafe in Waverley - this corner cafe serves food and drink to make a heart pump in gratitude.

Taste buds are keenly catered for but breakfast dishes are as far from greasy spoon as Bondi's sand is from Newtown's pavement.

The Tuckshop breakfast combines eggs with pancetta, tomatoes, avocado and smashed peas.
The Tuckshop breakfast combines eggs with pancetta, tomatoes, avocado and smashed peas. Photo: Fiona Morris

Homemade is the predominant theme. Crumpets, pastries and breads are made from scratch. Inventive juice blends and ingredient-rich smoothies are whipped up and ready in glass bottles or screwtop preserving jars.

Breakfast dishes include ingredients such as quinoa, asparagus, kale, stewed apple and eggplant. If you stick around for lunch - available in nifty takeaway containers each morning - there are dishes featuring lentils, grilled zucchini, blackened corn, char-grilled broccoli, heirloom carrots, sweet potato and horseradish yoghurt.

Nelson Road's trick is to go healthy but not at the expense of mouth-watering.

The small but detailed breakfast menu features pancetta, eggs, smoked salmon, sausage and egg muffins and chive sour cream. There are delicate croissants, doorstop crumpets served with banana and honey, corn cakes, sugar-coated danishes loaded with fruit chunks and fat cinnamon scrolls. Food is still a treat here.

We try ''red blend'' and ''yellow blend'' smoothies. The first, a deep purple mix of beetroot, berries, red grapes, coconut, lemon, mint, basil and dates, is a fresh and perky brew.

The second - a thick whirl of turmeric, coconut cream, peach, orange blossom and greek yoghurt - has an odd, tangy fizz.

Alarmed to hear this, staff deliver a new one and wait anxiously for the verdict. It is entirely different: a sweet, creamy, fruity marvel.

Our food appears swiftly on a mix of crockery including vintage Johnson of Australia stoneware, each dish beautifully arranged.

A bowl of quinoa bircher with peach slices, lime curd and a sesame snap is spot-on: silky with a fruity sweetness.

The Tuckshop brekky - two soft-boiled eggs, ruffled layers of crispy pancetta, confit tomatoes, avocado wedges and smashed peas on toast - is marvellous. Dragging a tiny mountain of pancetta, avocado and pea through runny egg makes a dreamy mouthful.

Curried eggs on pumpernickel, with kale, hot-smoked salmon and pickle is, however, the winner. The salmon is plump and plentiful, well-matched with the just-cooked kale, fluffy spiced eggs and pickle scattered with toasted pumpkin seeds. We agree the Campos coffee is nicely rich and strong.

Having opened only last month, Nelson Road (named after Lord Horatio Nelson, the second Duke of Bronte) is clearly proving popular. A stream of people arrives at the cafe's long glass cabinet to select smoothies or order a takeaway croque monsieur after a jog.

Cyclists tuck into carrot cake dusted with dark-pink petals while fellow diners, sitting on wood and metal stools at the counter or at indoor and outdoor tables, add jars of homemade kumquat marmalade or chunky Anzac spelt granola to the bill.

This airy corner cafe's decor, a mix of gleaming white tiles, warm wood counters and stoneware vases filled with flowers, is cheery and unfussy.

Australiana trinkets, including ceramic cockatoos on the counter, are dotted around; staff are cheery and keen with not a skerrick of aloofness. The cafe's healthy spirit - in food, vibe and service - suggests a rosy future.

NELSON ROAD TUCKSHOP

THE FOOD: Modern Australian

THE LOOK: Bright and airy

THE COFFEE: Campos

THE SERVICE: Cheery and keen

THE PICKS: Curried eggs, Tuckshop brekky and red blend smoothie.