The United States has hamburgers, Italy has pizza and pasta, Korea has bulgogi, Malaysia has Nasi Lemak—but have you ever wondered what Australia’s national dish is? Come to think of it, this one’s pretty tough to answer because while the Land Down Under is just a few hours away from Manila, there haven't been establishments that specifically serve Australian cuisine here for us to really get to know it—until Bondi & Bourke, that is.
A restaurant whose conception made Anne Curtis so happy (“Finally! A place that serves authentic stuff. I found my new ‘to go to’ resto for my cravings,” she posted on her Instagram account), Bondi & Bourke is the brainchild of Australian chef and former executive chef of the Abaca group of resorts in Cebu, Wade Watson. Its ambience is casual and homey, succinctly complementing the menu composed of food in good portions that you can eat and savor sans pretensions and fancy trimmings, from meat pies and burgers to steaks and lamingtons, the famous Aussie dessert.
“I want something people can come to everyday and not feel intimidated—food doesn’t need to be fancy and pretentious, it just has to be good and tasty, matched with good service,” says Chef Wade. He notes that Australian cuisine is a mix of things from their ethnic groups and various places all over the world.” Here are five Bondi & Bourke dishes you can and will enjoy even in your most dressed down ensembles:
Meat pie. “The pie is classic Australian, although it came from the English—it’s our equivalent of siopao and siomai, snack food you get from convenience stores and eat with one hand while you’re driving,” notes Chef Wade. Both their pastry and filling are made in house using their secret recipes, so you’re guaranteed freshness along with the distinct Australian flavor.
Grilled Beef Burger. While this one looks simple, the beef patty is one of the juiciest out there, and the savory bun will make you love it even more (they bake all their breads and pastries in house).
Prawn Cocktail. A lovely appetizer to start off a meal, this stands well on its own, too, because the nicely-sized prawns are as filling as a main dish.
Grilled U.S. Ribeye Tartine with Tomato Jam, Roasted Peppers, Swiss Cheese, and Pommery. Chef Wade serves his steak in a straightforward manner—no elaborate sauces, so you really get to indulge in the meaty goodness of it. Choose from either a 350 gm serving, or a 1 kilo, both ideal for sharing.
Dessert Sampler. Their dessert selection is headlined by lamingtons, a popular and uniquely Australian dessert. The chocolate sauce- and desiccated coconut-coated sponge cake squares are either filled with chocolate, lemon, or strawberry, and the perfect finishing touch to a hefty Aussie meal. They also have uber chocolate-y cake and lemon meringue for the more traditional diners.
Bondi & Bourke is located at G/F Cattleya Condominium, Salcedo Street, Legaspi Village, Makati. For more information and reservations, call (02) 833-1812.
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Photographs Vyn Radovan