WHAT: New restaurant by award-winning chef Ian Oakes (previously of The Grand National, Paddington) focussing on seasonal, locally sourced produce
WHERE: Corner of Curlewis and Gould Street, Bondi Beach
Despite having read the sour-puss review from the Daily Telegraph‘s ‘Sydney Taste’ team, I was keen to stop by Bondi’s newest buzzy dining spot Drake to try it out for myself. It turns out that the rest of Bondi has also given Drake a warm welcome as dinner tables are still at a premium a few weeks after opening – don’t bother turning up for an evening meal without checking availability in advance.
I popped in for lunch today and tried one of their most popular dishes, the thyme gnocchi (with golden raisins, hazelnuts, mushrooms and Gippsland blue cheese – $16). The atmosphere was just right for a chilly Monday with a relaxing mix of Chilli Peppers and Jamiroquai quietly playing in the background and a toasty glow emanating from the open kitchen. My gnocchi was a perfect combination of textural elements (crunchy hazelnuts, squishy raisins, chewy mushrooms) and rich flavours. I would definitely recommend it for a quick but satisfying lunch.
Oakes designed the restaurant to embody the type of venue he’d like to visit on his day off – “a relaxed, neighbourhood eatery… a place to unwind and have a drink at the bar or settle in and enjoy sharing a meal with friends.”
Drake’s interiors epitomise the popular trend of minimalist industrial – walls have been coated in concrete, exposed pipes covered in shiny brass and the ceiling adorned by rough wooden pallets. A splash of warmth and personality has been added via the large bench clad in textured wooden railway sleepers and the few tendrils of greenery scattered across shelving. The space could benefit from some soft furnishings or artwork to make it a little more approachable and properly realise the relaxed vibe that Oakes set out to create.
The menu is currently one size fits all for lunch and dinner and is designed to be shared. Coffee is being served from 7am, breakfast/brunch will be available in the coming weeks.
I was informed that mid-week evenings book out from around 4.30pm daily and this Saturday’s dinner service is already full. A mid-week lunch may be a better bet if you’re the spontaneous type – although Drake is proving a popular spot for business lunches. I spied Ryan Ginns, Nathan Jolliffe and their Luis Tan restaurant team at a table nearby catching up for a pre-opening meeting over lunch.
Head to drakeeatery.com.au for more info including how to book.
Tracey @ What’s New Bondi xx