Last night, Jared and I were invited to visit Bruce Leaves at their Bondi Beach location to try out a few of their new menu items with some other foodies. I actually hadn’t been to it before, so I was pretty excited. I told Jared it was a salad bar, and I don’t think he was too excited at first. I don’t blame him, not many men I know would be excited about the prospect of spending their night at a salad bar. But boy did he change his mind quick smart when we got there! If you haven’t been to a Bruce Leaves before, it is probably the funkiest salad bar I’ve ever been to. It’s actually one of the funkiest places I’ve been to, full stop. The name of it is a play on the name Bruce Lee, so there were pictures and figurines of him all over the store. There was greenery plastered on one of the walls, the roof was lined with bamboo and there was a large chalk drawing of a hamsa symbol hanging up. It was honestly just a cool little space! It also had tables and chairs outside too, which was handy because the place filled up quite quickly.
Another thing I loved about it was that the menu was not just limited to salads. They have an extensive selection of food (full menu here) including things like Vietnamese banh mi rolls, dumplings, juices, smoothies and superfoods. Plus, they have the most hilarious names for the dishes. Crouching Tiger Hidden Chipotle and Halou(mi) Kitty are just a couple! I also found out that they source their produce from the farmers market everyday for the food, so it really doesn’t get any fresher than that!
The first thing we got to try was the banh mi. I love banh mi. I’ve been eating since as far back as I can remember, and it’s definitely up there as one of my favourite meals. I’ve never seen it served in a cafe or salad bar though, so I was pretty excited to try it! The production line they had going and the mound of growing banh mi rolls was making me seriously salivate. When they finally served it, Jared devoured his in about 8.3 seconds. I think it’s safe to say he was a fan of it! I thought it was a pretty good version of the traditional banh mi, and really enjoyable. The next item we tried was the grilled miso salmon. This was Jared’s favourite, no surprise there being the salmon lover he is!After the salmon was the meatballs. They were so juicy and flavoursome! I could’ve eaten a whole bowl of them quite easily! During the night we were also served kombucha, wine, beer and delicious fresh fruit smoothies spiked with a little cheeky vodka. I’ve never had a berry, goji, chia, coconut water and vodka smoothie before. Why haven’t I done this previously? Surely the nutrients packed into the smoothies would greatly reduce the chances of a horrible hangover? I must note this down for my next party… There were also little bowls of salad served. I had one with roasted fennel, and one with roasted beetroot and pumpkin, quinoa and feta. Both were incredibly delicious! The veggies still had some crunch and were sweet and flavoursome.But my favourite item, and the one I waited all night for, was the dum-dum dumpling. It was filled with pork, spinach and bamboo shoots, and cooked to perfection. The edges of the soft pastry were crisp and crunchy, and the rest of the pastry was just the right amount of chewiness. It was heavenly! It was worth the wait!!Jared cheekily caught me staring longingly at them arranging the platter of dumplings to be served, ha! I also got to meet some wonderful and talented bloggers as well, which was really awesome! It’s always a great feeling to be surrounded by like minded folk!All in all, it was such an enjoyable experience. Even though we don’t live anywhere near Bondi Beach, it’s one of those places I would travel ot come back to because I was so pleased with the service, the quality of food and the awesome vibe.
If you’re around the area (and even if you’re not), do go check it out! You won’t be disappointed!