Thai Food Gets A Bit Trendy
Up the hill at the North Bondi ‘bus depot’ you’ll find a smart collection of cafes and restaurants, all seemingly doing a roaring trade and giving the area an amazing vibrancy. And with the construction of a new apartment block on the strip reaching completion a couple of months ago, there have been some exciting new additions. Bondi’s Best fish restaurant is getting everyone talking, and a couple of doors up, Spice & Wine, a modern little Thai joint resembling the small wine bars that Bondi loves but serving spicy Asian food instead, is gaining quite a following.
Spice & Wine is the newest venture from the team who own and run the fabulous Spice Market in Double Bay, which has been an institution in the designer suburb for fifteen years.
Inside, it’s recognisably the swanky little cousin of the original. With only twenty or so seats, it’s a cosy place but the space is generous enough that you don’t have to sit on top of your neighbour like other small wine bars in the area. It’s decked out with funky red stools, bamboo finishes, granite surfaces, lanterns, vibrant red walls and mirrors to open things up. Concertina windows at the front of the restaurant open up onto the street and there are a few tables on the footpath. The only real view is of the bus terminal but you still definitely get the beach vibe up here though, and come summer it will definitely be rocking.
The staff were swift and efficient yet also unusually jolly and good-natured. The manager, Freddy, is so friendly you’d head to Spice & WIne just for a chat with him. While I was in there a few regular locals were telling him that it was their “new favourite place to go” – always a good sign.
The menu at Spice & Wine is reliable and mostly familiar, with a couple of strange and inventive additions, most notably the ‘Sexy Duck Stir-fry’, a delicious plate of duck cooked with the skin, fresh vegetables, chilli and salted soya beans. The stand out dish though is the Lamb Massaman, which features a rack of lamb wallowing in a rich massaman sauce accompanied by a big wedge of pumpkin. It’s worth the walk up the hill for this dish alone. Spice and Wine also offers takeaway and it’s already proving extremely popular.
Given that ‘wine’ features in the name of the restaurant, you’d expect more than six whites, six reds, two rosés and one bubbly, but the list is well composed and the wines have been picked to suit the style of the cuisine. It is well balanced with a couple of Aussie and New Zealand drops, some French, and couple of fruity Californian grapes that match the spicy Asian food with aplomb. You can also opt to BYO wine for $3 per head, and with a swanky bottle shop next door it’s always an option.
Spice & Wine is a happy little place, nestled somewhere between the authentic and modern. With a focus on quality, a sense of style not oft associated with Thai joints and an easy-going eat-in or eat-out vibe and, it’s a fantastic addition to North Bondi’s scene.
Spice & Wine
Address: Shop 4, 34-53 Campbell Parade, North Bondi
Phone: (02) 8964 9344
Prices: Entrees $2-$5; Mains $14.50-$22
Open: 7 days, 10am-10pm
Cards: Amex, MC, Visa, EFTPOS