Bar legend Lee Potter Cavanagh, who has worked at establishments across London, Sydney and Canberra — most recently as general manager of Darlinghurst's East Village — has opened his first venture as solo owner and operator. Called Rosenbaum and Fuller — after Potter Cavanagh's grandmothers — it's a casual eatery and bar, just a few minutes' walk from Bondi Beach. Drop by at midday for an Edition coffee and a leek terrine with cashew butter and toasted sourdough, and at nightfall for a feast of share plates and Australian wines.
"I've been living in Bondi on and off, ever since I moved out of home at 18," says Potter Cavanagh, a former Australian Bartender of the Year. "It's where I've spent most of my time in Sydney, so it feels like home. Being near the beach, it's nice and relaxed, but, at the same time, it's international. You feel like you're in a global city."
Rosenbaum and Fuller is on O'Brien Street, in the space previously occupied by The Crossing Bar. Just a stumble away lies The Hub: home to Gelato Messina, Blanca and China Diner. Potter took care of the design, in league with family and friends. A pastel purple shop front gives way to a light, airy space, splashed with light timbers, teardrop pendant lights and leather. Stained glass and hanging bunches of dried flowers add quirky touches — as do bottles of spirits, suspended from the ceiling by twine.
When it came to putting together his team, Potter Cavanagh found people who shared his vision: a restaurant, bar and cafe that's as sustainable as possible. In the kitchen, you'll find Head Chef Rob Rietveld, whose CV includes Sydney's Clareville Kiosk, Hong Kong's Aberdeen Street Social and London's Pollen Street Social. "I knew Rob had the right ideas," says Cavanagh. "His approach to food mirrors my own. He's a hippie at heart and has been reducing waste in his cooking for years."
The result is a menu that's mainly plant-based and driven by local, seasonal produce. Among Rietveld's summer dishes are tofu fingers with Tassie miso, broccoli and poppy; fried baby artichoke with olive and capsicum sauce; and king oyster mushroom with shiitake "bacon". One of Potter Cavanagh's favourites is the lentil sandwich, which he describes as "unlike any other sandwich: sweet, spicy, salty and crunchy".
Behind the bar, Potter Cavanagh is collaborating with bartender Toby Marshall, who ran Palmer & Co before setting up Charlie Parker's – the speakeasy in the basement of Fred's, Paddington. "He's also really passionate about Australian produce," says Potter Cavanagh. "As soon as I talked to him about what I wanted to do, our dreams met up."
The wine list is 90 percent Australian, with an emphasis on small producers, boutique drops and minimal intervention. Plus, there's a tempting selection of signature cocktails, peppered with Australian spirits and native ingredients. For a fittingly beachy beverage, try the Ocean Gin with dry vermouth, wakame salt and parsley. To be whisked away to a forest, go for the Mountain Pepper Whiskey with peat, citrus and honey. Or, for a sweet adventure, order the Banana Fizz with green ant gin, citrus, ricotta, honey and wattleseed.