I’ve lived in the United States for four years, but there are two things about Australia that I will always miss: the coffee and the breakfasts. You Yanks can keep your filter coffee and crispy fatty bacon -- I want my smooth flat whites and bacon that’s more meat than fat. Luckily, we Aussies in LA now have Bondi Harvest, where if you close your eyes and wave some eucalyptus under your nose, you could very well be back home.
While Australian cafes seem to have thoroughly invaded NYC, LA doesn’t yet have a place for a flat white on every corner (no, the Starbucks version does not count). And luckily, Bondi Harvest isn’t trying to overcompensate by pushing the thunder from down under thing very hard. Despite what Outback Steakhouse might lead you to believe, “Australian food” isn’t some tacky theme with food served by people shouting “How’s it goin’ mate?”. Also not a thing: bloomin’ f*cking onions.
Bondi Harvest is instead a prime example of a thing we Australians take for granted, but is still kind of rare in the States: the excellent coffee place with just as excellent food. You place your order at the counter, but you do not have to hang around awkwardly waiting for your coffee -- they will bring it out to you. And like most cafes in Melbourne and Sydney, the food is reliably good. There are no revelations here: the menu is eggs, breakfast burritos, avo toast (we invented it, duh), bowls of healthy things, sandwiches (as the locals would say, sangas), and a burger. But the quality is higher than you’d expect and the Bondi Breakfast is the perfect homesickness remedy.
The location - in the sort of industrial part of Santa Monica around Olympic and Bundy - also makes sense when you consider my countrypeople’s penchant for opening things down one-way streets in strange parts of town. It’s still a cute spot, with big white picnic tables outside and a few stools inside, and a local office crowd definitely pleased to have this place around.
Even if you discount my clear bias for any and all things Australian (Vegemite tastes great, and netball is a real sport), Bondi Harvest is still worth your time. A breakfast or lunch here won’t ever disappoint, although it might lead to Googling of the phrase “how to get an Australian visa.” What can we say? It’s pretty great down under.
This is what Australian coffee tastes like, and this is why all Australians are complete coffee snobs. One of the only places in the world where Starbucks has failed: Australia. Have a coffee here and you’ll understand why.
Our only issue with this is that the kale should not be present. Otherwise, we’re grateful for a breakfast where each bit comes on one plate, the poached eggs don’t come in a weird bowl thing, and the bacon is soft enough to stab with a fork without shattering and doesn’t have a 9:1 fat-to-meat ratio.
Another thing they’re good at down under? Sangas. Specifically roast chook sangas. This one is juicy as can be, and the thing to get if you’re here for lunch.
Yep, grain bowls aren’t just an LA thing (although we might have stolen them from you). This one is for when you need something particularly healthy, as it involves cauliflower rice, slaw, and fish.
Weirdly light, despite the fact that it has bacon and parmesan cheese in there. Somehow this works and somehow we never need a nap afterwards.