Bondeno Café review
Time Out says
Discover the joys of Bosnian cevapi sausages and soup-dipped bread
Sausages with sour cream? They're a game-changer. Bosnians have been way ahead for eons, adding a good dollop of the stuff not just to cevapi sausages, but to beef patties, too. You can relish both at Bondeno, a street-fronted café in the heart of Fairfield. You’ll probably spot the crowd of chain-smoking older men nursing coffees outside first, but forge on – the indoor seating is smoke-free and relatively quiet.
Ignore the usual gamut of breakfast fry-ups, focaccia and burgers, and home in on the Favourites section of the menu. Cevapi ($20) is the clear crowd favourite, a feast of ten skinless sausages served in lepinja bread with sour cream, raw onions and a housemade cabbage salad. The cevapi are made locally by a Bosnian ex-pat, the spiced meat mixture shaped into short fingers and then grilled.
Lepinja is a revelation, like a softer and fluffier version of Turkish bread. The bread is dipped in a housemade beef and vegetable soup before being toasted under the grill. The soup dip adds a slight juiciness to the bread, without rendering it soggy. Eat everything together – hearty sausage, spicy raw onion, tangy sour cream and gently pickled cabbage salad – in a hug of pillowy lepinja, and you’ll know why this combo is such a popular Balkan street food.
Pljeskavice ($20) is the Balkan take on the humble hamburger. Here, you score two beef patties between souped and toasted lepinja bread with a blanket of sour cream. You bet there’s a side serve of cabbage salad, too.
Need more meat? Order the mixed grill ($28 for one or $56 for two). You’ll be rewarded with a meatfest that includes three cevapi sausages, one pljeskavice beef patty, one lamb cutlet, grilled chicken breast and a raznjic (skewer) of tender pork cubes interspersed with red capsicum – all served on a bed of crunchy hot chips. Plus garden salad. And lepinja bread. There’s no way you’re leaving hungry. If you need a sweet to finish, squeeze in a couple of tulumba donut fritters soaked in syrup.
77 Ware St
|Opening hours:||Mon-Wed, Fri 8am-5pm; Thu 8am-9pm; Sat 8am-4.30pm|