Opening Soon: Bondi & Bourke Attempts to Give Us an Idea of What Australian Cuisine is All AboutJune 25, 2015
The first question I had to ask was, “What is Australian cuisine?” I’m going to be completely honest here. This was the first time I’ve ever heard of it—an Australian restaurant. One of my more disturbing (and, admittedly, ignorant) thoughts were, “Would kangaroo be on the menu?”
Chef Wade Watson, with his multi-cuisine experience—having trained in Australia, and having worked in hotels and restaurants in Canada, Thailand, Hong Kong, and Cebu—says that there isn’t really anything that sets Australian cuisine apart from others around the world. Aside from the produce used, cooking methods, and cooking techniques, Australian food isn’t all that different. Although meat pies, sausage rolls, and roast lamb are known Aussie staples—Chef Watson says that that’s practically it. Australian cuisine, for the most part, is a melting pot—the sum of the country’s different ethnic groups: a mix of Greek, Turkish, Middle-Eastern, and Asian.
Opening soon in Legaspi Village, Bondi & Bourke aims to go for casual dining and comfort food—a popular theme chosen by budding restaurateurs in the city today. “I’m not trying to change the food scene here, I’m not doing anything new. I’m just trying to do it well, and to do it better,” says Watson. His goal is to serve simple and delicious food unpretentiously in a cool yet cozy environment.
They had us started off with the Grilled Ciabatta. It’s worth mentioning that the restaurant has its own fully-equipped bakery in the kitchen, and so they make their own fresh bread daily. The ciabatta was warm and crisp. It also smelled and tasted of the olive oil it was grilled with, and was served with a side of olive tapenade, onion jam, and tomato relish. We also had the Roasted Cauliflower Soup, made with fresh cream, topped off with crispy florets and a delicious dose of double-smoked bacon. We also tried the Oysters Kilpatrick and Prawn Cocktail—two of their finest seafood starters.
For salads, we had the Bourke Street and Greek Salad. The former was a mix of fresh arugula, sliced almonds, cherry tomatoes, small orange slices, and cubes of goat cheese—a light and nutty toss before the main course. The Greek Salad was straightforward, with the usual greens, tomatoes, potatoes, olives, cucumbers and feta cheese.
The heavy lifting began when the burgers started coming out. We were served three Australian classics: The Australian Burger, the Beef Burger, and the Chicken Burger. The Australian Burger proved to be impressively loaded with every essential ingredient, prepared the Australian way. It had a piece of grilled ribeye in addition to a well-seasoned ground beef patty. It was also decked with caramelized onions, pickled beets, a fried egg, and bacon to boot. All of this sandwiched in between two toasted buns—it was every cardiologist’s nightmare, and every fried food fatty’s dream. And that was just the beginning.
Next, we got a taste of an Australian favorite—the chicken parmigiana. Huge, juicy slabs of boneless chicken breasts were coated with melted cheese and tomato sauce. We tried the Classic Australian, slathered with some special sauce, forest ham, mozzarella and grana padano cheese. We also tried the Meditteranean-style parma, which was flavored by olives, fresh basil, marinated feta, and crisp capers. After the parmas, we were served a simple, smoked salmon tartine—with chive cream cheese, more capers, and Spanish onions.
Among all the dishes, my absolute favorite was the Steak Pie. As I said before, the kitchen’s fully-equipped bakery is something to boast of, and this especially comes in handy when baking pies. The braised Australian beef and sweet onions were embraced by the warm and crisp, yet soft and firm arms of the toasty puff pastry. Far from exaggeration, this was one of the best meat pies I’ve ever had.
The restaurant is still working on its menu—looking to stabilize before turning seasonal, since Australian cuisine is mainly a produce-based cuisine. Desserts are also in the works. But from what I’ve tasted so far, Australian cuisine in the Philippines seems to be getting off with a promising start through Bondi & Bourke.
What do you think about Australian cuisine? Which of the dishes above are you most excited to try? Tell us your thoughts with a comment below!
Pepper.ph was invited to feature the above establishment. Therefore, the feature includes no rating whatsoever, which can be influenced or biased.
Bondi & Bourke
Address: GF, Cattleya Condominium, Salcedo St., Legaspi Village, Makati