“Where shall we go to eat?” Such a small question, such huge responsibility. After all, what’s the criteria for picking a place where you exchange your hard-earned money for sustenance, and hopefully an experience to go with it.
Well, in the case of Harry’s, the criteria was: Instagram. Yes, we’ve come to that. I’d seen my Instagram feed flooded with pictures from this bustling Bondi cafe, and I thought it was high time to see what all the fuss was about.
Pulled pork roll, fried egg with coffee bacon jam with added sweet potato fries with kasoundi, $20
Quinoa and feta fritters, fattoush, avocado, labna and hazelnut dukkah with added poached egg, $22.5
Apple cider cured trout, soft egg, avocado, fennel, zucchini and grapefruit, $20.50
Green Tea, $4 per serve
Well, Instagram got one thing right: Harry’s sure does serve up a pretty plate of food. Colours were vibrant, and the entire plate just screamed “fresh” and “seasonal”.
Flavour-wise, they got it mostly right. The Apple Cider Cured Trout was a work of art by itself, and the fennel, avocado and grapefruit combination gave the dish a lot of dimension. Depending on how much grapefruit you chose to have in any bite, it could get a touch overpowering, but otherwise, it was spot on.
The Pulled Pork Roll with fried egg and coffee bacon jam was a breakfast burger of my dreams, if my dreams were made of pulled pork and soft buttery buns. Which you know they are. The pork was unctuous and succulent – avoiding all the squeakiness that can come with choosing too lean a cut of pork. The egg added richness, and the coffee bacon jam added depth. Together, they sang in perfect harmony, and I was just the lucky person
drinking eating it all in.
The sweet potato fries were the icing on the cake, with a small dish of Kasoundi, an Indian tomato relish that just kept me coming back for more. And that’s not even considering that the sweet potato fries were one of the crispiest I’ve ever had. ??
But with the ups come the downs, and the Quinoa and Feta Fritters didn’t quite work for me. A large part of it, I’m sure, comes from the fact that I quite dislike raw capsicum, but the fritters themselves ate fairly dry, and the other elements (crispy pita, pomegranate seeds, labna, avocado) didn’t come together to create a cohesive masterpiece like the other dishes. All the bits and bobs stood aloofly apart, kind of like if strangers come together for the first time and try to form a band. Potential is there, but it requires a bit of work to hit it.
Our waitress was friendly and perky, and had an easy charm that made small mistakes – forgetting share plates that we asked for, mixing up our order and needing to come back to confirm – easy to overlook. Being a pleasant human being does go a long way: everyone makes mistakes once in a while, and being nice just inspires a lot of patience and, well, chill.
Value for money:
I went in with the assumption that I was going to over order – I always do – by choosing three dishes to share between two females. Turns out, while the portions were certainly not measly, we polished off all three plates fairly easily. And at about $35 a head, I kinda expected to be absolutely stuffed.
I guess it still falls in the realm of reasonable, though. It IS Bondi, after all.
It’s hard to fault outdoor seating with the sound of waves crashing in the not-too-far distance. The music was boppy, and played at a volume where it filled the silence, but still allowed us to easily chat over our food. Stained wood and hexagonal tiles gave it a trendy feel, and the regular clientele simply exuded “cool” in their beachwear and towels.
Very chill, and very relaxed.
I’m not sure that I would make the trek out just to go to Harry’s (I’m really not a beach person at the best of times), but I wouldn’t mind stopping by if I was in the area. Their sweet menu items (ricotta pancakes? Yaaaasss) look very promising, and there’s a selection of cake/tart things that’s simply calling my name. I like how relaxing it is, and perhaps it was the fact that I went on a weekday, but it spared me the claustrophobic crowds of similar cafes in Surry Hills.
Go if you fancy a lazy afternoon in a cafe by the beach, or if you’re after a satisfying breakfast. Or pulled pork burger.
Now that is a must-try.