Porch and Parlour has always been one of my favorite cafes at Bondi. Every time someone from across the pond makes their first visit to Bondi, I usually take them there because they have an excellent brunch menu (and Margaret Zhang has been there)!
When the 2 Hungry Guys told me to make a visit at night to try out their dinner menu I was rather puzzled. For some reason, I’ve never pictured myself going to Porch and Parlour for dinner.
So I booked a date on the weekend and went to try it out. However, Bondi Beach did not give me a good welcome. It was extremely windy and the skies were grey and dull.
Ok fine, I didn’t look at the weather forecast but I was really hoping that it would be more calm once I arrived at the cafe.
Once I entered the cafe, I was surprised by its ambiance. There were candles lit everywhere which beautifully reflected on their aqua-colored walls. It felt like I was on a romantic movie set in Spain waiting for my long lost lover who is fighting through the storm to come see me (totally being way too dramatic).
We were hosted by Connor a.k.a the wine expert. He started off by asking us a few questions on our preferences in wine. Minutes later he brought out a bottle of Shiraz called Violet Hour from Bondar Wines. It was a medium-bodied wine which had a nice fruity undertone to it. Any night is a good night with a bottle of red wine!
Many drinks later, I thought it would be a good idea to keep it in the hands of the head chef to pick our dishes. We were pretty overwhelmed with the wide selection of shared dishes which was inspired by the seasonal fruits and vegetables. Don’t worry guys, it’s gluten-free.
To start off the night, we had the Ocean Trout Ceviche with shaved fennel, blood orange, fresh leaves, coconut cream and lime. The rich orange-colored trout and blood orange really got me mind-boggled as I still cannot figure out how they were such a kick-ass combo. The tanginess from the lime and coconut got me thinking about my Malibu Rum hiding at the back of my closet.
Don’t even get me started on the beef carpaccio! Anything truffle makes me go insane. The taste of truffle was pretty obvious when I had my first bite since they used truffle oil. It was dressed up with wild mushrooms, jerusalem artichoke and pecorino. I’m very familiar with wild mushrooms in a typical chinese stir-fry but I never thought the different textures from the beef and mushroom would be superb together.
Watermelon salads are really big in Sydney especially in spring. It’s been a challenge for me to find a unique watermelon salad but Porch and Parlour totally nailed it!
Their fresh buffalo mozzarella was creamy and soft which gave a nice contraposition to the watermelon. At this point, I’m already considering picking up a gluten-free diet.
If you’re looking for something that’s more daring, I’d go for the charred octopus, with broad beans, shallots and snow peas. In general, octopus is not really considered as everyone’s cup of tea but this really is something else. The octopus was charred three times and then finally braised to avoid it from being overly chewy and tough. Instead it gave a whole new meaning to the word ‘tenderness’ and kinda got my tastebuds pretty excited. The greens were a nice boost of nutrition to the dish as well.
Just when I thought that was it, I jumped in excitement when we saw this crispy pork belly being brought to our table. I’ve eaten pork belly a million times but I’ve never seen it presented so beautifully.
I honestly thought it was worthy to be framed and hung on the wall in my home. Just look at it and you will fall in love instantly. They were able to avoid the pork belly from being too dry. It’s sweet and smoky glaze went well with the mediterranean influence from the aioli combined with my all time favorite kimchi.
To finish off the night, we decided to share a gluten-free cheesecake for dessert. They played around with many layers of texture from the mousse-like cake to the crumble and raspberry. Every bite of it was absolutely delightful. I mean every single freaking bite.
So find some pals, get a tan at the beach and finish it off with some amazing dinner at Porch and Parlour. Just learn from my mistakes and check the weather forecast. Walking home while being tipsy is not ideal when there is super strong winds.
Porch and Parlour
17-18/110 Ramsgate Ave,
North Bondi, NSW 2026
Contributed by Arvin, who dined as a guest on behalf of 2 Hungry Guys