At 6pm each night, members and visitors of the North Bondi RSL Club are encouraged to stand, face the Eternal Flame and remember those who died in battle. The ‘Rissole’ is a club like any other except for the gala view from its balcony out across the iconic bay and the exceptional trattoria below.
Constantly buzzing with groovers, North Bondi Italian is one of those excellent establishment where you know that the food will always be divine and the vibe relaxed, if a little bit on the noisy side. But you’ve got to get in early or expect a long wait at the bar which, with its fresh beachside setting, is not such a bad place to park your personage for a few bevvies.
Once seated on the Philip Starck chairs, you can take in the gorgeous waitstaff in their long aprons and the funky ceiling collage with obscure graffiti like ‘Jesus Saves, the Devil Invests’. This could well be the motto of founder Maurice Terzini, the maverick behind that other top draw Bondi eatery Icebergs and Neild Avenue in Rushcutters Bay. Last March, Terzini divided his empire and handed the place over to his business partner Robert Marchetti but the signature dishes are still on the menu including Spaghetti “Cartoccio Style” with Spanner Crab, which comes deliciously baked in a paper bag, and the Classic Veal Parmigiana “Naples Version” crumbed with air freighted mozzarella from Campania. Also on the paper placemat menu is a Super Food degustation “for those of us In Training’, and Chops- a Neild Avenue favourite – evidence that the split between the restaurateurs was amicable. Marchetti now lays claim to his exclusive territory by signing off with “My Idea of Gelato Affogato”, a beachy Italian dessert if ever there was one.
This is not a cheap night out but it is definitely a memorable one. And ‘Lest We Forget’, the fish and chips on offer upstairs in the RSL are not bad either.