The last time I went to the Eastern hotel was awhile ago, but this multi-level venue connected to Westfield Bondi Junction has since been revamped into a foodie haven. It now features The Publican on the ground floor, Anatoli on the first, Chimmi’s rum cantina on the second and El Topo bar on the rooftop.
Tonight, we are trying out the modern Greek fare at Anatoli restaurant which is accessible through the shopping centre itself. Once you step inside it feels a world away from the shopping centre we just came from, with a sleek monochrome palette used in the decor throughout the restaurant, luxe touches of white marble and a chic geometric patterned flooring underfoot. There’s plenty of tables in the cavernous hall that Anatoli is housed within and judging by the amount of share plates on the menu, it’s a fantastic place to take a group. Unfortunately, there’s only 2 of us dining tonight but that doesn’t stop us from over ordering and trying lots of dishes.
We started off with a trio of dips with conveniently chopped up triangles of Grilled Pita. My favourite was the incredibly smooth and addictive taramasalata (fish roe dip), but the chunky Eggplant dip was also moreish and their rendition of the classic yoghurt based Tzatziki was refreshing.
Eggplant, Tzatziki & Taramasalata Mezethes with Grilled Pita, $16
The flavoursome dips had tantalised our tastebuds, so we were keen to move onto the next dish, which was another share plate of Spiced School Prawns. I was won over as soon as I laid eyes on the cute little iron pot that it was served in, atop the ubiquitous wooden serving board and its accompanying sauce in a plain white teacup (the type used at yum cha). Luckily it tasted as good as its presentation made it look – the little school prawns were delicious when dipped in the mild chilli mayo, with its subtle smokey undertones. As a bonus, the crispy batter encasing the prawns was slightly chewy on the inside and mostly served to blunt the pesky spikes of the school prawn heads as we munched through the seemingly never ending stack.
Spiced School Prawns & Smoked Chilli Mayo, $15
For our main dish, we had chosen the Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb which was designed to be shared between 2. It was a very generous serving and the meat fell off the bone as we were divvying it up. While it was certainly soft and tender, it wasn’t quite as moist as The Morrison’s had been despite being served with its braising juices. This was easily remedied by the jar of Tzatziki which came with it; the fresh yoghurt flavoured with chunks of cucumber went very well with the rustic feel of the dish and the roasted red onions provided an extra flavour hit too.
Slow Cooked Shoulder of Lamb, Roast Onions, Braising Juices & Tzatziki (Half/Whole) $35/68
As a side dish to accompany all the meaty goodness from the lamb we had also ordered Wild Mushrooms, Kohlrabi and Roast Pinenuts. The selection of different mushrooms provided a welcome respite from the meat and they had soaked up the rather creamy sauce very well.
Wild Mushrooms, Kohlrabi & Roast Pinenuts, $12
We washed down all these dishes with a light white wine from the Peloponnese region in Greece, before moving onto our dessert – a glorious concoction featuring a creamy Chocolate Mousse hidden beneath a mound of Burnt Gerakas Honey Ice Cream. All this was topped with artfully sprinkled curls of chocolate, chopped hazelnuts and crumble with a touch of salt.
2011 Gaia ‘Notious’ White Moschafilero, Roditis $9 per glass
Chocolate Mousse, Hazelnut & Burnt Gerakas Honey Ice Cream, $15
We were very impressed with the calibre of the dishes at Anatoli and their slick, modern fitout which complements their contemporary take on Greek cuisine. We will be back with friends so that we can devour more of their tasty menu!
Excuse Me Waiter dined as guests of Anatoli.
Level 1, 500 Oxford Street, Bondi Junction NSW 2022
Phone: (02) 9387 7828