Bondi doesn't have a shortage of places to brunch, so if you're going to get in on the game, the stakes are high. You'll be betting your best breakfast bowls and baked eggs, and training like a madman to make sure your milk frothing skills are honed to a tee; locals will be willing to take a chance on you, but they won't show any faith until you've had some consistent wins. With this in mind, you've got to wonder why you'd want to sign up at all. But The Nine, having opened earlier this month, is fresh out on the field — and they seem to be playing the game correctly.
They're a Bondi cafe in every sense of the word: the menu is mostly organic, locally-sourced and healthy, the interior is blonde, blue and open. It's small, but it doesn't feel too cramped — although you may have trouble getting a spot on a sunny Sunday morning.
This possibly has something to do with the dishes being churned out of the kitchen. They're so damn pretty, the plating up alone deserves some kind of award. Just try to walk past without the nine grain Bircher — which is topped with bright slices of mango and edible flowers ($14) — or the crazy colourful mountain of toast with avo, tomato, stone fruit, ricotta and pesto ($15) catching your eye.
The scrambled eggs with kale, feta and perfect-crunch broccoli ($18) is a great breakfast choice, if not a little exxy with just one piece of toast on the plate. Similarly, the basic shakshouka comes in a bit high at $18 — especially considering it's an extra $3 just to add chorizo. Lunch lends itself to seafood, with a prawn and crab brioche burger on the menu, along with some beetroot-cured salmon which is a very pleasant colour indeed (both $18). And while you can get a very good Five Senses coffee, you're also able to order from the mostly biodynamic wine list.
Service wasn't exactly as well refined as the well-designed dishes. On our visit, we were forgotten about multiple times and had a considerable wait for food, even with the space being quite small and not that busy. It's a sore point amongst some really good ones — but with Lox Stock & Barrel just up the road and Brown Sugar around the corner, there's stiff competition. With hopes to open for dinner in the near future, The Nine might still be finding their prime position.