K and I recently visited the newly opened Bruce Leaves in Bondi Beach, an outpost of the original branch in Alexandria. It makes a lot of sense that they’ve opened in this area as its very concept seems to fit the whole Bondi vibe – healthy salads and rolls with a multicultural twist, designed to appeal to the healthy and fit beach-loving residents of Bondi.
Their launch night was very laid back, with some classic 90s tunes pumping through the speaker system, and staff working on pumping out bite-sized salad and banh mi servings behind the counter. Bloggers, locals, and friends of owners alike mingled through the store and flowed out onto the footpath and little courtyard in front of the store, sipping drinks and laughing and chatting into the night.
Alcoholic versions of their smoothies were circling for all guests – some with a shot of toffee vodka which K just absolutely loved. As I’m still choosing not to drink, the staff generously offered to make a normal smoothie specifically for me. I ummed and ahhed over the different options as they all looked fantastic. The juices looked fantastic as well!
I ended up choosing a coconut banana smoothie, which comes with scooped coconut flesh and juice, banana and soaked chia seeds. It was wonderfully refreshing, and startlingly filling as well. The chia seeds gave the smoothie an interesting texture as well. K just had a Becks beer – not on the usual menu I think, but it was available for the launch party!
Different varieties of miniature banh mi were on the menu at the party, and the staff walked around with rows of them on boards for partygoers to help themselves.
The Chicken Banh Mi was a study in delicious contrasts – tender chicken pieces in a crusty bread roll. Fresh coriander and carrots with a savoury spread and sauce. Exceedingly more-ish in its interpretation of a Vietnamese classic.
I liked the vegetarian Haloumi Banh Mi – it could have done with a bit more haloumi, but what was there was chargrilled to smokey goodness, and was set off particularly well with the fried shallots.
K and I also tasted a satay beef salad – beautifully chargrilled cubes of tender beef served with a peanutty satay sauce with little chunks of pineapple, lettuce and other fresh vegetables. It’s very Malaysian in its style, continuing Bruce Leaves modern interpretations of Asian classics.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity to try any other of the salads that Bruce Leaves has on its menu as they proved to be very popular with the other guests who snapped them up before we could try them. All the more reason to return and try them on a proper visit!
Note: Gourmanda visited the launch of Bruce Leaves Bondi as a guest of Seriously Social. All photos and words are her own.