Now that most of my Chinese New Year reviews have been tackled, it’s time to talk about some non-Chinese food. If you are tired of gorging on braised sea cucumbers, roast pork, steamed chicken and such… well, some simple western-style dishes could be just the answer to your jaded tongue.
Bondi Junction @ Setia Walk, just over 2 months old, could be a bit difficult to spot as it’s located on the 1st floor of Block F. A good location tip is to look out for the Ding Tea outlet as Bondi Junction is just above it. The interior of the café is splashed with all manner of bright colours, from walls to hangings and interesting knick-knacks. Simple furniture and a blackboard showing the “house specials” complete the set-up. This looks like the kinda joint where you can just walk in in your shorts and slippers, enjoy an unpretentious meal, hang around for the better part of the day and no one would bother you. Something you would do in Bondi, Sydney.
From the name of the café, you would have already guessed that the influences are from Australia and that’s where Willy had spent a good number of years. Yes, I’m referring to Willy Chan the Head Chef, except that he doesn’t really look like your regular chef. I think he looks more like a band rocker, with his beard, long locks and snazzy hat. You know what they say about not trusting a skinny chef… well, that crossed my mind when I met Willy.
Willy putting the finishing touches to our pizza
Then when Willy whipped out his freshly baked Focaccia Bread with 4 dips (RM25), all my doubts melted in the insane aroma of rosemary and olives dotting the flat loaf. Take your pick from the 4 dips: sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, black olives and balsamic vinegar. My favourite’s the sun-dried tomatoes and very soon, the pieces of gorgeous focaccia disappeared. Willy makes limited portions of this dough so be sure to order this in advance.
Freshly baked Foccacia with 4 Dips
3 of the 4 dips
Next to whet our appetites were the Wild Mushroom Soup and Roasted Pumpkin and Red Capsicum Soup, both at RM11 and served with crispy toasts by the side. Willy makes his soups from fresh ingredients and that’s why the taste and texture of the soup scream “home-made” to the very last drop and are so deliciously comforting. In fact the soups were so good we ordered a 2nd round! For me, the wild mushroom soup scored marginally higher points but the rich sweet pumpkin capsicum soup had many fans that evening too.
Wild Mushroom Soup and Roasted Pumpkin & Red Capsicum Soup
Then the pizzas and lasagnas came and we scrambled to clear the table to make way. There’s the Meat Lovers (RM25) topped with turkey ham, pepperoni, minced beef, onions, capsicum, olives and mozzarella and Bondi Special (RM27) with basil pesto, olives, sundried tomatoes, capsicum, pepperoni, egg, onions and mozzarella. No complaints here… the crust was thin and crispy and toppings were faultless. We had both the Chicken and Beef Lasagna (both at RM18) and I think the beef version tasted better as beef being the stronger-scented meat, blended better with the cheese.
We tried the Beef Bolognese Spaghetti (RM15) and my fellow diners did justice to it. As I’m not really a pasta fan, I decided to save my tummy for the mains. The Chicken Cordon Bleu served with Greek Salad and Potato Wedges (RM30) did not disappoint. Although I had some initial misgivings about this as most chicken cordon bleus I’ve tried were usually dry. Willy’s version was quite perfect, the chicken breast fillet was cooked just right and it was still succulent and juicy when our knives pierced through it.
Beef Bolognese Spaghetti
Chicken Cordon Bleu served with Greek Salad and Potato Wedges
Stuffed Seafood Chicken (RM30) is a very Ozzie dish, I believe… a pan-seared chicken roulade stuffed with chopped seafood served with pistachio sauce, greens and grilled herbed potatoes. The pistachio sauce seemed odd initially but once you eat it together with the chicken roulade, the green nutty flavours worked well with the meat. Some white wine would have completed that experience.
Stuffed Seafood Chicken
Roasted Salmon with Red Pesto (RM32) would be a good choice for the health conscious. A perfectly roasted slice of salmon, moist and oozing with Omega 3 tasted divine with the red pesto, a rich capsicum paste.
Roasted Salmon with Red Pesto
At this point of the dinner, we decided to have breakfast. The Russian Benny (RM17) was irresistible when we saw it on the menu. However, the poached eggs didn’t inspire… it was over-poached and there was no lovely golden lava running down when we poked the yolks. So we tried to mop our sorrow by wiping the fatty salmon, mushrooms and toast with the thick creamy Hollandaise sauce… and we cheered up, somewhat.
Further cheer inducements came in the form of desserts: Crème Brulee, Classic Apple Pie and French Lemon Tart, all at RM10 each. I didn’t quite fancy the limp pastry of the apple pie but the filling was good. The French lemon tart is rather unique as the filling had more cream than curd… maybe that’s the Ozzie take on French.
Classic Apple Pie
French Lemon Tart
Bondi Junction serves a range of coffees priced from RM6-RM9 and teas from RM5-RM7. So, yeah… head on over to Bondi Junction and check out Chef Willy’s no-MSG Ozzie favourites, some with a Mediterranean twist.
F-03-1 Block F, Setia Walk
Persiaran Wawasan, Pusat Bandar Puchong
Tel: 016-6197565 (Willy Chan)