A North Bondi hotspot centred on simplicity, sustainability and attention to detail.

The Hill Eatery is North Bondi's latest hotspot of fine food centred on simplicity, sustainability and attention to detail. Co-owners Sarah Hendriks and Michael Benson (Porch and Parlour) have teamed up with head chef Sam Smith (ex L'Etoile) to deliver an evening's good time in rustic maritime-style surrounds. Oh, and then there's the view.

The Hill's menu is well-priced, celebrates locally sourced produce and is favourable to chef Smith's preferred ingredients: salt and pepper. Each dish is designed for sharing and cooked in a way that proves culinary expertise. We began with paella arancini and house-made saffron aioli ($12) and the special sesame and coriander tuna tataki. The paprika smoked risotto balls were a juicy accompaniment to the nicely-sealed meaty fish, as were two pints of Coopers Pale Ale on tap ($9.50 each).

Next came two fruit-driven glasses of the 2010 South Gippsland Narkoojee Pinot Noir ($12 glass) to complement our mains. We opted for the mixed seafood pie with endive, radish and lemon ($26), and the organic Old Man's Gully beef cut with roasted baby vegetables and jus ($33). The winner of the two was the beef, soaked in the rich jus and almost cutting itself to deliver a true Aussie taste alongside parsnip, onion, potato, carrot and a few cherry tomatoes.

Dessert came in the form of chocolate crème brulee, fresh strawberries and almond brittle ($10) with an orange grape 2009 Narkoojee Tipple Pink sticky ($12 glass). Sarah's Favourite, the Hill's signature cocktail of Westwinds gin, Quandon and Gentian Bitters liquer, grapefruit and agave syrup ($14), is a solid post-dinner option, too. The tipple is sweet and refreshing much like the woman herself, taking its name from one of the restaurant's co-owners.

It's still early days, but the Hill Eatery has clearly filled a hole in the area's hip young dining scene, bored of Italian food and looking for some real North Bondi identity. And the Hill has filled it well. The trendy juxtaposition of cinder blocks, thick metal and hanging caged lighting with recycled wood and adjustable wobble-preventing cork corners on each table, is testament to the time and effort put into this place. A true hilltop gem.

Images: Bodhi Liggett. 

Published on August 04, 2012 by Jack Arthur Smith

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