Launch of Bruce Leaves, Bondi Beach

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.

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining Spring Cocktail Launch Party

As someone who’s more accustomed to mixing up a simple Baileys milkshake or a vodka and lemonade at home, a truly fancy and intricate cocktail is a real treat. That’s what I got at the Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining‘s Spring Cocktail Launch Party, and since then I’ve been unable to stop raving about their cocktails to my colleagues.

Lava Lamp, $18

What, a lava lamp? No! It’s a sparkling cocktail. Spherified Cointreau Caviar float through the bubbles of the glass while Remy Martin VSOP, orange bitters and demerara syrup highlight the Jansz NV.

This was a truly beautiful cocktail – both visually and in taste as well. The burst of Cointreau on your tongue when you bite into the caviar is incredibly refreshing, and makes this a remarkably refreshing cocktail.

Ay Carumba, $19

“Sierra Millenario Blanco is mixed with Yellow Chartreuse, lime, piquillo pepper and agave nectar, fresh coriander and white pepper. Bell pepper salt rims your glass. Spicy, sour and complex. Delicious.”

The peppery undertones of the Ay Carumba really takes this cocktail to the next level. From a simple lemon sour beverage, it transforms into a cocktail with multiple layers, each bringing a different sensation and flavour explosion to your tastebuds.

XO Zombie, $17

“Our twist on the original. Mt Gay XO, Cointreau and Joseph Cartron Cocody are muddled with lime, mint and our house-made passion fruit caramel. It is shaken with aromatic bitters, pineapple and orange. Served in a bitter, sugar rimmed glass and a mint crystal.”

This was definitely the hit of the evening – everyone was lining up for this flaming cocktail. It was a really special touch to an overall fruity and sweet cocktail that went down much too easily!

Painkiller Powder, $21

“Something we have been working on for a while. A world first, or at least to our knowledge, alcoholic powdered rum is mixed with pineapple, coconut and blood orange powder.”

This is the most original way I’ve ever seen of presenting a cocktail – in powdered form! Most impressive is the fact that the rum maintains its 40% alcohol levels, and really packs a punch. Just be careful not to inhale it!

The Rabbit Hole also serves a French style food menu, but I think the highlight is definitely the impressively unique cocktail menu. I already have plans to return for some pre-dinner drinks with friends, and would definitely bring out-of-towners here for a uniquely Sydney experience. The city-fringe subterranean space is surprisingly large, while maintaining a cosy intimacy for small groups.

Overall, I rate Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining an 8 out of 10. Definitely somewhere to try if you enjoy a good drink!

Rabbit Hole Bar & Dining on Urbanspoon

The Botanist Kirribilli Launch Party

Three weeks ago, a day before I flew so urgently to Melbourne, I attended the launch of The Botanist Kirribilli‘s new menu and website. As a complete sucker for unique establishments with carefully thought-out themes and concepts, I’d been interested in The Botanist since it first opened its doors a few months ago. The Botanist takes its name from a bookshop run by illustrious botanist Gerard Fothergill that once occupied the same space, and has extended this theme across their menu (food and cocktails), as well as decor and the artistic elements that can be found across most of their marketing collateral.

Check out the cute Botanist-themed illustrations on the menu!

K and I sampled the Italian sausage, potato and rosemary pizza, as well as the Marinated beef, queso and onion relish taco. The pizza was my pick of the night – I find it can be hard to ‘jazz up’ potato on pizza, but the simple addition of the rosemary worked really well. The Flower Doctor cocktail that was circulating on the night was a real hit with the crowd, and I only regret that I didn’t get a chance to sample it as it kept running out before it came my way!

The crowd at the launch party – check me out in the top right corner!

We both agreed that The Botanist was the kind of bar that we could easily find ourselves at every Friday afternoon after work knocking back a few drinks with friends, or on a Sunday afternoon after a leisurely morning stroll along the waterfront. It’s a very versatile space, where you can have both a romantic and intimate rendezvous in a dark corner, and a boisterous drinking session with ten of your closest friends.

Congratulations to The Botanist for a really successful launch party, and for the inevitable success of its first year as the new player on the Sydney bar scene!