There's very little that can go wrong with a view like this. The view uninterruptus from Icebergs has got to be one of the most iconic Sydney vistas, that of Bondi beach. Icerbegs opened with a splash and since then reviews on the ground have been mixed but the chef Maurizio Terzini still received his two chefs hat this year from the SMH.
We've booked for 6.30pm, a little early we know but seeing the view as it descends from daylight to twilight to the fall of darkness is something quite spectacular and I find that watching a pool of glossy black water isn't quite as exciting as seeing it develop to hand.
Its surprisingly busy with diners given the early timeslot. We're ushered to the best seat in the house, right next to the window. Service is efficient if not especially warm and relaxed, the staff seems a little stressed out and serious.
Sourdough bread and olive oil is brought to the table while we ponder the menu and the scenery. Along with the menu items, there are quite a few additions to the menu for the evening with 3 entrees, 2 mains and 2 extra desserts. I find that the entrees are beckoning me more as they seem more creative so I order one of the special additions to the menu suggested by our waitress: scallop sashimi with crispy garlic, marjoram and grissini $32 and a regular entree: crab, soft polenta, garlic, chili, lemon $28. Blythe orders the figs with gorgonzola, ricotta, walnut and honey $26 and the Flinders Island Salt Crusted Suckling Lamb and mache salad $48. She's intrigued by the idea of Polenta chips with sour cream $14 which she saw on the website which are actually from the bar menu so we order those.
We studiously avoid the carne menu which is full to the brim with fascinating red meat offerings such as the Wagyu Rib Eye 800g sliced for two $165 and the Black Angus Cross Wagyu Rib eye 300g bone removed $92 which is bred exclusively for Icebergs.
Scallop Crudo-raw scallop sashimi with cripsy garlic and marjoram $32
Interestingly, there's no amuse bouche to be had, just the bread which is good: lovely, chewy and sour which is how I love my sourdough. We have scarcely enough time to ponder the waves outside and the Police helicopter that is relentlessly circling before our entrees arrive. My scallops comprise of 8 scallop halves, dressed in oil with a sprinkling of majoram leaves and crispy deep fried garlic shards. One slice into them and I know I've ordered well. They're beautifully soft and fresh and deliriously good, the dressing giving it an even more lustrous texture and the marjoram and garlic complementing it perfectly. The grissini isn't really necessary for the taste but I suspect its more for the look.
Fig Salad-figs with gorgonzola, ricotta, walnuts and honey $26
Blythe's figs with gorgonzola and ricotta is light on the honey and walnuts which it could do a bit more with but the figs are lovely, full and ripe.
We are transfixed by the surfers and the police helicopter activity as well as the passing traffic. There's a real mix of people, the flashy, trashy flamboyant ones seem to gravtitate towards the bar whereas the more conservative patrons are in the restaurant. Eeek, what does that say about us?
Crab with lemon, chili and garlic with creamy polenta $28
Our People Watching is cut short by the arrival of our mains. My main is of course the crab entree, a large pool of creamy polenta resembling a creamy sauce surrounds a large mound of crab meat. Its delicate and every flavour resonates from the lemon, chili and garlic.
The Polenta chips arrive and they resemble fat rectangular hand cut chips. Unfortunately they don't taste of anything and even a liberal sprinkling of salt can't save these which is a real pity as the outside is wonderfully crisp.
Blythe is very pleased with her Flinders Island lamb. There is one piece with the ribs and the meat is incredibly soft and tender, falling off the bone. The two separate pieces of lamb are unctuous and soft, in parts a little too fatty for me, but the outside is crisped to perfect and almost pork crackling like. Its strong in balsamic and the mache salad is a meandering stream in the middle of the wonderfully soft lamb dish. Its also incredibly filling and any plans to have a dessert each is abandoned.
We decide to share the dessert, a trio of Sicilian Cannoli, chocolate zabaglione, Ricotta and candied fruit, vanilla custard $18. We had mistakenly thought that we would get a Cannoli, a Zabaglioneand some ricotta and candied fruit with some vanilla custard on the side but what we get instead is three cannoli, each with the different filling. Starting off with the vanilla bean custard, its good, still crispy but the filling is a little unexciting and bland. The chocolate zabaglione is by comparison, dangerously good, the strongly flavoured chocolate filling rounded off with a touch of coffee. The last cannoli, the ricotta and candied fruit is also very good if a little light on the candied fruits which I can't really detect, the ricotta giving it a richer texture than the custards.
We sit back and watch as the surfers leave and the night descends and the view is replaced by the sparkling lights and a luminous pool. Its a spectacular show.
Icebergs Dining Room and Bar
1 Notts Avenue
Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Tel: +61 (02) 9365 9000