Stafili Wine & Mezze Bar
The upgrade to the Roscoe Street Mall in Bondi is a welcome improvement, and the ever-popular Hurricanes Grill and the busy eateries that surround it give the small strip of paved outdoor mall a funky buzz. The new kid on the block in this tourist haven is Stafili Wine and Mezze Bar.Stafili has an extremely stylish interior with a contemporary mix of white bare-brick walls, dark wood, vintage tiles on the floor and slick furnishings. It’s a bit more ‘Ivy’ than your regular Bondi cafe.
Outside there’s an al fresco dining area where patrons can enjoy watching the passing crowds, while inside there is a mix of low and high tables including a fantastic oval table surrounded by ten high stools, the perfect vantage for a large group of typically stylish and beautiful people that I’d expect to see in a place like this. Across the back wall is an immaculate open kitchen pumping out fragrant smells and next it an equally immaculate cocktail bar heaves with wines and premium spirits – heaven!
Stafili has one of the most extensive and carefully sourced wine lists in Bondi. Seriously, they must have a 100-strong bin, mostly from around Australia and NZ but also a small international selection. If you are into your wine, which most people in this area seem to be, you should definitely check this list out. I had the Smith & Hooper Merlot from Wratton Bay SA, which at $40 a bottle was exceptional. If you want to drink beer, bugger off around the corner to the Bavarian, but if you fancy a light, fruity summer cocktail, stay at Stafili and indulge in a watermelon margarita, a grapefruit daquiri or a mouth-watering raspberry mojito.
The food comes in the form of small plates of authentic mezze with vibrant colours and delicate flavours – the perfect accompaniment to the wine on offer. The dips plate with hummus, taramasalata, baba ganoush and pita takes me back to holidays in the Mediterranean, the whitebait is crisply fried and seasoned with a hint of spice, the meatballs are moist and tasty and the classic bruschetta was close to perfection. Apart from the disappointing bed of undressed rocket that appeared on every plate the food was outstanding, especially the lamb souvlaki, a highlight for yours truly and certainly not to be missed.
If you’re up for something sweet try the baklava ice cream – absolute genius.
The service is not the typical ‘we are too cool to serve you’ approach that is becoming way too familiar these days. Rather, it’s very friendly and attentive without feeling forced or claustrophobic.Don’t mistake Stafili for a pretentious hole in the wall. This is a great little venue that shines with fabulous wines and tasty plates for all palates. It’s as close as Bondi gets to the Mediterranean.
Stafili Wine & Mezze Bar
Address: Shop 7, Roscoe St. Mall, 152-154 Campbell Pde. Bondi Beach
Phone: 9130 1773
Seats: 80 inside and out
Open: Mon-Fri, 4pm-late; Sat, 12pm-late; Sun 12pm-10pm
Prices: Various plates $7-$32
Cards: All except Diners
Licensed/BYO: Fully licensed