"The last time I sat at this exact table and ate oysters and drank champagne," says Queen Viv when she sits down at the table. Ravesis is a Bondi institution and has been around for over 30 years.
It's Saturday night, around 35°C/95°F and the weekend before many people go back to work so Bondi Beach is very busy. Ravesis dining room is upstairs while downstairs has a more casual feel with live music.
There's a definite Palm Springs vibe to this 12 room hotel courtesy of the pastel pink walls and Art Deco archways that pay homage to this 1914 building's original design. Ravesis is named after the original family that owned the building.
The head chef at Ravesi's is Peter Streckfuss who was formerly at Catalina. There are several areas to choose from upstairs: there's a lounge, side terrace and front terrace. The prime pick is the front terrace with the front facing Bondi Beach ocean views. This is less noisy than the lounge or tables inside which are abuzz this Saturday evening.
We start with cocktails for Mr NQN and I and champagne for Queen Viv and Miss America. I have a Puff with beefeater gen, St Germaine, lemon and kiwifruit while Mr NQN has a seasonal cocktail called Hazey Days (how appropriate) with bush tomato Absolut vokda, 666 lemon myrtle vodka, Tempus Fugit Banana Liqueur, pineapple, lime and gum leaf. Both are delightfully refreshing although the alcohol isn't really that discernible in either of them.
Now there's one thing here that I need to warn you about and that's the tables are small and designed for people that aren't sharing. When all the food arrives at once (and quickly at that), even the entrees and mains we're a little overwhelmed balancing our individual small plates with the dishes trying to find table space.
Miss America ordered these kangaroo skewers as he has never tried kangaroo before. Usually it's not my favourite meat as it can be strong in flavour but here it is delicious, paired with horseradish aioli and harissa oil. I'd eat more kangaroo if it always tasted like this.
The grilled octopus has four tentacles which is lucky because there are four of us. It comes with salsa verde and slices of crispy sebago potatoes dusted with paprika.
I adore the open crab lasagne which I want to make a version of. It's made with hand rolled pasta, blue swimmer crab meat, chilli, chives and chervil with a sauce you want to scoop up with a fat wedge of bread.
Another favourite is the crispy chicken fillet served sliced with cucumber, rocket, pickled zucchini on Lebanese pita with garlic aioli. I love spreading the pita with the aioli and wedging in salad, crispy chicken and pickles.
For some salad we also try a peppery watercress salad with slices of beetroot, beetroot leaves, plenty of pistachios, oranges (not blood oranges as the menu says), dabs of ricotta with a light sesame dressing.
There are two desserts on the menu and the first is a chocolate wattleseed fondant, perfectly constructed so that the river of chocolate lava flows as soon as Queen Viv cuts it open. It's served with vanilla ice cream. The chocolate that they use isn't my favourite although it is well made.
I think everyone prefers the lightness and fresh flavours of the flourless orange cake with a very light rosewater syrup and a scoop of pistachio ice cream.
So tell me Dear Reader, do you have a favourite place to eat with a view? How often do you run out of room on your table?
This meal was independently paid for.
118 Campbell Parade, Bondi Beach NSW 2026
Phone: (02) 9365 4422