Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Starting off with a blank canvas: Blanca Bar and Dining in Bondi

"I go to Barcelona at least once a year", Tomi Bjorck, much celebrated Finnish chef and restauranteur told me at the opening night launch of Blanca Bar and Dining and when he tells me that, having just been to Barcelona, I knew Blanca Bar and Dining that has just opened in Bondi was something special.

I met Tomi at the opening night dinner event that Blanca Bar and Dining hosted and it was an event noteworthy beyond boundaries. Tomi and his co-owner Sam Cole officially opened, Blanca in Bondi on Australia Day and their impressive and extensive experience in the culinary scene brings something special to the Sydney casual fine dining scene that will appeal to locals and travellers alike and with a menu that has been inspired and created from someone who is very well travelled, using high quality local Australian produce and culinary creativity each bring to their new restaurant. In addition, the restaurant has an innovative whisky and gin collection based on local and international selections. We tasted some fine handcrafted Japanese sake’s and an extensive wine list consisting of half European drops and local Australian and New Zealand heroes. The dessert yuzu wine was my favourite and its addictive.

Haven’t heard of Tomi Bjork? Well you are going to because his track record internationally, in particular in Finland, is impressive and he now makes his mark in Sydney with his co-owner of Blanca with Sam Coles former Dinner by Heston Bluthemthal chef, where the pair first met working together at Sydney’s Quay.

Drawing on training from Michelin starred restaurants in London, Spain and Finland and also extensive experience from some of Sydney's finest restaurants like Quay and Longrain, where his passion for Asian flavors were cemented. Tomi established his successful restaurant group BW Restaurants, including 4 restaurants in Helsinki and one in Sweden. All have been given the Michelin Guide’s BIB Gourmand. With no less than 14 television shows, starring as Head Judge in Finland’s Masterchef and Junior Masterchef and 5 cookbooks with a sixth on the way, I can see why Björck is Finland’s most cherished restaurateur and celebrity chef.
Originally from Wollongong, Sam Cole’s 11 year career has spanned 5 countries and has seen him working in renown establishments in the likes of Quay, Bentley, Glass Brasserie, Farang, Heston Blumenthal London and as head chef on luxury super yachts in the Mediterranean and Caribbean.

We tasted 11 dishes at the opening night dinner on their tasting menu, all of which had an explosion of flavour complexity inspired by Japan and the Mediterranean cuisines together with matching wines and sake, combinations that are uniquely delightful.

The ambience was relaxed simple elegance with coastal whites with modern lighting décor that complements its Bondi location.

Here are the dishes we tasted on the opening night and whilst I loved all the dishes the Grilled Fremantle octopus with romesco, yuzu brown butter, garlic confit and thyme resonated the most. So sweet and tender with flavours that are complex yet subtle, where the combination of each flavour create a synergy that was a true delight to eat. And make sure you save room for dessert.

1. Sydney Rock Oyster dressed with mandarin – Szechuan pepper mignonette, amaranth and avruga.

2. Green Shell Mussel with kombu, lemon jam and marinated trout roe

3. Croquetas stylised with ‘Lap Cheung’ Chinese sausage, manchego cream and harissa dressing

4. Raw beef and sesame, aged raw beef, Japanese pickled radish and fresh wasabi mayo served on a sesame leaf

5. Bonito pastrami with yuzu soy and brown butter dressing, kombu and yuzu cream.

6. Grilled Fremantle Octopus with romesco, yuzu brown butter, garlic confit and thyme

7. Saiko Miso Salmon with dashi, white miso, fresh wasabi, cauliflower, Japanese daikon pickles, radishes.

8. Pork Ribs and Miso Caramel with togarashi, miso caramel, toasted miso paste, sesame seeds

9. Matcha Tea, Strawberry & Shiso and the Bondi Sands, Chocolate and Whipped Pannacotta Ice Cream dessert

Blanca Bar & Dining
75/79 Hall St,
Bondi Beach NSW 2026

Instagram: @blancabondi

Blanca Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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