The Sydney kings of sourdough have set up shop on Campbell Parade. Bondi hipsters rejoice.
You'd be hard pressed these days to find a name more synonymous with good bread than Sonoma. In the wheat and yeast-sensitive, organic-obsessed age of the millennium, this humble yet rapidly expanding family-run business has found its market. What started out as a popular bread stall at Paddington Markets has lead to four Sonoma cafe openings around Sydney and, more recently, a newly opened wing on Bondi's Campbell Parade.
Tucked under a large residential and retail block, the Bondi venue is a lot more spacious and slick than its cousin in Glebe, and provides outdoor seating only. As a bakery-style joint, it forgoes big cooked breakfasts for champions' ready-to-eat sandwiches, soups and baked goods that rarely spill over the $10 mark. The standout from the freshly made sandwiches is the minted chicken tarragon on miche bread ($9). Another must-try is Sonoma's avocado, sea salt, and squeezed lemon on sourdough ($7), which comes with optional tasty extras like marinated fetta and cured meats. Those with an unshakable sweet tooth can choose from powdered almond croissants, citron tarts or Sonoma's delicious spice-infused honey muesli, available by the bagful.
It's the bread, however, that really steals the show. The array of crusty 'boules' and 'batards' ($7) in the window entices passers-by off the street, including sourdough (kalamata olive or soy linseed), spelt fruit loaf and dense blocks of seeded rye. Sonoma prides itself on using only organic flour and natural yeasts in the baking process, and the results speak for themselves.
Last but not least, the Sonoma boys have some serious pull in the coffee arena, with Sydney's cult-favourite roasters Single Origin producing a unique Sonoma blend that's smooth and approachable.
All in all what the Bondi cafe lacks in rustic charm and warmth it makes up for in terms of the reliability and value of its product. The best way to go is to grab a fresh loaf, some preserves and a coffee, and retreat to your living room. It's a tough life - yes - but someone's gotta do it.