Bondi is not just for summer, with a Notorious P.I.G and mulled Batlow cider there to lift winter spirits.
Bondi Hardware is ushering in the winter solstice with a new menu that feels like a (very fashionable) cosy woollen scarf to pull around you on a chilly Saturday night. Nana's honey lemon tea moonlights in cool cocktail form as The Flower Doctor ($17), made naughty with Tanqueray and elderflower liqueur and lifted with a hint of orange blossom water. To really warm the cockles, opt for a hot Batlow cider, mulled with cinnamon twills and melted butter (yes, really) and served over warm orange pieces.
Winter continues on the plate, with a menu designed to encourage huddling and cuddling over delicious shared dishes. Roasted garlic, chilli and pomegranate bring warmth to a delicate albacore tuna ceviche ($19), while a buttery braised beef cheek, served on a bed of horseradish mascarpone, pulls apart at the softest touch of the fork ($20). The salads are rustic and the dips are creamy and rich, with whole baby beetroots, pickled mushrooms and charred bread making welcome appearances. The Notorious P.I.G. leaves no doubt as to who is King Pig; succulent pork belly pieces are topped with a sticky candied apple glaze ($20).
Fun, casual elegance abounds in this winter wonderland. Warm candlelight dances against recycled timber panels and exposed brickwork, and catches on the wall-mounted tools that hark back to the venue's history as a hardware store. Winter orchids in rich, dark colours fill mismatched bottles and jars, and alternate with wax-laden DIY candelabra on the tables.
On the wine front, a range of appealing by-the-glass options makes decision-making pleasantly difficult. The beers are boutiquey and international, and include the Vale IPA ($9): an American-style Indian pale ale that combines hops from three different countries. The bustle by the bar is friendly and interested, with a communal atmosphere that merges conversations and guarantees new friends. On the wall, a mural-enshrined handyman encourages Bondi's Twitterati to live in the moment. "The only thing that tweets here," he instructs, "are the birds."