May 2023 update: Get extra bang for your buck while dining on delicious Mediterranean fare at Bondi’s sunlit taverna Topikòs, which has just launched a red-hot deal to combat the autumn chill.
Located across the road from Bondi’s golden stretch of sand, the Greek-inspired restaurant is now offering punters 50 per cent off the entire bar food menu on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays – all day. A doozy of a deal if we’ve ever seen one, you can now snag half price on plates such as the prawn roll with cocktail sauce on a milk bun; Topiko’s gyros with warm pita, tomato, tzatziki and hand-cut fries; grilled lamb ribs with hummus; and a fisherman’s basket with fresh oysters, prawns, fried calamari, beer-battered garfish and whitebait.
But wait, there’s more. Topikòs is also now slinging bottomless wines, beers and Spritzes for $35 when you opt for the $85 banquet menu on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
Co-owner Brett Robinson says, “The team at Topikòs wants to give everyone a reason to head out as the days grow colder. We are conscious of the current economy, rent prices are on the up, interest rates continue to rise, inflation is affecting everyone and often being social is the first to be cut. If you’re wanting to keep heading out and enjoying yourself this winter our new bar and dining room offers are just what you’ve been searching for”.
An affordable mid-week Greek dinner date? It's a big naí from us.
Read on for our review of Topikòs from February 2023.
By Carly Sophia
It’s a Monday night in mid-January, but one could be forgiven for thinking it’s Friday in peak silly season, as a steady stream of voguish, hat-wearing hipsters slink through the doors of Bondi Beach’s Topikòs. It’s a contemporary, rough-rendered Greek taverna just a short, sandy-footed stroll from the city's most iconic shore.
Immediately the eye is drawn to the huge, well, eye. It’s painted in bright Aegean blue across the ceiling above the bar – the central focal point of the first of two adjacent dining rooms that together seat 60 people. Since the eye historically protects against evil spirits, this surely signals that the drinks are going to be good.
The cocktail list is created by the Point Group’s beverage director, Joshua Reynolds, also of the Dolphin, Shellhouse, and soon-to-be-open Fort Denison Dining. It features two Margaritas, including their signature Topikòs Spicy Watermelon Marg, which is by no means as basic as it sounds. Spicy Margs, a staple feature of every millennial's Hinge profile, have become so common they’re bordering on boring, but Josh’s version is anything but.
With Don Julio blanco, mezcal, watermelon, wild strawberry, habanero and fresh lime, it’s the prettiest pink but packs a vibrant, perfectly balanced punch. It's fresh, sweet, smoky, spicy and, in a climate where many bars seem to think it's acceptable not to freshly squeeze their limes, likely one of the best in Sydney.
It seems almost illegal while sitting so close to the waves not to indulge in fresh, raw seafood – so oysters and kingfish crudo may very well be your first picks from the meze menu. Sydney Rocks with Greek yoghurt and cucumber seem a curious combo, and upon sampling, it is. An oyster purist this writer may be, but dressing something so briny and mineral in a thick dollop of tzatziki completely smothers it. On the plus side, the pillowy pita had a warm, salty crust and was the perfect scoop for gently flavoured tarama topped with pools of olive oil and shiny salmon pearls.
You too may find it impossible to bypass sanagaki, and who could blame you? A crisp golden wedge of pan-fried Greek cheese, drowning in warm, sticky honey? Yes please. The only thing missing here was a beautiful cheek of fat, fresh lemon – a squeeze of which would have faultlessly cut the salty, sweet richness.
A break in courses calls for another drink, and after the raging success of the watermelon version, you may feel the call of the Meltimi Margarita next. Don Julio Blanco Tequila, limoncello, sichuan and fresh lemon, spiked to serve with a heady rosemary spear, is another absolute banger. Cheers!
The octopus comes highly endorsed. But paired with a spanaki sauce, it isn’t quite the hit we hoped for. Though the octopus alone was tender, charred and flavourful, and the spinach sauce, separately, delicious, together they fought to be the main character, and it was frankly a bit much. An overwhelm of flavour, an absence of balance, too much richness and a glaring lack of acidity to cut it. A more delicate puree, something lightly pickled, and a few slivers of fresh grape would have been a gorgeous way to lift it.
Really putting the ‘run’ in ‘food runner’, staff oftentimes can be seen jogging between tables and the kitchen, and getting anyone’s attention for anything is tricky. However this has less to do with the attentiveness of staff, who are lovely, and everything to do with the fact that it’s really busy. They’re clearly doing their absolute best.
Sunshine follows the storm, though, and in this instance it breaks through the clouds in the form of the ‘hanger steak skewers’, which are so sublime I can’t believe they weren’t recommended. With a charred, peppery crust, they are tender, flavourful and perfectly rare, served on a bed of smooth, creamy skordalia (Greek garlic dip) and drizzled with a sweet, syrupy onion sauce. By far the best dish of the night.
They're accompanied by a generous bowl of chunky, slow-cooked potatoes, tossed with lemon, fresh oregano and just a hint of honey, all washed down with a glass of chilled, soft, Santorini white wine, ending the night on a high.
A few more staff, a few menu tweaks and Topikòs could become well worth the trip to Bondi. Until then, though, the cocktail menu is taking care of business.