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Welcome To The Neighbourhood

By Dining Dave on November 7, 2013 in Food

Photo: Grant Brooks

Photo: Grant Brooks

When I was a kid growing up in New York I used to watch a show called Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It was about a nice guy that brought you to the Neighborhood of Make-Believe to experience all sorts of fun in a puppet-populated, pseudo-medieval kingdom. Two months ago a bar/restaurant called Neighbourhood opened up in Bondi and has gained quite a magical following. So could this Neighbourhood make me feel like a kid again?

My two companions and I approached Neighbourhood at about 7:30pm on a Friday night, but due to the general dimness of Curlewis Street and the soft light of the eatery, it took a second or two to find. Once inside though, we were warmly received by Simon, the experienced bartender and chief ‘mixologist’. Without delay he started us off with three different kinds of margarita: Classic, Eddie’s BBQ, and Tommy’s. The BBQ will blow your hat off while the others were a testament to fine chemistry everywhere.

Neighbourhood seems to somehow be about three places at once. You want to sit and drink at the long wood bar? No problem. Looking for a dark lounge to chill at with friends? Too easy. A busy, but hip restaurant? You got it. Al fresco seating? Of course. Even food-wise the place moves in and out of genres. Everything feels tapas-y, yet if you want American-influenced grub or seafood fusion, they can accommodate. On Simon’s advice, we started with the South Australian octopus with enoki mushrooms, the sticky Bulleit Bourbon BBQ wings and the popcorn cajun school prawns – and boy were we happy about it. The little touches of ingredients make all these things special, such as the wasabi mayo, pickled seaweed and jalapeno remoulade.

The place has a touch of the unfinished, and its two maroon rooms contrast between the raw-brick bar area and the timber-paneled rear lounge section. Bridging the two is a DJ booth (this is the former Bondi FM site – a new online radio station is on its way) and the open yet compact kitchen, where Josh and his crew create their wonders.

After ordering another round of drinks, a cavalcade of amazing mains and sides arrived including the addictive Uncle Randy’s pulled pork jaffle, a fresh witlof Salad, succulent roasted ponzu pork belly, delicious braised beef cheek with pumpkin and ginger puree, tangy albacore tuna ceviche, and light but crisp bloody mary fries. You really have to eat it to appreciate it, as words simply aren’t going to do the job.

As if all that wasn’t enough, the meal was punctuated by an outrageous Oreo caramel ‘cheesecake’ with peanut brittle for dessert.

There’s no shortage of bars and cafés in Bondi, however, something has to stand out, and this is as close to being in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe as you’re going to get!

Address | 143 Curlewis Street, Bondi
Phone | (02) 93652872
Website |
Email |
Open | Mon-Fri 5-11pm; Sat 9am-11pm; Sun 9am-10pm
Prices | Starters $10-17, Mains $22-26, Cocktails $17-$18
Seats | 70
Cards | All major cards
Licensed/BYO | Licensed