There’s no secret to the enduring appeal of this Sydney dining institution: fashionable Italian by the sea still works, every time
Dining fashions may come and go, but drinking Spritzes with ocean views and a corps of Sydney’s most beautiful people at neighbouring tables will never go out of style.
And speaking of style, Icebergs Dining Room and Bar is also one of the few places in the city where you can wear a boxfresh white T-shirt and a broad-brimmed white hat to dinner in the middle of July and not look out of place – the Bondi dress code is trans-seasonal. So for that matter, is the appeal of classic Italian food, and even if the water is so cold you can’t feel your face, we still like to be near it, which is what makes Icebergs such a good-times triple threat.
Head chef Monty Koludrovic walks the walk on the local produce front with a plate of tomato slices arranged into spirals of pantone reds and pinks, scantily dressed in olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh basil, served with an orb of buffalo burrata sporting more sweet little leaves than a country lane. A dish like this has nowhere to hide if those ripe fruit are sub par. They’re not, obviously, because Koludrovic goes to the Eveleigh Markets to select them weekly. It’s also where he is sourcing the umami-bomb potatoes that are grown wrapped in seaweed so that they absorb the savoury flavour of the sea vegetable as they grow. Those super-charged spuds are destined to accompany buttery soft grilled lamb loin, sticky braised lamb neck and blushed radishes in a ginger jus.
If any dish was going to reconcile the city’s suspicions about risotto after years of disappointment, it’s a plate splayed with tender organic, NSW-grown rice coloured an exciting burnt umber that pulses with the promise of big flavours and doesn’t disappoint. Like the shoreline it sits above, this dish is at once earthy and oceanic, with saffron, lobster oil and a whisper of chilli accompanying the fresh blue swimmer crab.
With all this classic styling, restrained cooking and elegant service, it makes sense that the same care is shown for what’s in your glass. Not satisfied with only one rendition of the perfect cocktail, the Negroni, they offer three versions, including one made with bourbon, and another taking cues from mulled wine with blood orange and wintery spices.
In 2018 you can hardly lob a kingfish crudo without hitting yet another Italian diner, but there is a place that's been doing it better than everyone for ten years, and over time they’ve tailored their offering until it’s the perfect fit. That’s why everyone still wants to be seen at Icebergs.
|Venue name:||Icebergs Dining Room and Bar|
1 Notts Ave
|Opening hours:||Tue-Sat noon-midnight; Sun noon-10pm|