Blanca Makes Its Mark
Established in January 2017 by legendary chefs Tomi Bjorck and Samuel Cole, Blanca, meaning ‘blank canvas’, has allowed these creative culinary craftsmen to cleverly combine Mediterranean flavours and fresh Australian ingredients with a traditional Japanese cooking style.
My guest and I arrived at Blanca early on a balmy Wednesday evening, the space already humming with an eclectic mix of diners. Faced with a choice between the cozy upstairs section or buzzing main area of the minimalist modern dining room, al fresco on the elevated pathway, or casual drinks and snacks at the bar, we opted for the epicentre and were seated at a beautiful black marble table with comfy white chairs, surrounded by black broomstick lights with filament globes adorning either end. We began our evening with a signature Herushinki cocktail, a refreshing combination of Hendricks gin, freshly squeezed cucumber juice, lime, ginger and mint – delicious.
Blanca’s menu is extensive, offering a variety of snacks and shares plates that are conducive to larger groups. The dishes will seem familiar to those experienced with Japanese elements – think miso, sashimi, yuzu, wasabi and kombu – while at the same time featuring hearty European and Levantine ingredients like potatoes, Angus beef, pork ribs, oysters and hummus.
We began with Sydney Rock Oysters, served in glass dishes on beds of crushed ice with yuzu sake-bonito granita, baby shiso, flying fish roe, mandarin-Szechuan pepper mignonette and avruga; Oxtail Dumplings with braised beef and oxtail, black vinegar dressing, sesame and pickled chili; Blanca Black Buns with crispy softshell crab, XO-mayo and spicy red cabbage; Croquetas Furikake Unagi of smoked eel with furikake; Sesame Leaf Rolls with raw beef or edamame; and fresh cooked Yamba Prawns with miso mayo, spicy dressing and ume ponzu. The beautiful presentation of all these ‘snacks’ gives an indication of how passionate Blanca’s chefs are – just have a look at presentation of the oysters in the photo.
Our mains included Miso Eggplant with hummus; Saikyo Miso Mulloway with white soy, yuzu dashi, daikon, kale, asparagus and radish (a work of art); Pork Ribs and Miso Caramel Togarashi with miso caramel, pork crackling and spicy baby gem lettuce; and Poached Marron with wasabi dashi, black garlic, grilled fennel, almond, and kombu – tender to the point of tears, I actually wept at the table. We also ordered the addictive Crispy Blanca Potatoes with aioli garlic, furikake, and chili pickle sauce, as a side.
I must also confess to demolishing a soothing matcha tea mousse, apple sorbet, almond cake, sorrel, apple and pistachio dessert.
I have to hand it to Tomi and Samuel, they have brought exotic fine dining to Bondi and successfully combined style, flavour, different cuisines and fresh local ingredients, and made it accessible to everyone. Blanca has filled its blank canvas with master strokes.
Blanca Bar & Dining
Address 3 & 4 / 75-79 Hall Street, Bondi Beach
Phone 9365 2998
Open Mon-Thu: 5.30pm-late; Fri-Sat: 12pm-late; Sun: 12-10pm
Prices Snacks: $5-9; Mains and Raw: $20-34
Cards Accepted Yes Licensed Yes