The Australian café invasion has been under way in Los Angeles for sometime now (Aussie Pie Kitchen, for example, just opened locations in Inglewood and Hollywood), but lest you think that Aussies maintain their tanned and taut physiques on a steady diet of Lamington rolls and meat pies, there's a new import from Sydney opening in Santa Monica that aims to offer a healthier, beach-ier side of Australian food.
The dudes behind Bondi Harvest are chef Guy Turland and designer Mark Alston, two laid-back outdoor enthusiasts who seem to be perpetually dressed in board shorts. In Australia, Turland and Alston are best known for their YouTube cooking channel, their cookbook and their namesake café located in Bondi Beach, a stylish and touristy section of Sydney that's not unlike Santa Monica.
At their first U.S. location, the duo hopes to translate Bondi café culture to Southern California. What does that culture stand for? According to Turland and Alston, it's things like "locally sourced produce, cooking seasonally and eating healthy, along with an exceptional coffee offering" — meaning Bondi café culture won't exactly be a tough sell to the Santa Monica crowd.
As you'd expect, Bondi Harvest's menu does look very au courant, along the lines of places like Superba Food + Bread or Urth Caffé. There are, of course, things served in bowls. A breakfast "rad bowl" is made with chimichurri-dressed cauliflower, kale, turmeric quinoa, fermented vegetables, poached egg, grilled halloumi cheese and dukkah. A lunch version called the "Whirley's bowl" comes topped with grilled mahi mahi, slaw, avocado, yogurt tartar and salsa. Other breakfast items include buttermilk pumpkin pancakes; avocado toast with poached eggs; bircher muesli made with quinoa and acaí; a fried egg sandwich with bacon, Parmesan and avocado; and a breakfast burrito made with chorizo, Oaxacan cheese and avocado — fittingly, avocado seems to find its way into most dishes here, which is very California (and Australia).
For lunch, you'll find an assortment of salads made with ingredients such as broccoli florets, ancient grains, black kale, watermelon radishes and other super veggies, as well as a grass-fed burger with bacon and Sriracha aioli in case you want something a little more substantial. There will also be cold-pressed juices, smoothies, nitro cold brew and espresso drinks made with beans from Australian roaster Vittoria (yes, you can order a flat white).
Turland describes Bondi Harvest as "green smoothies [and] exercise in the morning, followed by dinner and cocktails with good mates that evening. The food we'll be serving at Bondi Harvest will have that same balance. It's a fun, wholesome approach to the beach lifestyle.”
Man, the more we learn about Sydney, the more it sounds like L.A.
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Bondi Harvest plans to open Thursday, May 5.
Bondi Harvest, 1814 Berkeley St., Santa Monica; bondiharvest.cafe.