Pilgrims Finally Arrives in Bronte
The opening of a fresh vegetarian eatery on Macpherson Street, Bronte, is very much a family affair. Three great local families – the Quigleys, Bardettas and Stewarts – have joined forces to open the Bronte instalment of Pilgrims, a South Coast institution that is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
The Quigley and Stewart families have holiday houses in Mollymook, which they have frequently ventured to since they were little kids. If they were going to Milton, then they were going to Pilgrims – it was as simple as that. These days they are all grown up and have kids of their own, but they still get down the coast often and Pilgrims remains an essential part of their itinerary.
For many years, after all coming together for a feed (and one or two drinks) at Pilgrims in Milton, the conversation would often steer towards the idea of the families jointly opening a Pilgrims of their own. Now, after years of talk, that dream has finally become a reality.
As a blow-in and uninitiated customer, Pilgrims was not what I expected, but in a good way. Given the name, I was expecting a cosy, Bohemian café that offered wheat grass, celery sticks and free yoga, but that was not the case. Pilgrims is far bigger than I was expecting, with plenty of tables, lots of space and a fun, modern interior. Although it operates as a café during the day, Pilgrims presents itself as a restaurant in the evenings and it’s the perfect spot for an extended dinner and drinks with friends. Once crowds are allowed back, it will be filled with the sort of energy that bigger venues provide; the kind of energy that you would have previously had to venture into the city to experience.
Pilgrims offers healthy, wholesome and affordable vegetarian food. Breakfast includes everything from the full Pilgrims breakfast (free range eggs, roast mushrooms, roast tomatoes, Pilgrims baked beans and Iggy’s sourdough) to acai bowls and granola, juices and smoothies. Lunch is burgers, wraps and bowls. The famous Bliss burger – a mixed grain pattie with special peanut sauce – is my pick. The Mexican dinner menu offers burritos, tacos, nachos and enchiladas, all made from fresh local ingredients. The North Shore plate – a mini Mexican fiesta – is perfect for sharing, and the vegie chips with aioli are a must. The meals are big, tasty and bloody good value.
After drinking alone in my lounge room for the past few months, the prospect of dinner and drinks with friends fills me with the same levels of excitement that I used to feel in the week leading up to Splendour in the Grass. Thankfully, Pilgrims also offer a range of beers, wine and cocktails to help you ease back into society.
Address: 127 Macpherson Street, Bronte
Facebook: Pilgrims Bronte
Phone: 8040 9519
Open: Thu- Sun 7am-8pm