I’m in Sydney today and tomorrow to do some work with the clients – the office couldn’t find me a hotel in the city due to the Edinburgh Military Tattoo Festival. They could only get me an accommodation in Bondi Beach at the Swiss Grand Spa & Resort.
The hotel complex is within a walking distance from the beach and the main shopping strip – the room is spacious and the whole hotel has an airy feeling that suits its title as a ‘resort and spa’ complex. However, the finishing seems cheap which makes the hotel seem like a relic that’s lagging behind time.
I thought I had been to Bondi many years ago but I think it was Manly that I visited years before. Bondi is surprising for me – I never thought that Bondi would be different to what I thought it would be. I thought Bondi would be similar to Gold Coast – a soulless beautiful beach with skyscrapers, barechested surfs and girls in bikinis. I’m glad I’ve been proven wrong. Bondi Beach is peppered with historic art deco buildings throughout. There are pretty 1930s-1950s looking halls and houses adorning quaint streets. Of course you will see numerous six-packed barechested blonde surfie guys showing off their freshly-waxed body with their pretty girlfriend in tow, wearing similarly skimpy outfit.
After arriving in Bondi with Rory, my colleague, we dropped our bags and then headed back to the city for our meetings, first at Park Street, and then we rushed to Pyrmont for the next one. The meetings went really well – I’m really stoked that the outcomes are really positive.
We had a chance to have a late lunch at 3.30pm at Hotel Bondi – I had Cevapcici and Rory had Chicken Burger. My lunch was delicious – the skinless sausages were served with paprika sauce with some Mediterranean coleslaw and potato salad. We are certainly in a multicultural area where the girl behind the bar spoke with a thick Irish accent and the Indian guy serving our lunch said “G’day mate!”. 🙂 After we finished our lunch and waited for the sudden downpour to ease, we walked along the shopping strip. I spotted a cake shop and then I couldn’t resist buying a humongous rum ball on the way home to bring back to the hotel. It was very delicious as it had crushed hazelnut in it as well – a great additional ingredient, indeed! 😛
I had a nap afterwards and then lazed around watching the end of the evening news on ABC before heading downstairs to meet Rory so we could have dinner together. We walked along the strip again but we couldn’t find anything interesting – we nearly went to an Asian restaurant that marketed the ‘dim sum’ or ‘yum cha’ concept as ‘Asian tapas’. So gimmicky! We took a chance by taking a side street and came across a restaurant called ‘Blue Orange‘ at 49 Hall Street. The wood paneling and the cosy atmosphere compelled me there. Because we were still full, we didn’t have appetisers – we went straight to the mains. Rory had the porcini risotto while I had the crispy skin barramundi tagine with couscous and chorizo. I nearly went with the risotto but because Rory picked that, I thought I should try something else.
The couscous was tasty and full of flavour even though it was on a slightly salty side, but the barramundi was excellent and the chorizo pieces in the couscous added some extra flavour and texture to the dish. I don’t normally order fish but my experience in Norway have taught me not to shy away from fish altogether. 🙂 The waiters serving us were French – initially I thought they would be either French or Brazilian because of their ‘tanned’ look. One of them talked to us and said that he was originally from Lyon, and that he knew the other French guy while working in Orlando, FL.
The wood paneling, the excellent meal and the French waiters made the ‘Orange Blue’ experience very interesting indeed. While we were having our dinner, it rained heavily suddenly – it felt as if we were in the tropics. It confirmed my long-held opinion that it is much better to go to Sydney in Winter when it’s cooler but at least it’s crisp and dry. Sydney in Summer is muggy and temperamental – sunny and humid one day, torrential and cloudy the next!
So, if you are in Bondi the next time, go and explore the side street and give Orange Blue a go and if the French waiters are still there, say hello from me. Haha. 😀
We walked back to the hotel and then I spent the rest of the evening watching TV. All in all, I love Bondi with its art-decos buildings, the surfie dudes and the surfy chicks, Orange Blue and the beautiful beach. It’s a peace of Sydney that feels worlds away from the go-go-go life of George Street.